With the boys in my group, I like sharing the poem There are Men Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves by James Kavanaugh. It’s attractive to me as it evokes both questions and introspection for them. Most of them have worked really hard on convincing everyone how “tough” they are. Along the way they successfully taught people to walk on egg shells around them and a parent’s smallest attempt to hold a boundary can cause an explosive reaction, with punching holes in the wall, threats of self-harm, risky behavior such as speeding through the neighborhood, or taking drugs to ensue.
Viewing entries posted in 2020
As I reflect upon our philosophy and mission here at Evoke, I am reminded of a song by Graham Colton Life's What You Make It. It talks about how each of us will at some point need to write our own life’s song. One of the great lines of the song reads:
“You have to learn to love yourself.”
“Stop caring about what other people think.”
“The only approval you need is from yourself.”
Our son was being transported to the wilderness in Utah, a six-hour drive from home. It was one of the longest nights of my life.
One of my favorite times of year in the desert is monsoon season. From mid-to-late summer there are almost daily thunderstorms and monsoons. The sky is wide enough that you can watch storm clouds roll toward you for an hour before they are overhead. The sky goes from bright and sunny to ominous and dark grey with a purplish tinge. Right before the rain hits everything seems to still, and then a slight breeze picks up that cues the downpour. The rain hits the ground with enough force that you can see tiny impact craters in the sand. The water often runs over sand and rock and creates washes as it flows downhill. Thunder and lightning crash and light up the sky in an elemental way that makes you very aware of your decision to be working outside.
A riddle: A Vietnam veteran robs a convenience store two years in a row on the same day in July. When asked why he chose that date, he says he doesn’t know...Why? Don’t worry, I won’t leave you hanging for the answer for too long.
These are difficult times. COVID-19 has affected everyone’s life in some very challenging ways. People are dying from it. People are losing loved ones. Many people are out of jobs. Schools are closed. There are restrictions on public access to places that provide recreation and escape. It would be easy to feel down, anxious, depressed, and to cope in unhealthy ways. I have noticed that many people are managing this crisis in ways that are working for them. They are adjusting their coping mechanisms to help them maintain some degree of sanity.
When I moved to Utah 11 years ago as a 23-year-old, I didn’t imagine I would still be here and more surprising to me, that I would end up as the single mom of a four-year-old. I often tell our staff that I wish I could give them the experience of raising a child because it would make them better at their jobs. This reminds me of the comment my boss made when I first told him I was pregnant, “This is going to be so good for you.” I have also experienced parents tell me how lucky I am to work for Evoke because I have all of the tools I need; tools they wish they had before raising their kids. And what I’ve come to realize is that we are all right. My experience in wilderness has informed how I parent and my experience as a Mom has informed how I lead our team at Evoke. Each makes me better at the other.
“In the day-to day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.”--David Foster Wallace, This is Water
I was meeting with a boy who I’ll call Robert for our seventh session. Robert had been in wilderness for seven weeks and in his first few weeks was often tearful, talked openly of his depression, his past suicidal actions and thoughts, and his fear of how he would manage these struggles when he returned home. In those first weeks Robert had made great progress in his understanding of his depression and how to better manage it, yet he held very firmly to his past friends and desire to continue to smoke weed.