Ironwood Maine Web Update

“Great change dominates the world, and unless we move with change, we will become its victims.”

Robert F. Kennedy

As I have been watching more residents progress to Level 3, I have been doing a lot of reflecting on what I remember about the transition from Frye to the Farmhouse. Being promoted to the Farmhouse is a very thrilling experience and is a huge accomplishment, but it is important to know that the change in environment can be nerve wracking and stressful. It is completely normal to feel this way through the transition, and some may adjust more quickly than others. The truth is that change will happen throughout all of our lives and with change comes difficulties. At Ironwood, things are constantly changing: different staff and peers come and go, group dynamics change, schedules change and our individual programs are always shifting as we progress. It can be challenging, but at Ironwood, we learn to value change because without it, growth is not possible.

There are many benefits to coming up to the Farmhouse. Residents are given more trust and privileges, and we are also given a little more independence. These are very exciting things to look forward to in the program, but the Farmhouse is a very different campus than Frye and can take some getting used to. The change in campuses can be uncomfortable at first, and it is not uncommon for residents to say things like, “I want to go back to Frye” when they first come up. As residents adjust, this kind of mindset will go away, but the discomfort in the transition is very real, as Richard Hooker once said, “Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better.”

The transition from Frye to the Farmhouse is a very useful learning opportunity that Ironwood provides to residents. After being at the Farmhouse for a little while and investing in our program, residents realize that the personal growth they are experiencing would not be possible without the level promotion and their acceptance of the change. At the Farmhouse, we really work on maintaining a growth mindset as opposed to a fixed mindset, and this helps us to honor change by looking past inconveniences that come with it and looking at change as an opportunity for growth. Staff and peers are always there to support new Farmhouse residents through the transition and help them learn important skills, such as the growth mindset, that will be very helpful for them throughout the changes in the program and changes they may face outside of Ironwood.

After diving deeper into this facet of the program, I have developed an even greater appreciation for change. I can say from personal experience that coming to Ironwood was the biggest change I went through in my life, and one of my most difficult experiences as well, but after choosing to accept the change, I am here now, wearing a blue t-shirt and thinking about how far I have come and how much I have grown. My transition to the Farmhouse was another difficult change for me, as the internal work in this portion of the program can be a little intimidating at first, but I developed a growth mindset and took advantage of this change and fully invested in my program. Without these major changes in my life, and without the things I learned at the Farmhouse, I would never have become as strong and resilient as I am today.

In conclusion, being promoted to the Farmhouse is such an amazing opportunity to learn how to cope with change and honor it. The skills that residents gain around this topic will serve as a gift in the future, because as humans, we will forever be faced with changes, and it is important that we do what we can to make the best of them and grow from them. I hope that after reading this, you will be able to view change from a different perspective and use it as a growth opportunity.

*Whoa, how about that?! Coincidentally and two days ago, I sat in on a group and this author was also present. I hadn’t spent time with her for a few weeks, except in passing and her presence was noticeably different. She still maintained a quiet presence, but she was exuding strength and confidence and she seemed very comfortable in her own skin. Clearly happy with herself and absolutely looking forward to what is waiting for her as she enters the Ironwood homestretch and prepares to head off to whatever is meant for her, next. It didn’t always look like this and it wasn’t long ago that I saw a human being who was very different. How could this be?

Well, I know what we do here on the acres of Ironwood but I’m not always sure what goes on in the relational development work between our Ironwood resident and the family members back home. This is the secret ingredient, or critical variable that can turn an average Ironwood experience in to something very special. When parents take these months and transition to new ways of thinking, communicating and operating together, the outcomes are always noticeable. Residents are aware when this is present in their lives and when it is real, it can almost only deliver all of the good qualities that I mentioned earlier. I am very happy today for this resident…and well done, Mom and Dad. You have much to look forward to. Excellent RFK quote too, young lady!

Have a great weekend everyone and stay hopeful. 😊