Three boys at the Ranch were slinging mud and taking shots at each other with their words. Our staff quickly diffused the escalating situation and sat down with the parties involved.
One of the boys broke down in tears and told us he didn’t come here to fight, but instead to grow his relationship with God. He had come close to losing his faith when his best friend was shot and killed this past year. Just 15 minutes earlier he had been sitting in the same chair outside and wondered why it wasn’t him who was dead. He didn’t want to go home.
Another boy was triggered when one of the other boys began disrespecting his mom. “The only person I can trust on this earth is my mom and I tell her every day that I love her.” He continued, “It’s not okay for him to disrespect her. The only other people I can trust in my life is you guys at Wildwood.” He said he could share his thoughts and feelings at the Ranch and he wouldn’t be looked down on or made fun of here. He didn’t want to go home.
The third boy shared that he’s bullied at school, so when the boys began tearing each other down with their words, it hurt deeply. He said that bullying at school led him to try and take his own life. It was his step mom who found him and he didn’t think he’d be alive today if not for her. Words against his mom stung too because he’s not sure if his birth mom is okay, often worrying she’s dead because of her poor choices. He didn’t want to go home.
When we bring 100+ kids together every week from at-risk situations, it’s not unusual that we encounter behavior issues. We work to help our students understand why they are acting the way they are. Quite often this leads to children in tears, sharing their heart and the challenging situations they face at home.
We welcome the tough stuff because when we help them process their story and the emotion and behavior that ensue, it provides an opportunity to speak truth, love, encouragement, identity and purpose into their lives. We continue to pray that the children who come to Wildwood Hills Ranch will experience healing, hope and God’s unconditional love.