Since being a sophomore at the University Alabama, playing football for Coach Bryant, and starting this place called Big Oak Ranch back in 1974, I literally have had over 2,000 professors of life teach me truths that are really life-changing.
I don’t believe there’s a case of abuse that I haven’t seen or heard about, whether it was a small child dipped in hot grease from the waist down, a child “sold” to numerous people so that a parent could get drug money, or a dad looking at his young son and telling him, “I wish every day that you had never been born!”
Over the years, we have had numerous houseparents tell us that they have stood outside the bedroom doors and listened to the children. Some are laughing in their sleep. Some are crying quietly. Some are even moaning and crying out in fear. For many of our children, being asleep in a home at the Ranch is the first time they’ve ever gone to sleep and felt safe.
Try to identify what it must feel like to lay your head down on your pillow, close your eyes and try to sleep soundly knowing that your greatest fear or your worst nightmare will probably happen to you during the night.
For some of our children, it takes several months for them to be able to relax and sleep soundly. This only happens when our staff from top to bottom continually reaffirm to that child that they are now safe and they can trust their protectors.
We’ve had small children moan in their sleep because they are reliving a negative experience that they have “black holed” deep within their subconscious mind. Sometimes we are able to get them the necessary counseling and help that they need. But regrettably sometimes, even with the best counselors available, the pain is so deep and buried only God can relieve them of
Most all of you reading this article cannot identify with the stories and situations we have shared. Thankfully neither can your children—and for that you are all blessed.
One of the greatest causes of stress in a child’s life is when their parents exhibit an indifference to them, or project to the child they are unimportant. Some parents exude, whether unknowingly or worse yet knowingly, that their child’s very existence has caused problems simply because they were born into the family.
This attitude is especially true in regards to stepchildren. Many of our children who have come to live with us have been that “stepchild” who was unnecessary and unwanted, or an inconvenience. Their mom (or dad) has a new family now. The newborn baby or the favorite step-sibling is now the center of attention. Some of you reading this article right now remember that feeling of rejection in your own personal experience growing up.
Are the experiences in your child’s life right now positive or negative? Are you doing your part to give your children a great childhood, or are you perhaps guilty of some of the negative things? If there are things in your life right now that are negatively affecting your family, stop NOW.
It is never too late to be a great parent!