Well, Rafin didn't go home for a discipline. I'm not sure what he got instead but he's still here. Please pray for him if you think of it - this is a boy who needs to know that in life, there are consequences for our actions! And thankfully, there is much grace to be found in Jesus as well!
My three boys arrived home on Wednesday. I was in South Africa til Friday night late so haven't had a decent chance to talk with them about what they have or haven't learned but will today. They each greeted me with giant hugs and said they are glad to be back!
I've received some encouraging feedback about our "tough love" - thanks for your prayers and comments!
I'm always aware of the drawbacks to "institutional living" as compared to being raised in a family - difficulty in following through and proper consequences is one of those. Another aspect I often ponder is that I rarely see much in the way of remorse in the boys. It's as if the behavior has passed so everything is over. I don't often see the kids trying to "make up for" their behavior or smooth over things with someone they've hurt.
One wise person (my director Ros!) commented that in a family, you are always together - you are in the same (relatively) small house, eat at the same table, sit on the same couch, drive in the same car, etc. So if you've had a conflict, you can't just go off to play with one of 300 other people, you have to pretty much work it out and make things better or everyone is miserable. Here, it's easy for the kids to avoid problems rather than work through them.
Another thing to ask my readers to keep in prayer - wisdom and discernment in all of these areas so that we raise Godly, mature, wise, kind, loving, responsible young men! (and women, there are girls in this center too, I just don't work with them!)