13 Apr A Mother’s Story
What follows is a testimonial of a mother sharing her personal journey and the challenges she faced with her two sons. Her story is evidence of the transformational effects of the JLP and Parent Workshop on families.
Where do I begin!!!
Before camp, I felt lost, overwhelmed, and feeling defeated. I spent most nights crying and wondering if I could go on with my son living at home with me anymore. It had gotten so bad I was sure the next knock on the door would be someone telling me my son was dead or in jail.
Our home felt like a battlefield most days. Half of the time, I walked on eggshells, and the other half argued or wondered if my sons were coming home.
Booking the camp was taken on a final leap of faith as I was 99.9% sure I wasn’t even going to be able to get one of my boys in the car. We booked both our 15yr old and 13yr old in and hoped for the best. It was a power struggle, but the day came, and with minimal push, we were on our way with both our boys. The drop-off was quick, with no time to linger or overthink it. As we drove away, I felt a hit of emotions that caught me off-guard. I held back tears and wondered if I had done the right thing. Were my babies going to be ok, and would this work? Were my boys going to rebel or embrace and give it their all?
My husband and I decided to give it our all, so the day before pick-up, we attended the parent workshop. I went there, riddled with anxiety, but it quickly faded once we realised we were not alone. So many other families were going through the same things. We quickly learned that not only our boys needed to change, but we did too.
After the workshop, we walked away with new insights and strategies. We wrote down our game plan and felt better prepared and equipped to help our family when our boys returned home. I didn’t feel helpless anymore, my husband and I were on the same page, and we were feeling empowered to do better, to be better for our kids, so they knew we were in it with them. Without attending the workshop, we would have slipped into old patterns and missed the opportunity to have a much greater positive impact on our family as a whole.
Watching our boys march out, we could not have been prouder. The discipline and focus were mesmerising! Talking with the mentors gave us great insight into our boys. We learned what they were dealing with and what they needed. I was nervous as we got into the car and began driving home.
I asked them what they had gotten out of camp. My 13yr old smiled ear to ear and said “muscles” while showing off his arms. From the outside looking in, this might not seem like a serious answer, but this was amazing for our teeny tiny baby of the family! His confidence was shining through, and he was so proud of himself. Coming from a household of 5 kids with strong personalities and two immediate older brothers that are very competitive, fit and naturally sporty, he finally felt like he fit in and wasn’t feeling out of place. He then told us that he had learnt that vulnerability is okay. For a young boy, what a valuable life tool he had learnt! When we asked our 15yr old the same question, he told us he had learnt how to deal better when things get complicated for him—again, learning something so valuable. At that moment, we knew this camp had been a pivotal learning experience for our boys.
We had in-depth talks with them and instantly implemented our game plan. They agreed to hold themselves accountable and commit to working together as a family.
We have had some hiccups. However, we addressed the negatives and focused on all the positives, reinforcing our pride in them. My home does not feel like a battlefield every day. Communication is better than it has ever been. The boys have settled into the start of the year with so much positive change to be proud of. My husband and I have never been more focused on our family. I no longer have rose-coloured glasses on, and I know we will face difficult moments in the future, but in those moments, we now have the tools to reset and refocus. Every day is a new day.
The respect for themselves and those around them, plus the sheer amount of personal growth our boys have displayed after 9 days on camp with you guys leading from the front, is all the validation we needed to know we 100% made the right choice for our family.
Before camp, I searched for solutions to gain control of my boys, not knowing that this experience would force me to take a long hard look at myself. I realised that the answer was never about control. It was about leading by a better example and showing my family I could lead from the front by doing better, that my communication style needed to change and that we can overcome differences and difficult times if we really listen to what our kids are trying to tell us.
Words cannot express our gratitude for you guys, the mentors! Giving up time with your families to come to our aid of ours! We cannot thank you enough to all of you guys and your families because, without your sacrifice, love and dedication to this program, none of this would be possible!
One mum that has finally found her feet again xx