“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.” – Unknown
As the season begins to change, I can’t help but to reminisce on stories my grandparents used to tell me about the “good ol’ days”. The legendary tales of courageous journeys just to get to and from school. The epic struggles of contribution to the family chores before the sun rose. The inhumane circumstances of the summer time jobs working in the fields. These stories of grit, and fortitude are proud patches of character that my grandparents share with a sense of pride.
While observing the daily routines of our students on campus this week, some of these same inspirational character qualities are easy to admire in your children, as well. In a way, they can likely relate more to the character defining actions of my grandparents, than most of society today.
On Sunday, the Farmhouse had to opportunity to volunteer at one of Maine’s most popular cultural affairs. The Common Ground Country Fair is a long-time gathering and grand celebration for organic farmers,spinners and weavers; woodworkers, jewelry-makers; drovers of oxen, horses and mules; and sheep herders and their dogs. Not to forget the many poets and fiddlers, reflexologists and herbalists, solar and wind power gurus, seed savers and worm-keepers…our students made their contribution to supporting this event by supervising the recycling stations. Sorting through what would be land-fill destined compostable materials to process appropriately. If this doesn’t earn them some pride later in life, in not sure what will? After their volunteer shift, each student had the opportunity to enjoy the fair’s varied activities and events.
This week also offered several moments of necessary courage for our residents. Two that stand out to me are an initial arrival on our campus for a new student and a recent promotion from Frye to the Farmhouse. In both accounts, these students are being uplifted out of their comfort zones and placed into unknown territory with a different set of expectations and responsibilities. Both of these students are making the conscious decision to courageously accept a change of environment and trying to adapt to their new surroundings. While they are equally supported by peers, staff, and family, these students are ultimatelymoving through struggle and taking new steps toward the unknown with the hopeful outcome of greater internal peace, strength and independence.
Both campuses have been making efforts to prepare for the coming of fall and winter. In the grazing fields, students have been taking turns picking out the large pastures to collect manure. These ground scores are collected and transported to what is affectionately known as “the Pit of Despair” where it will decompose and eventually turn into compost for future use. Frye students are also chipping into the preparation efforts on campus. One group of students took to refinishing our wooden tables by replacing rotten boards, sanding, and staining while another took time to build little winter sheds for our mini blueberry orchard.
All of our program activities support the development of character qualities that I am sure any grandparent would honor. From consistent morning exercise and community chores, to the practice ofputting one’s self in a vulnerable space during therapeutic groups, each student is defining who they will be as adults. While they may sometimes complain of share frustration, one day we expect that they will be able to look back on this experience and talk about “their good ol’ days”.
We hope you have a nice weekend and thank you for placing your trust in Ironwood.