Ironwood Maine Web Update

“The future is no place to place your better days.”

Dave Matthews

Staying in the moment is a huge part of the Ironwood program. Not getting ahead of yourself is an important component that allows you to take in the strategies and put those tools to work each and every day.  

This weekend was a big deal! It was the first time in a long time that the Ironwood students ventured off campus to explore the surrounding community. The farmhouse boys went to Searsport Island this Sunday and had a blast. The Farmhouse girls also went to the beach and enjoyed a quintessential Maine summer day! This time away from campus and various community activities is a great source of motivation for us and is always highly anticipated. 

This week in DBT, we had the opportunity to work with a new therapist in this group. The DBT group has worked on Interpersonal Effectiveness for the last 16 weeks and the Farmhouse as a whole has been recognized by staff to articulate their needs, wants, feelings and questions very well. This week was a great chance for us to recap everything we’ve learned these past few months and introduce ourselves to Anna from a new perspective. 

When we, the residents, wake up in the morning we either decide to go through the motions of our daily routine, or we accept our routine and make the most out of it both emotionally and relationally. The quote shared above and our recent DBT skills learned can all be referenced when talking about this frame of mind. When we wake up intending to have a great day it typically requires intention.  We learn how to communicate our needs and wants with clarity and in order to have a better day, we need to take positive risks with one another honestly.  That is how I think I can make today one of my better days.

It is never easy and it is a choice. I hope each of you enjoy today for everything that it can be. 

Nicely put, Mr. Upper Classman, you have come so far this year!  These last few months have been most unique compared to prior times at Ironwood.  There has been a greater divide than before between what is actually taking place on campus and what is being both perceived and communicated “back home.”  It has to be the result of this extended time apart from one another, because after all, what is communicated in phone calls and letters home…even a Skype session… can’t compare to the benefits received by regular physical time in the same location.  Eye-to-eye contact, a walk down the road, playing ball, a card game, or hug is always the best way to gauge the “temperature” of the person you are with.  This week, I have had communications with parents who were struggling with the feedback received from their kids, and in some cases, it felt to me like their conversations revolved too much around the external struggles of the moment, rather than the more important family matters of connection.  As parents, we can all relate to this after all ,and I am so often guilty of directing conversations with my own kids towards chats about the weather, sports and politics.  But what might be gained if we, as parents, deliberately navigated away from these subjects (all distractions) and introduced intentional planning around stronger strategies to connect?  It can be uncomfortable, but the payoff is so much better, as we have seen it happen here at Ironwood over and over again.  

Your kids are so bright, with potential that is limitless if they can find better way to think, feel, communicate and love.  And we as family leaders do hold the responsibility of guiding them through our own experience/wisdom.  It can be hard to do this at times, however. Ironwood has prepared, or is preparing, your son/daughter to receive and process content that is deeper, meaningful, and relevant.  Communication and life skills are being taught here almost daily.  Recognize their readiness for more meaning and purpose and don’t be afraid to challenge them at deeper levels in family therapy.  There is still work to be done and this is a unique and amazing opportunity in your lives.  Changing it up can often be the best medicine in driving positive change.  And finally, hang in there!  Everyone at Ironwood wishes you a wonderful summer weekend.  Take care and be extra careful.