OP-ED: On the Razor’s Edge: It is my plan to work with youth as a Mentor


By Richard Johnson, Folsom State Prison


Editor’s Note: Publisher Paul Cobb asked Richard Johnson what was his plan to function as a contributing member of society after his release from prison.


My plan to become a contributing factor to society may seem a little lofty. Nonetheless, I would prefer to have high goals than not have any at all.


It’s my plan to work with youth as a mentor to those with a receptive ear to my message.


There can be several programs created to teach, and thoroughly explain to them the necessity of always doing your best.


Going back to the basics would be a very good starting place. By this I mean teaching them respect, discipline, integrity and most of all, teaching them how to love and appreciate themselves.


I would remind them that life is not about what you have, but rather it’s about who you are as a person. It’s about your character and how you carry yourself. Honor breeds success if you can learn that no matter what you have or don’t have, life isn’t gauged on material things.


Your wealth and riches are you and what you stand for. Keeping up with the Joneses is just a silly cliché’ that has caused so much needless destruction.


We must learn how to eradicate and dispel such views from our thinking.


This approach to thinking applies to adults as well as well as youth. I plan to be instrumental in advancing these selfless basic fundamental concepts to all.


People must get back to their roots, not the craziness that is ever-present today. We must have a harmonious accord with reality and replace our erroneous thoughts with correct standards that give light to darkness and lead us through this misguided sense of necessities.



I can speak boldly to this subject because I have been there and I have done that. I have been engaged in all the wrong pursuits. I am aware of the traps that can snag our youth.


I truly believe that this awareness can become a plus in terms of knowing what is right and wrong. I know I can make a contribution by showing young people the proper way from the examples of my accumulated experiences.


We must teach by example and not only by words.


The bedrock institutions of our churches, schools, social centers and community support outlets are necessary. But if the gist of the message isn’t being absorbed, or if they aren’t serving the youth’s true needs, then we will have let them down.


We can’t rely on good sounding community leaders or charismatic politicians, even though some may be sincere in their heart, because if positive results are lacking, their efforts are futile.


I hope everyone realizes that it’s our community livelihood that’s at stake. Therefore, it’s imperative that people in positions of trust and responsibility are held accountable.


I plan to be a voice in the midst of uncertainty, restoring the principles that will ensure a better future for the next generation, which is one of the reasons I am writing these columns.


I believe that everyone has a moral and obligatory duty to contribute to the goal of a good society, which is why I add my voice with a message to uplift our youth.


I want my voice to resonate with a sense of resolve, given my history, so it can be relevant to today’s youth and their families. I am encouraged by the positive reactions to my columns thus far.


Please continue to contact the Post and/or read my writings online at postnewsgroup.com.



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