It is hard to believe that August is here four weeks away from our next Family Weekend! While our residents always have it on their radar, the anticipation does build as it creeps closer. August and September boast some of the best weather of the year in Maine and we all look forward to our resident’s parents and siblings being on campus with us in a few weeks.
A wave of purple has come over the Frye campus in the last several weeks and we currently have a almost half a dozen Lakehouse residents! We have two of our residents graduatingnext week and several more throughout the remainder of the month. Like many traditional graduations from high school or college, Ironwood graduations are a time of hope and anticipation, for the graduating resident and his or her family, for their peers who are working toward their own graduation days, and for all of the Ironwood staff who have guided and supported the graduating resident. Starting with the slideshow, Ironwood graduations are also a time to reflect on the graduating resident’s early days here, and the many highs and lows experienced along their journey. So many memories are captured in the pictures, anecdotes and speeches that are shared at graduations.
As Family Weekend approaches, there is a tool used in the Experiential Groups that can also be quite useful in managing or influencing how parents interact with their sons or daughters and vice versa. This tool has been taught in therapeutic Social Skills groups, and the concepts and language of this contract are very applicable to families. It can be broken-down like this:
Pinky = The Little Guy: Watch out for the “Little Guy.” This is the person who needs help right now. They feel uncomfortable, vulnerable or not in control. This finger is about helping provide physical, mental and emotional safety in order to help them turn this situation around.
Ring finger = Engagement or Commitment: This finger is about striving to do my best and remain committed to the group/family and the process. Whatever the situation is, each person will put forth his or her best effort, giving 100%, not bullying, not sabotaging the group, staying true to the group goals, etc. A part of being committed is hanging in there even when it is difficult.
Middle finger = Respect and No put-downs: No put-downs, of others or yourself. This also relates to being respectful and committed to having a positive attitude.
Pointer finger = No Blaming: Taking personal accountability, not looking to blame others for problems. If I am at fault I will accept responsibility and take ownership over my actions and my part of the group/family.Whenever we point at others, we have three fingers pointing back at ourselves.
Thumb = Thumbs up or Encouragement: Acknowledge effort, accomplishments, changes made, a job well-done, etc. Freely give support that inspires confidence and a will to continue.
Considering each of these concepts in your written, phone, or verbal interactions with your son or daughter will set the tone for open, honest, and respectful communication.
Have a good weekend.