Ever received one of those phone calls that remind you that you’re making a difference? We received one of those calls this week from a former resident in the boys program. What’s most amazing about this is that Braxton was one of the kids that didn’t make it through to graduation for our residential program. He was dismissed!
One of our goals is to see that every child learns to make the behavioral modifications necessary for him/her to more effectively navigate life, and thus, “graduate” from Sheridan House. Graduation from Sheridan House also means we believe that the teen has grown in maturity and has acquired the ability to effectively manage his/her emotions and communication skills. Graduation also indicates that we believe the child understands that consequences (whether good or bad) are based on the decisions and actions one makes. Consequences in life are not typically just things that happen to someone.
Braxton was a child who just couldn’t seem to make progress in those areas and had to be dismissed from the program. In effect, he experienced the most significant consequence we have at Sheridan House; dismissal from the residential program. Initially, Braxton thought by leaving Sheridan House he was getting to leave the responsibility of doing chores and experiencing daily consequences. To his surprise, the bigger consequence for Braxton was realizing that there were several people he would no longer have in his daily life – his house parents, behavior specialist, and the director of the program – who all poured their lives and their love into him.
Several years after Braxton’s dismissal from Sheridan House, he called us to say he finally understood what we had been teaching him. He had recently prayed to receive Christ. His previous training all came together to the point where he was now making great grades in school, working at a part-time job, and dreaming of big plans for his future. His life is no longer someone else’s fault. The call to us was unexpected and cherished. Braxton’s words resonated as a confirmation of the quality care, Christian love, and fond memories he experienced at Sheridan House because of the residential team.
Although Braxton didn’t graduate from Sheridan House, he left equipped with far more Truth than anyone around him realized at the time. This call and this young man are a great example of Romans 8:28 “… that God does cause all things to work together for good for those who love Him…” even when we don’t always understand what’s going on at the time.