Shelterwood graduate shares

“It’s not all butterflies and unicorns”: A recent Shelterwood graduate, Crosby Child’s, shares candidly about the ups and downs about being home after graduating the program.

Having grown up in a caring home with a stay-at –home mom and a dad who worked hard to support the family, Crosby’s trouble didn’t start until middle school, a difficult time for anyone. Then, being forced to move at the end of Grade 6 and leave everything familiar behind, Crosby began to mix with the “wrong crowd” and it “turned her life upside down.”   She became angry and stopped confiding in her parents and spent more and more time with her friends, making poor decisions. During her freshman year, she went through even more radical changes: she was moving again to Oklahoma and she found out she was pregnant with a child with special needs. Her anger and bitterness towards everyone spiked. Her move to Oklahoma didn’t change much…she continued to hang out with the wrong crowd and got involved in drugs and alcohol. She started skipping school and all of these decisions really affected her grades and her relationships at home, which went from bad to worse.

Crosby was brought to Shelterwood in November of 2012 where she experienced “ups and downs” for fourteen months and graduated in January 2014. Her highlights include activities such as horseback riding classes, being celebrated as she moved up levels, meeting “a lot of wonderful young women,” and traveling to Haiti twice to work at orphanages. But what stands out the most for Crosby is being baptized with her best friend which she says, “was more than [she] could over ask for and it brought [her] closer to God.” While at Shelterwood, she learned that she was smart and capable at school, that she was able to love others “safely” and make wise decisions, and how to have friendships without unhealthy dependency.

Since graduating from Shelterwood in January, Crosby has been busy raising Tommie (who will be 3 in May) and working to finish school so she can go to college to be a dental hygienist and travel. Her dream is to do missions work and maybe live in a country such as Haiti for a year. While returning home has been difficult and a definite adjustment for Crosby and her family, she says she knows better how to handle struggles and that even though it might not have seemed like it at the time, “Shelterwood was the best thing that ever happened to [her].”

The roller coaster of adolescent treatment

debate small The roller coaster of adolescent treatmentI am the mother of a 16 year old son.  We are in the midst of trying to discern if Shelterwood would be the best place for our son right now.  We have reached a point at home that we feel unable to help him.  He is failing school (He is very bright), angry at God, angry at his family, and has been stealing money from us.  He has become verbally abusive to our whole family.  We have been through numerous counselors, a psychologist, his pediatrician, pastor, etc. and no one has been able to help.  He has been accepted to Shelterwood, but as a mom, I am so torn with sending him away.  I was hoping to be in touch with a few parents to see how they dealt with this decision, what behaviors in their child led them to this decision, how the child felt about being sent to Shelterwood, and ultimately the result.  How long has your son been home?  Were you able to get the family counseling from Shelterwood that helped restore the relationship between you and your son?  Was coming home difficult for your son, and have the changes he made there at Shelterwood continued as he has remained home?  Anything that you could tell me, pros or cons regarding your experience would be so helpful.  I know your heart has been where mine is now, and I think it would help if I could hear from another parent who has been there.

Thanks, Concerned mom

 

Hi Concerned Mom

You are in such a tough place and I ache for you because I’m sure every day for your family is a roller coaster ride from what you described. Yes, we were in a similar condition and made the decision around thanksgiving time, but I couldn’t let go of our “holiday”.  Our son told us he wouldn’t go there and we’d need to have him taken by cops (escorts), so we did just that and it worked much smoother than I could have ever imagined. We did exactly what the service said to do and it worked. Our son was surprisingly calm by the time they got him there and cordial to us until the counselor let us alone for just a minute or two and then he lashed out in hate. Didn’t know if he’d ever speak to us again, but we had to pursue this for our other child and for our marriage…

Ten months later and a lot of emotional work, a few bumps and he came home. It has been working and I would do exactly the same thing again. He graduated recently. It isn’t perfect, but we grow and work through things much better and he is scheduled to graduate high school in May and go on a mission trip to Nepal in July!!!

You have done so much for your son, if you can possibly give him the gift of a chance to go to Shelterwood, follow their system and heal, God will bless you in a mighty way. If you do decide to send him, DO NOT PULL him at any cost or problem. Please work through the bumps and commit to see it through. I watched too many do the opposite and so did our son. He even said in his parting speech, “stop asking your patents to pull you and succeed in this.”

I’ve probably left a lot out, but will pray for you and would definitely appreciate a call from you even if we cry together. It shows what a great parent you are because you are even investigating this!
God bless you!

Shelterwood Alumni

In Memory of Richard Beach

“Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us” -1Thess. 2:8

There is a profound difference between being around someone and being with someone. The “I see you” connection from Avatar is vastly different from the surface connection of a Facebook friend. Kids today are no different than kids of yesterday. They long for connection with others, especially their parents. Take the time to truly connect with your kids.

We are packing up to make that long, flat drive across Kansas to say goodbye to our dear friend, mentor, example and boss, Richard Beach. He passed away a few days ago after a truly courageous 16-year battle with cancer. I know Rich is at peace, healed and loving being in the presence of the Lord. He impacted so many people for Christ during his 65 years on this earth. I’m sure the memorial service will be huge.

I‘ve been reflecting on what made Rich so unique. He had an amazing ability to make everyone feel comfortable in his presence. He didn’t have a graduate degree in anything and he never wrote a book (though we tried to get him to write one many, many times)!

So, how was Rich able to touch so many people’s lives, from the stewardess to the bank president? I think the secret lied in his ability and willingness to connect. Sure, he was an extrovert, but the “connection ingredient” isn’t about temperament, but about love.

Rich simply made the choice to love. His willingness to love the unlovely sometimes got him into trouble too. Much like Jesus sharing with the adulteress woman, Rich sometimes embarrassed those closest to him. But his heart of love simply had no choice.

Kids are asking, no, they are begging, for us as parents to provide that kind of connection and love. Not the cheap “I love you because you’re my child” love, but the thick kind of love that jumps in all the way. Rich invested into every life he encountered, whether that person was lovable are not.

Rich was simply a reflection of the love of Jesus who loved unconditionally. Many claim that kind of love, but Rich lived it out with every person he encountered along the way. There’s not one of us who had the privilege of working closely with him who wasn’t embarrassed by one of his encounters at some point. Sitting at a restaurant, Rich would joke with the grouchy waiter and minutes later be sharing Christ with her. No matter the result of their conversation, they would part with a hug and a smile.

The legacy Rich leaves behind for his family and for thousands of teenagers and mentors is that love is an action verb not a passive noun. If God is on my heart, I have no choice other than to impart my life to everyone I encounter.

Parents, squeeze every drop out of every encounter with your teenager. Impart your life. Love. Give. Sacrifice.

Rich, have a blast as you encounter Christ Himself. Enjoy the time together. You deserve it!