Marcia Bartok, VP of Education and Superintendent of our on-campus school is a lifelong learner. She is an avid curator of knowledge about brain development, self-care, leadership, and of course, education, and shares articles of particular interest when she comes across them.
This week she sent an article titled, “Just One Thing” written by Dr. Rick Hanson. Its subhead reads, “Simple practices for resilient happiness.”
I should share that whenever anyone tells me that something is simple, I am immediately wary. One time my husband was repairing the trunk latch on our car. The instructions said, “Simply remove clip.” Five hours and multiple power tools later the piece unceremoniously dropped to the garage floor. “Simple” usually really isn’t. (Don’t even get me started on “Simply eat less and exercise.”)
Anyway, Dr. Hanson’s writing starts with, “Once upon a time, a scholar came to visit a saint. After the scholar had been orating and propounding for a while, the saint proposed some tea. She slowly filled the scholar's cup: gradually, the tea rose to the very brim and began spilling over onto the table, yet she kept pouring and pouring. The scholar burst out: 'Stop! You can't add anything to something that's already full!' The saint set down the teapot and replied, 'Exactly'.”
Of course, this is a wonderful visual for all of us. We are always being told that our lives are overscheduled and overstimulated. We need to slow down, take care of ourselves, and make time for those we love. Yup. I agree.
But how does the story apply to the children who come to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch? Well, I have yet to meet a child who, when coming into the Ranch, is not already “full.” They are full of fear, pain, confusion, vigilance, loss, and grief. They are overflowing, and that comes out as anger, aggression, frustration, and withdrawal.
Slowly, and with great grace and patience, Ranchers help the child make room. They help them see they can be safe here, so a little bit of fear is removed. They come to understand that trauma has created their pain, so a little bit of confusion is cleared. Pain, vigilance, loss, and grief are right-sized. When there is room, trust and faith and confidence can be added.
Thank you for helping us make room in their cups.
Please keep our children and staff in your prayers.
In His love,
Joy Ryan, President/CEO
Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch
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