Thinking About Tomorrow With the Decisions We Make Today by Mujaddid Muhammad
My name is Mujaddid R. Muhammad (aka Marvelous Muhammad), and I am coming to you live from the Federal Bureau of Prisons. I have already tread the paths and made the mistakes that some of you are making or about to make. Behind these walls are numerous foot prints in the sand that are true testaments to the paths you do not want to go down. And I say this not to strike fear in you, because I understand that you young warriors of today fear nothing! But while fearlessness is good, it must be properly channeled into endeavors that are constructive and positive, and not undertakings that serve to destroy, harm and scar. So with this little powwow, I hope to impart the knowledge, wisdom and understanding that will enable you to make the proper decisions and the right choices when you come upon the many cross-road experiences that await you in life.
My life down the wrong path begin when I was about 13, and it started with me hanging out with the wrong crowd. What made them the wrong crowd was they were going nowhere fast … drinking, getting high, engaging in petty crimes and senseless and mean-spirited violence. From my mom’s perspective they were the wrong crowd, but to me they were friends. I had fun when I was with them. At least I thought I was having fun. I was forever living in the moment. I was always tuned into that one station (WIFM) that so many of us listen to and base our decisions on …”WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME.” So that attitude ultimately led to me being committed to five juvenile institutions (serving between 6-12months), one state prison (serving 4 years) and now the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
I am now approaching my 22nd year on a drug conspiracy. God willing, I will be 47 this year. So with that as a backdrop, I think I have more than qualified myself to speak to you as an expert on the twists and turns your life may be taking. There is a saying that hindsight is 20/20. What that means is that we tend to see with perfect vision when we look back on what has already passed. My bad decisions and choices caused me to miss the majority of my 20′s, all of my 30′s, and I am now moving into my late 40′s. With each passing day I’ve had to deal with how my decisions affected my children and family. When I was incarcerated, I had four beautiful children: ages 9, 6, 18 months and 9 months. They never had the chance to know their father. Today, nearly 22 years later, I have five beautiful grandchildren: 12, 9, 5, 5 and 4, who only know me as “papa.”
The biggest regret of my self-destructive behavior and wayward thinking was abandoning my family, those who I claimed to love. I cannot get that time back, and time waits for no one. So right now I think you’re at a point in your life where you may have taken a few wrong turns, but it’s not too late for you to turn things around. You are surrounded by people who see the potential in you and don’t want to see that potential wasted. They put you in touch with individuals such as myself who can relate to you from experience that there is no future on the path that you are treading. This is real talk. These prisons will swallow you up, and those who were your friends, girlfriends/boyfriends, and even family, will move on and forget about you. Time does that. I know that when you’re young, energetic, curious and wanna-be-grown-ups, you think you already got this thing figured out. But older eyes have wider vision, and this is where those who are more mature and experienced come into play. Those who are trying to ensure that you have a bright and prosperous future. There is nothing that is new under the sun. You may think you’re slick and got game, but we have already been there and done that … we know the end result. Also, I know that when you’re young it’s typical to want to do your own thing; you want to have your own experiences and learn as you go. And this trial and error approach is good, in a very limited way, except for one thing: it uses a large quantity of the one resource none of us will ever have enough of: time. So on that note, I would like to conclude this by saying always think about tomorrow with the decisions you make today. A wise person listens to counsel and becomes wise, but the fool perishes.
Peace and Love in Struggle, I Remain Your Big Brother,
Federal Correctional Institution
Lisbon, OH 44432