ONE 7 • Give

What is it to give? The dictionary states that the meaning of the word ‘give’ is: “to grant something to somebody or to allow somebody to have something — such as power or right.”
When I think back, only one thing sticks out that was given to me. When I was younger, I was too much for some to handle and because of that a lot of people gave up on me.
I became involved in mindless gang violence which led me to the attention of the courts and local authorities. I was failing at school and had no hopes for the future. Then it was decided that I would do the only job to do good for a delinquent and that was the British Armed Forces: the Best of the Best. However, there was one problem during my upbringing, I often and regularly self-harmed, and military regulations state that a recruit
must have three years of clean mental health and pass all basic requirements.
I did, in fact, pass all the basic requirements with flying colours — so much that I would be joining one of the higher intelligence regiments such as the REME, RAMC or specialist corps. To their surprise, I decided to sign on for the basic grunt work of the Infantry instead. With a war on the brink and sure deployment to conflict, people told me I was nuts and would end up just as nothing more than cannon fodder. Nonetheless, I persisted with my plans although there was still the problem of my medical exam and my “mental health problems”.
With fears that my new dream career wasn’t going to happen, my family resorted to begging the doctor to reconsider and change his report. Then, a week later came the news: I was in and left for training in a week’s time. My doctor gave me the biggest chance ever and stated that the self-injuries were attempts at self-tattooing. I was given a chance: to change and excel and that was just what I did.
And even though my career was short lived due to real medical reasons, I learned a lot and the Forces gave me tools that I can use in daily life. And to those who gave me a chance and believed in me I thank you, for now I know what it can mean to give.
–Adrian Adair, Polmont Young Offender’s Institution