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Do you want to be a better parent? If you see where your problems lie, please do not be discouraged. I know the tendency is to think, “I see where I have been a terrible parent. My teenager is a mess, and the situation is hopeless.” No, it is not hopeless. That, if anything, is the underlying message of the Paul Anderson Youth Home (PAYH): hope! At the PAYH, we take troubled young men in whom wrong seeds have been planted. By applying God’s principles to them even at this seemingly “late stage,” we see miracles every day. We see “miraculous transformations!” We see first-hand God’s grace, His forgiveness, and His way of healing wounds and restoring parents to their child and child to their parents. As promised in Joel 2:25a, “God will restore the years the locusts have stolen.”
*Devon’s father was at the end of his rope when he called and begged us to take his son, who was in deep trouble. A wealthy West Coast businessman, he was monetarily able to give his son anything he needed. Two years earlier, Devon was kicked out of public high school for dealing drugs, after which time his father placed him in a well-known drug rehabilitation program. He came back home and soon returned to his old friends and his old behavior. He ended up in a military school and another boarding school before coming to us…each time either expelled or dismissed because of his anger and his refusal to obey the rules.
He did not want to come to the PAYH, but he had no choice. It was either here or jail. Devon was like a lot of our young men. He was angry, manipulative, and mouthy, and he had never been given consistent discipline. He had grown up without clear-cut, set boundaries. He learned, therefore, how to manipulate his mother and father to get what he wanted. He thought he had it made, but he was filled with anger. It is my belief that a child’s internal need for direction and boundaries is all tied up with his understanding of “love.” When the parent says “No!” something inside that child feels secure and loved. When discipline is missing, and a child is empowered to do whatever he wants an inner rage begins to form.
This rage was certainly true in Devon’s case. Of course, the fact that his father left his mother for another woman did not help the situation. There was an unconscious barometer inside Devon that longed for someone to always be there for him. Here at the PAYH, he would have temper tantrums, and we would deal with them each time. His behavior is not acceptable! He was made to pay the consequences of his behavior and we were consistently tougher on him than anyone had ever been in his life.
I will never forget the day I was sitting in my den and heard shouting outside. I opened the door to see what was going on and out in the yard stood Devon and Eddie Burris. Eddie’s stature is rather intimidating, though at heart, he is a gentle giant. Well over 300 pounds, his voice is as large as he is. I could hear him sternly say, “Devon, come here!” Devon kept backing away, knowing all too well his behavior had gotten him in trouble. However, he resisted Eddie, “No! I’m not coming over there.” Eddie replied, “Devon, come here!” This went on and on. Devon resisted, but Eddie stood his ground. Finally, Devon weakened and made his way toward Eddie. Suddenly, his anger melted, and he fell into Eddie’s strong arms… and Eddie held him for a long time while he cried.
A young man like Devon desperately needs a strong father who will love him, affirm his worth, and hold him accountable whenever he falls. Devon soon began to flourish here at the PAYH and became a real leader among the guys. His father saw such positive change in his son that he began to examine his own life. I will always treasure seeing them truly embrace each other for the first time in their lives with sincere love and genuine forgiveness.
*Name has been changed
Have you found yourself in the same place as Devon’s family? We are here to help! Contact our admissions team today if you need help for your family.