Friday, August 31, 2012

Rebellion, Hormones, Habits or Independence

To say that the last couple of weeks have not been a challenge, well I don't know if the word "challenge" accurately describes our day to day experiences.  I was reading this morning in the book of Isaiah "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak".  It's only because of this promise that we can do our work each day.

We currently have five boys ages 14 - 21 and one 30-something male living in our home.  The boys are either orphans, abandoned / rejected youth or the recipient of unimaginable abuse. The adult male is in the midst of a long battle to live without the dependency of alcohol.   Each one has their own personal inner struggles as well as learning to live with new found freedoms.

They are 6 males that have spent most of their lives lying, cheating, and manipulating.  This behavior is as natural to them as breathing.  These boys have survived growing up in a 3rd World Nation, need I say more. But, as Christian young men, they know what the Bible says about these works of the flesh. 

Until recently, it was easy for the boys to cover up their behavior because they could tell us anything and we "believed" them.  We did not know the spanish language. What most of our supporters and friends don't know is that we have been taking care of these boys when we have no understanding of or ability to speak Spanish.  Now, as we begin to understand the conversations that flow between them, our eyes are being opened and opened WIDE. They can no longer hide behind our lack of understanding the language.  What is fun for us, they forget that we are beginning to understand. They will sit in our presence and carry on conversations as though we were no where near them.  We may not be able to speak it well, but Preston is grasping an excellent  understanding of Spanish.  I've told him, we should continue to play dumb so they won't know how much we know of the language.  See, we are all prone to forms of manipulation.

We are discovering behavior that is inappropriate and with disobedience comes consequences.  They are not liking correction or discipline.  As we try to make the proper decisions in response to the learned information about their conduct, we ask ourselves:  are we dealing with rebellion, hormones, habits or a desire for independence.  Anyone who has raised teenagers, knows that one or all four of these traits are exhibited everyday.

In recent weeks, we have experienced an increase in fighting between the boys.  I'm not talking about verbal encounters.  The fists have been flying and tussling on the ground. As we observe their responses to our questioning and think over recent events prior to the altercations, we see a pattern of behavior. Someone has either felt slighted or they are dealing with jealousy or they are just plain angry at the world for the time being.

Oh, I have failed to mention that there are other issues that are displayed by the boys: OCD symptoms, aspberger type symptoms, ADHD.  We are not psychologists so we do not have the ability to accurately diagnose the boys.  However, there are traits in their character that require attention and the ability to understand and work through them.

We also have to remember we were teenagers once, too.  Let me tell you a funny story.  Freddy was in school last week.   While the teacher exited the room for a brief moment, our boy decided to leave also before she returned.  There was a soccer game being televised of his favorite teams - Barcelona & Madrid.  He claims a friend talked him in to leaving school so they could go watch the game. Who among us as never skipped school?  Skipping school, we can live with, watching the game in a bar - well, we have to draw a line on that one.  A 16 year old hanging out in a bar is not good.  When he came home from "school",  he acted like nothing unusual had happened in his day.   He had not been drinking from all indications; he always comes in to talk to me and/or give me a hug when he gets home and I would have detected the smell of alcohol.  It was several days later that we found out about his escapade because he was talking to his housemates.  When we confronted him, he was sad because he got caught; but he did not appear remorseful for having pulled it off.   The reason why I call it a funny story, it is typical of something that Freddy would do.  

Freddy is our child with a very adventurous spirit.  We categorize this particular stunt of leaving school and heading off to watch sports as someone wanting to exercise some independence.  Each boy is so totally different from the next.  We have spent a lot of time studying their personalities and behavior.  How we talk to and discipline one boy would not work with another.

Rommel is the name of the man that is living with us.  He has known the boys for a couple of years when they were all living in Remar.   For as long as he will be with us, he will be a great asset in helping us understand and care for the boys.  Boys are boys,  but growing up in Nicaragua is not like living in other nations.  The environment creates differences in their behavior that is not typical in many cultures.  

We ask for prayers for us, for all of us.   Preston and I desire to have increase in our understanding and patience to better care for the boys.   We ask for prayers on behalf of the boys to have patience with us as we learn about them and understand life in this nation.  Prayers for Rommel as he continues in his quest for peace and rest in his life.  And, wisdom for all of us to make the right choices in everything that we do.