A while ago someone told me that I think too much. That I always seem to over think things. I knew they were right, but I didn’t know how to break out of that. I have believed for a long time that the only way to make the future any brighter is to learn from the past. To do that I got in the habit of reflecting upon it to the point of rumination. What I now realise is that I need to be able to identify both the negatives that offer a lesson to be learned, and the positives which can be enjoyed for what they are. With this in mind, I thought I’d share my thoughts on the ups and downs of life right here at the end of each month, and what better place to start than right now?
I actually got quite a few bits of good news last month. Most of them were things I have been waiting a very long time for. One of them was quite a small thing, which could potentially lead to a whole lot of bigger things.
It was last year that prisons across the country were told to review their I.T. Security classification procedures. In order for prisoners to be given access to computers (in education for example), they must be cleared by the security department. But when the review was asked for Wakefield revoked the clearances of literally dozens of prisoners. No reasons were ever given and some of us thought we might never get it back. In the meantime, we were all banned from using computers altogether.
For a while I fought to get my clearance back, but I got nowhere and I soon gave up on it completely. You can imagine my surprise then when I walked into the creative writing class, sat down, and was then handed an I.T. Users Agreement to sign, the teacher announcing that I was now cleared to use the computers again!
As arbitrarily as it was taken, it had been given back. But it is back, and it does make life a hell of a lot easier.
My full time job is as an education mentor and having my clearance back now means that when the students are stuck with their work on the computers, I don’t have to just sit there and explain the theory to them, I can now show them exactly how to do what they need to, so that they can learn more easily and then do it for themselves. But I am also on the editorial team for Wakefield’s prison magazine, The Signpost, and being able to use computers means that I will no longer need to rely on others typing my articles up for me, I can be one of those helping others to get their work typed instead. And I don’t have to simply watch others struggle with the extensive design work on the magazine either. It’s an area I am lucky enough to have a fair bit of talent in and I can now help out with it. And that’s not where the benefits end. I also help out with Storybook Dads, assisting prisoners who want to make picture books for their children to design and print them, and even to record a reading of them onto CD so that their kids can listen to their Dad reading them a bedtime story. Now I’m back on the I.T. equipment that will all be a lot easier. I have even come up with a way to pre-print books without any characters on the pages so that they can be accompanied by a sheet of stickers showing a range of different characters. If it all works out, the idea is that we can take these to the visits room on the extended family day visits and help the dads to make a story with their children, about their children, so the kids can take it away with them at the end of the day.
This one piece of good news has given me a lot of opportunities to help a whole range of people, and that’s something I really wanted to be able to do. I’d say that was definitely a positive worth appreciating.
There were other positives too of course, and some of them much bigger than this. But nothing so unexpected. As for the rest, we’ll see how that develops.