He was standing in the corner in the hallway of the school, crying really hard, with a Treatment Specialist by his side.
I was confused. I had just seen this child in our chapel services at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, and he was amazing. He had practiced with the adult who was leading the music and had played guitar and sang beautifully.
Part of the way through chapel service, a child who had been struggling with her behaviors all day came into the chapel. She sidled up to the musicians and sat between them. She started singing along and sharing the microphone of the boy who had practiced so hard to be there. I was so very impressed how the guitar-playing child had taken it in stride. He kept singing, playing, and smiling, and even stayed in tune!
Now he was crying. I stepped up to him and said, “So, you were amazing in chapel and now all is going wrong. Do you want to tell me about it?”
“I practiced so hard and was all ready and then she came in, after being rotten all day and just acted like she belonged there and now people don’t see how hard I worked,” he said.
“Whoa,” I said. “Let me tell you what I saw. You were wonderful… prepared, polite, and really very good. But, what really impressed me was how gracious you were when she came and joined you. You just kept doing your good work. That is pretty amazing. Everyone in chapel knew what was going on and could see the dignity with which you handled it. Don’t give that up now.”
He took a step back, wiped his eyes and said, “Did I really do good?”
“Well, yeah! You were awesome… and not just the music.”
He gave me a side hug. Nodded to the staff with him, and walked down the hall.
The kids who come to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch have had such trauma in their lives that it is hard for them to see the really important progress they make.
This child has developed dignity. We will help him recognize it. We’ll help him celebrate it!
Please keep our kids and staff in your prayers.
In His love,
Joy Ryan, President/CEO
Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch
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