Monday, June 09, 2008

Sitting with a gangster...

"I am proud that there are those at Nunhead - the Salvation Army where I worship - who are totally committed to communicating a message of "you are so worth it...!" to a generation who are growing up too quickly and becoming what they were never intended to be."
It was interesting to sit with Jadin last night. Jadin is from the Peckham area where to survive on the streets you have to have the right persona. He did his gangster walk/skip towards me - the walk that supposed to indicate some kind of gunshot wound; scowled; did that sucking 'cha' kind of sound to indicate respect for no one but himself; with 100% diffidence he sat down horizontally, legs splayed, his whole body language screaming out "as if I care what you think...!". Jadin = attitude.

"Hello..." I venture.

I get a grunted "'lright..."

I cheerfully continue "How are you...?"

He speaks it in that gangster kind of inn't dialect and says "I'm bad, really bad - I was bad the day I was born and I'll be worse the day I die!" An interesting choice of phrase, well worked, no doubt cribbed from some rap hero.

It's sad really because Jadin was only 9. We carry on a conversation where I try to communicate that apart from the Manchester United shirt he is not stupid, that he isn't bad and actually he is a lovely and charming little boy.

Jadin, it would appear, attends Frantic a Children's club at Nunhead SA and I was sat with him at a Church event at Nunhead SA. I worry because I can only guess that this boy is being shaped largely by what is negative in his life and it is sad to think what might be for him.

I am proud that there are those at Nunhead - the Salvation Army where I worship - who are totally committed to communicating a message of "you are so worth it...!" to a generation who are growing up too quickly and becoming what they were never intended to be.

1 comment:

Andrew Bale said...

God bless Nunhead... this is both an encouraging and disturbing post (the 'he is only 9' bit was unexpected).

How is your idea of getting college involved in some form of outreach ministry in Camberwell going?

A