IMPACTING OTHERS by Prison Inmate Blogger, Eric Burnham

May 23, 2016 — 7 Comments

help others

I’m serving a 25-to-life sentence because I took a man’s life when a confrontation turned violent. Violence happens so fast, but that’s no excuse. I am responsible for my own actions, and I’m also responsible for the lifestyle I was living that made violence acceptable to me. My life is an illustration of how the decisions made today will determine the options or limitations of tomorrow–the choices made in a single moment can change a life forever.

As of 2016, I have been incarcerated for 15 years, and I’m a very different person now than I was when I committed that horrible crime. I now understand how the choices I make almost always affect someone else. I used to operate with profound self-centeredness and a pervasive sense of entitlement; my impact on the world was consistently negative. I only consumed. I never gave back. Eventually, I came to realize that I was worth more than the way I had been living and that others were worth more than the way I had been treating them.

So I sought God in an authentic, personal way, and He began to show me ways to become a better person., I actually attempted to understand other people, rather than allow myself to be hurt and upset that they didn’t understand me. The process of fundamental character change was extremely difficult and excruciatingly slow, and it’s a job that’s never finished. It’s been a journey with endless setbacks, but I found it far less painful and discouraging once I understood that other people are more like me than they are different from me. I learned what it means to be human, and like an earthquake bringing down a tall building, my self-centered worldview crumbled. I can know what it feels like to be another person because I know what it feels like to be me–we’re all different, but we’re all the same.

In what amounts to a paradigm shift, I now have a deep desire to help others. My faith in God combined with my education in the social sciences has given me a new understanding of the world. Today I’m a good person, a person who cares about other people enough to be strategic in my efforts to positively impact those around me.

Many of the men around me need someone who intimately understands not only the loneliness and frustration of prison life, but also the unique challenges of changing while here. I can provide an example, showing them it really is possible to become a better person. My job as a GED tutor in here provides both the opportunity and the platform to be a role model for younger guys who need someone to believe in them and show them they are not defined by the mistakes of their past.

I may not be able to impact everyone in here, but I can certainly impact some. And those I cannot may be reached by someone else. While the emotional isolation of incarceration is still very painful, I find comfort in the fact that I can still positively impact even one person….

_________________________________________________________

Eric Burnham, Prison Inmate Blog Contributor

Learn More About the Author of this Blog: ERIC BURNHAM CLICK HERE

PLEASE LEAVE FEEDBACK/COMMENTS:  Please take a few moments to share your comments and or thoughts on Eric’s blog; you never know just how much your comments mean and positively impact those incarcerated. THANKS SO MUCH!!! :)

7 responses to IMPACTING OTHERS by Prison Inmate Blogger, Eric Burnham

  1. 
    Shelby Allred May 23, 2016 at 1:18 PM

    Eric,
    I am so proud of you and what you have accomplished. I know it was awful circumstances that put you in prison, but it just reinforces my opinion that people can change wrong living if given the chance, even in prison. My prayer for you is that you continue to help others and that through you they can see light at the end of their tunnels too. I hope one day you are free to live again outside prison walls and that your positive actions will help many people find their way.
    Blessings, Shelby. 🙂

    • 

      Shelby – Thank you so much for the beautiful and encouraging comment. I will be sure Eric receives it.
      God Bless, Jen, IMT Founder

  2. 

    I have mailed a copy of this to my son, who is also undergoing a change for the better. Thank you Eric for letting people know that inmates can change and use their time to understand themselves and forge new and better relations with others. You are a positive influence in a negative environment. Keep up the good work.

    • 

      Hi Sharron- Thanks so much for your comment. I will be passing it on to Eric – I know it will mean so much to him. 🙂
      Jen

  3. 

    Wow, I’m so happy I’ve found this blog. I found Eric on a penpal site the other week. I posted him a letter last week but it may take a while to receive as I’m in the UK.
    I’m amazed at how much a troubled person can turn their around for the better. Tell him that people do care and that he’s never alone.
    God bless you Eric.

    • 

      Sally- Thank you so much for the kind comment. I will be sure to pass it along to Eric. He is a great person and know you will enjoy corresponding with him.

  4. 

    Eric, Nothing in life happens by accident, you had to grow up so painfully to be the person you are today. I would say, “reborn” … is beautiful !!!
    Nice to know is that we are not alone in the world, and now you know.
    Did you realize that you’re not in this world for nothing, you’re here to make a mark, your mark is to help change the life of a single person (just one), make understand that change for the better is possible. I’m sure, and by your words that this is already which happened. Congratulations Eric !!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s