Why do I even need a support system?
You know you need support when your husband goes to prison, but where do you find it? It is not easy to find the support you need when you are out here trying to manage life and your family. Support is the most important type of assistance you will need during this season of your life. Don’t underestimate the power of having a network of support in your life.
There are so many different types of support. Often, when we think of “support” we only think of money. Believe it or not, money is the easiest support to get. Right now, there are job openings everywhere. If you only needed money to get through this, that would be simple. But you don’t. You need people in your life who can help you navigate through all of the challenges you face every day.
Types of connections
There are three types of people you need to be connected to:
- Others who are going through a similar experience right now (their loved one is also in prison)
- Someone who has made it through this experience successfully
- People who have never experienced incarceration of a loved one
Building your connections
The first 2 may be obvious, but according to my teenaged daughter, I love to state the obvious 😊 So, I am going to share with you why each of those are important in your life right now. You must connect to all three types of support in order to achieve your goals. These can be a mixture of both personal friendships and online connections. Caution! – do not make every connection an online or virtual connection. You need people in your life that live in your community and can be physically there for you.
Number one is important because connecting to other people who are going through the same experience as you right now keeps you from believing that you are the only one. These are your peers. Knowing that others are finding the courage and stamina every day will help inspire you to not give up. They will also provide a much-needed listening ear, advice, and kinship you will not find anywhere else.
There is a saying about friendship, “If you want to find out who’s a true friend, screw up, then see who sticks around.” I don’t know who said this originally, but if I had to guess, I’d guess it was either someone who went to prison or a family member of a prisoner.
Number two is even more important
Sometimes, you cannot see the end of the road when you are traveling on it. Here, the idiom “You can’t see the forest for the trees” is so true. Only someone who has actually made it out of this situation with their family and relationship still intact can provide you with the wisdom you need. This person serves as your mentor. They will be able to provide advice from experience, empathy with the expectation that you will overcome, and inspiration that will provide hope for a better future.
Number three is also extremely important. People who have never been involved in the system will help bring balance and perspective to your life. You can learn so much from watching how they live. Since you are working toward a new legacy where your family never experiences prison again, you need to see how others achieve this. You will even be encouraged as you recognize the things your family is already doing right.
Finding a solid support system that includes diverse people will help you overcome the challenges of prison, develop a plan for your family’s future, and achieve your goals.
I am rooting for you!