What leads a youth into a life of crime?  So many have made observations and done countless hours of research into the psyche of the criminal mind and how it develops. As we meet with kids weekly, they all have their stories and their reasons. Some kids have lived through so much in their young lives, that upon hearing their stories, most people would break down in tears.

If you followed the TV series by the name of Breaking Bad, you know it is the story of Walter White (Bryan Cranston), a high school chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer and struggling financially because of it. He decides to use his knowledge of chemistry to produce and sell “meth” to make money before he dies, to help his family survive financially.  As you can imagine, he goes deeper and deeper into this life of crime as he makes many compromises to continue this course of life.  You, in some regards, feel sorry for Walter and what he feels that he must do in order to help his family and see how he might break to the bad in life. The reality of the situation is that Walter is using up his last few months of his life, chasing after money, rather than spending it with the ones he loves.

“In the end it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” – A Lincoln

A further deeper, more troubling issue is what Walter is doing to those around him and those who will be at the “using” end of this money making endeavor. Seeing the shattering of lives as a result of methamphetamine is very frightening. It is destroying our families and devastating our society.  Many of the youth who turn to crime, come from homes where their lives have been ridden with drug use and abuse.

“Nothing is easier than denouncing the evildoer. Nothing more difficult than understanding him.” – Dostoyevsky

Generations of Breaking Bad:  For many of the youth we work with, it is a generational issue.  They have grown up in homes where crime is a family business.  Many of these kids’ parents have been, or are currently, incarcerated. They come from homes where drug use and abuse continue out in the open and is not only tolerated, but many times expected. Others come from homes of neglect and unrestraint. In 2010 there were 544,185 reported cases of parental neglect (most are unreported).

Breaking Out: What are we doing for these at-risk teens?  At Replay Outreach, we are in the business of BREAKING BAD. We attempt to step in the middle of the chaos of these young lives and break the cycle of crime.  We can’t do this alone; we need the community to step in with us.

Jesus said, "It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come!   "It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble.”

Let us, as the community, the society, the care-takers of this world of ours, rise up to set the standard, the example, and be the ones responsible to take back these youth.  Let us step into their lives with love.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.”