Ironwood Maine Web Update

“When you have a thought your brain releases chemicals, an electrical transmission goes across your brain. You become aware of what you’re thinking. Thoughts are real, and they have a real impact on how you feel and how you behave.”

Daniel G. Amen

The next Parent Weekend is Feb 19th and 20th. Parent Weekend is a time where the parents of the residents can spend a therapeutic weekend with their son or daughter to develop or create deeper bonds. I am going to be talking about the impact that the weekend has on the residents and families. 

​There has been a lot of talking about how getting to see our family is a nice treat since it has been 3 months since the last one.  There has also been talk about how siblings can’t attend this Parent Weekend. This has affected some people because this would be their first Family Weekend with their siblings or, for others, they haven’t seen them since the last family weekend. Even though there will be no siblings, they will be in the hearts of the residents.

This past Saturday, deep clean lasted until about 2 o’clock and was very thorough. After deep clean, there was a riding lesson where one Farmhouse resident rode for the very first time in their life. Another fun thing that happened at the FH was the Ethnic Night on Sunday. It was based on Ethiopian culture and was very good.  This weekend, the FH listened to a podcast based upon staying motivated and how to be motivated.   We had an experiential group where we learned about trust and communication skills. Overall, the FH and Frye campuses are having a normal week, except for the preparations of next week’s Parent Weekend.  

Another therapeutic group that had an impact on me personally was our Farmhouse experiential on Monday. The activity was based on trust and communications skills. The point of the activity was to have 3 people on a team. One person couldn’t talk but controlled where a person went. The nextperson could only talk but couldn’t see where the person travelled, and the third person was blindfolded, trusting the “director” to walk them in the right direction. The goal of the exercise was to pick up a ball and throw it at the opposite teams blindfolded person (first). It was meaningful for me because I had to trust another person and listen closely, in order NOT to walk into a wall! This is relatable to the Parent Weekend because this event is all about developing trust and bonds. 

​There is no better feeling then waking up at 6 to someone saying “it’s time to exercise.” No better feeling!  So, when I finally rolled out of bed and got changed, I did my chores, all while dreading that I had to go run 25 laps in the indoor arena. As I got more and more awake though, I came to decide that running 25 laps wasn’t so bad. When the time finally came for me to run, I pet our horse Homer on the nose, and started to run my laps. I would tell myself “just 3 more, just 3 more and you can take a break.” I would finish those 3 and tell myself to keep going and do 3 more. I would do that until all the laps were done. In the moment, it was not fun at all. I was running in the cold and couldn’t feel my toes. But when we got into the house, I felt amazing. Even though my legs felt like jelly, I was awake and ready to start the day. This further relates to Parent Weekend because there is a lot of work that goes into this gathering. It’s sometimes not fun in the moment, but once it’s done, it’s worth it and gives all of us a sense of accomplishment. 

​Family Weekend is a big part of Ironwood, and we have all been thinking about it for several weeks.  I hope that this helps you some to understand how we are feeling. If you sometimes think that we don’t care, rest assured that we do! I hope that those of you planning to attend have a fun and productive visit.  Thank you. 

*On a recent parent visit and tour, I stopped and visited with this week’s author and he shared his “Ironwood perspective” to these adults who had just dropped off their child at Frye.  As you can imagine, these family elders were emotional and absorbing all of the details of this new chapter in their family’s life.  This young man was thoughtful, compassionate and kind, as he described his experience, assuring them all that everything was going to be ok. I was so impressed by this 10 minute exchange and I think it was simply because he stopped what he was doing, was well spoken, made great eye contact and generously gave his time to others, expecting nothing in return other than to be helpful.  It’s so nice to see these positive transitions unfolding throughout our campus…have a great weekend!