Today, I watched a 25-30 year-old-boy take one more step toward manhood. I don't really know how you define manhood, but I think it has to do with taking responsibility for your actions. This boy can't keep a steady job. So he's fallen pretty far behind on his child support. So we put him in jail. (We have programs that can get him a job quickly, and then he'll get on work release.) This boy took the trouble to create a child, but now he doesn't want to take the trouble to make sure that that child lives the best life it can. That's not being a man; that's being a child.
So I got to thinking about whether putting him in jail is the right thing to do. Will that help him take the next few steps toward manhood? I think it will. I grew up hearing that certain food and drink would "put hair on your chest," meaning that it tasted terrible or would otherwise ruin your night. The adversity of the experience would make you stronger. I just hope that spending a few weeks in jail will put some hair on this boy's chest. If nothing else, his kids deserve it.