We have begun the third class of Inside Out Dads class in prison. There has been an average of twelve men attending on a weekly basis. We had a hard time getting into the class due to the fact that the second week the prison was on lockdown and all volunteer programs such as this one were canceled. It usually takes the attendees several weeks to start opening up. We have been discussing what a man is and his role in the family. It has become clear many of the roles between men and women are similar, but the way we function in those roles are often very different. One example would be nurture. Men and women are both called to nurture their children, but the way a dad naturally nurtures his children and the way a mom nurtures them is often significantly different.
The fourth session is on feelings and emotions, this is typically the week the men begin to open up and share vulnerability, in how they respond to grief and loss. Some shared they respond through anger, some through depression, and others through “self-medicating.” We had a good conversation that showed most addictions come from not being able to properly respond to feelings and emotions.
It breaks our hearts to see many of the men state they have little or no contact with their children. Several of the men in this class have stated they will be seeing parole soon and hope to be released within the year. Their hope is that this class will help them be a better dad upon release. Please pray for these guys as some have shared that they are believers, but many still do not know God as their loving father.
— Jim Swartzentruber, Re-Entry Administrator and Inside Out Dads Teacher