WE BELIEVE in generational change through children: that by restoring a child's identity, we can make a positive difference both in how that child engages the world and in their posterity.
RING THE BELLS THAT STILL CAN RING. FORGET YOUR PERFECT OFFERING. THERE'S A CRACK, A CRACK IN EVERYTHING, THAT'S HOW THE LIGHT GETS IN. - Leonard Cohen, Anthem
It's not the easiest of stories to share: there are no podiums or gold stars or shiny symbols of success – only something which looks a whole lot like and ending and feels... undone.
Isaac* came to us this past June, all hard shell, tough attitude and posturing, representing the nature of the company he had been keeping – too cool for anything.
But summer is our zenith, our magnum opus, when we orchestrate intense, intentional experiences centered around fulfilling our mission statement of restoring the identity of children so they can realize their great value and be a blessing to others.
Isaac took to it like a duck to water. That exoskeleton he had carefully constructed rapidly peeled away to reveal... Isaac. He thrived on the positive statements poured out over him and grew spiritually; picked up on the joy of helping others and became an encourager; filled up on time spent with the other kids here, softening as he found he did not have to prove himself or show off to fit in. He was, like Adam, laid bare and unashamed.
It was glorious to him to be vulnerable within the safety of The Children's Home, but as summer ended, Isaac wrapped himself up in his discarded armor and headed off to school
Within a few weeks, accumulated truancies forced him to leave – a violation of his parole. Hard truth is, everyone has to won their choices, even the ones we wish they wouldn't make. We can't control every action of the kids here, but we will try to help them learn from their mistakes.
We rehearse to ourselves the things we gave him, the things this summer gave him, the things our other kids gave him – his identity, his value genuine love and affection, acceptance – praying these will not stay buried within him, but will grow, give off their fruit and feed him. We knock on the door of his return, and hear "maybe". If the judge agrees, he can come home to us... he wants to come home.
We were left dizzied and disappointed with the quick drop and suddenness with which the ride ended. Isaac is gone, and we were not finished. The story is not finished. Isaac is not finished.