Family group of boys

Family is like a tree

A group of 10-year-old boys gathered for small group time after Wednesday’s assembly. Matt, our Executive Director, had just shared how family is like a tree. It got the boys thinking: what are the roots of my family and what kind of fruit is produced from those roots?

As each boy shared about their family, they realized the similarity of their backgrounds. They didn’t have dads, most had been physically and verbally abused and many had experienced the death of someone close. Ten of ten boys cried.


Relating to the boys, a leader for life and long-time student in our program stepped up. Rather than consoling each of the boys himself, he instead encouraged the team of boys to console one another. “Hey, give him some love, give him some love,” he said as one boy sobbed by himself. As a result, a boy gave him a hug and said, “hey man, I’m so sorry.” Thus a tone was set for the rest of their group time. The boys comforted one another in their hurt and pain.

Wildwood works hard to be a place of physical and emotional safety so students can begin to share their story. Many of these boys were screamed at not to cry, even abused for crying, over something that was worthy of tears being shed. In the spirit of scripture, we rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn at the Ranch.

We help our students bring their pain into the light, especially those wounds that have been growing in darkness. The healing journey often begins the first time the darkness is exposed to the light. We will continue to foster a loving, authentic community so our students feel freedom to walk into the light.