Ironwood Maine Web Update

“In my experience, there is only one motivation, and that is desire. No reasons or principle contain it or stand against it.” 

Jane Smiley

            This week, I’m going to be talking about the success and motivation of the community at Ironwood, while also highlighting the nicest things that we have done throughout the week. At Ironwood, everyone is working towards a common goal no matter how different our situations may be. I believe that even in the most difficult times, there is always success and motivation somewhere and it just takes figuring out what it is you desire, in order to achieve your goal.

            This week started off great with an “Ethnic Night” dinner on Sunday at the Farmhouse. The theme for this ethnic night was Thai food, and the house crew did an amazing job with decorating the Farmhouse and bringing the culture of the meal into the room. The meal started as residents and staff walked around the room to different stations where the residents who prepared the ethnic night would tell us interesting things about the culture. It was a fun and enjoyable experience for the whole Farmhouse community. 

            As we approached Monday, the whole Farmhouse group was extremely motivated and worked with positive and enthusiastic energy. After school that day, we all spent time working in the garden and made a lot of progress in planting a variety of vegetables, flowers, and fruits. After a lot of hard work, we had a special dinner of “Red Snapper” hot dogs and hamburgers in celebration of Flag day. 

            On Tuesday, we had a our weekly DBT group. This week, we discussed effective communication and the importance of it in our everyday lives. The group shared a variety of different things they have heard or said that were ineffective, and together, we restructured the statements and questions into a more effective alternative and shared them with each other. This has been our focus for about three weeks so far and I have seen the success in our interactions with both peers and staff. I have seen major improvement within the whole group in communicating with others, which has genuinely strengthened the community we have here. Not only do we have these skills for communicating at Ironwood, but these are skills that will help us for the rest of our own lives with coworkers, family members, and friends. 

            On Wednesday, we had our weekly house meeting and went over some things that have been going on recently. In addition, we had someone come up to the Farmhouse from Frye. We also had one Farmhouse student and two Lake-house students get promoted to level four. Everyone was happy to see others moving forward and progressing though the program and it motivated the rest of the community. As a whole, everyone has been doing great this week and the motivation is definitely at a peak. 

            On Thursday, the culinary director made Paprika Pork, which is one of our favorite meals at Ironwood. The smiles on everyone’s faces when they saw we were having that for dinner really put the group in a great mood and influenced hard work throughout the day. The barn crew worked hard on deep clean chores and the house crew worked hard in the garden and everyone couldn’t wait to get back for dinner. 

            Friday is a great day for all of us at the Farmhouse. We get the day off from therapeutic groups and get to enjoy playing sports and music as our enrichment for the day. Sports especially is something we all look forward to and it really gives us a break from all the hard work we have done throughout  the week. A common goal we all have in the morning on Friday is getting our chores and exercise done so we can have our frosted flakes for breakfast. The work ethic on Friday mornings is for sure the best of the week and everyone is as happy as can be when we finally sit down and eat after working hard all morning. 

            Overall, this week has been a great one and I hope that in this weekly update I have been able to highlight how our days look and how our success and motivation is constantly growing and positively affecting everyone around us. I know that not everyone at Ironwood has a positive attitude yet, but we all get there at some point, and I think that right now the community is doing well and we are all moving forward one way or another. 

*It’s remains fascinating to me to see a senior resident write thoughtful reflections like this, when not very long ago this same person was deep in the midst of personal and family struggle…resenting and even hating the need to be at Ironwood.  This young person has made a strong shift in recent weeks and the greatest change seen is that he is taking pride in the things that he is responsible for, also being more present and patient with his peers and staff.  We hope that these fresh skills will transfer back home when the time comes and that he will continue to see the personal rewards of kindness, patience and compassion.  Have a great weekend!