There is no them, only us

Like most people, having never been to a real prison, my knowledge of the prison system was limited to the often depressing news about them and their residents. That changed last week when I had the privilege of visiting Portland prison in Dorset with the youth offending rehabilitation charity, Key4life. There I met 30 young men who were serving time at this forbidding looking prison perched on top of a windswept cliff overlooking the English Channel. It felt isolated and on the very edge.

It is easy to think of offenders as being different from us – outsiders, poorly educated, drug-addicted, violent, dangerous and well….just criminal. But spend a day with them and you will find that we are more alike than we think.

They want their lives to be better
They want to provide for, and protect, their family
They want to do meaningful work
They get frustrated about things they can’t control
They want to be respected and valued
They want to have a voice and to be heard
They want their lives to have meaning
They miss their friends and family
They grieve for those they have lost
They want to love and be loved
They want to have a place to call home

They sound a lot like you and me…perhaps we are more similar than we think.

If you think we are more alike, visit the Key4life website at www.key4life.org.uk.

Different but the same

Odd One OutDifference is all around us. It’s easy to see others as being different whether it’s their gender, skin colour, size, clothing, nationality or lifestyle. But having worked with and trained people from all over the world it is clear that the challenges of leadership, handling difficult people and motivating your team are universal. So what else might we share….

We get frustrated about things we can’t control
We want to be respected and valued
We want to have a voice and to be heard
We want our life to have some meaning
We love our family unconditionally
We want to provide for, and protect, our family
We want to love and be loved
We want to have a place to call home and we miss it when we are away
We grieve for those we lose
We are all human

…perhaps we are more similar than we think.