Monday, June 2, 2008

Say a Prayer for Jantzen

This is one of my hardest blogs to write. Usually, our blogs are happy and I pick the best things happening in our lives to share. What's happening is good in a very hard way. This week we checked Jantzen into a Wilderness program where he will stay for several months, after which he will transition to a therapeutic boarding school until he graduates. We took him to the program this past weekend. Talk about a rip your heart out experience. We have second-guessed ourselves on whether to do this for several months, but finally knew that we were ignoring the truth of what was happening and each wasted day was one less we had to work with him as parents.

We researched dozens of programs and finally settled on one that we felt would be a good fit for Jantzen's needs. Our contact with him will be limited for some time, and even though we feel at peace that he's being watched over by a wonderful team of people, we miss him. In some ways, it's easier to rest knowing he can be helped. We know the outcome if we did nothing.

Home has been a rough place for awhile with all the challenges our various kids are facing. The emotional and financial toll has been great, but then again, nothing great has ever been accomplished without great sacrifices. We are doing our best to deal with each child's issues with love and patience. But we are big believers that stress can take a toll. Kevin has been ill for ten days straight and I have had TMJ with my jaw locking shut. The good days have been far and few between, but we have faith that sunshine is around the corner (Sunshine? You are there, aren't you?)

We figure this too shall pass...sometime soon hopefully. In the meantime, lend your prayers to the family as we grapple with some of the toughest issues I can remember ever having on my plate.

I guess it's all relative...when we can move from 5 kids in counseling, down to three or none, we'll give a big cheer. Think of all the expendable income we'll gain back! We'll be rich! Independently wealthy! We can buy a second home! Buy art and stock fresh flowers and chocolates year round!

Lastly (and on a good note), hiking and exploring season is here. I've been hiking to Horsetail Falls with Dad and exploring some new fishing spots now that spring run off is ending. Nothing like a good hike to clear your head and get that hamburger you ate for lunch off your thighs.


Marcie said...

We love you all and wish the best for Jantzen! We will keep you in our prayers!

The Bishop Family said...

Hang in there Tessa. You are a GREAT Mom. We will keep you all in our prayers. Tell Jantzen we love him and are praying for him.

Lesley said...

We will keep you and your family in our prayers. We love your family, and know you are doing what is best for them. You are an amazing person, and a huge blessing in their lives.

Anonymous said...

I do not know which program you sent your son to, but many of these intensive wilderness programs model themselves after Steve Cartisano's Challenger program. Here's the blog of a then-kid who went through that program some time ago:

Also, here's an article about the industry in general, which mentions many of the now older programs out there:

I'm not sure if you realize this, but this is not wilderness for enjoyment or spirituality's sake. This is "break the kids down, and build them back up as we see fit." Except that the latter part doesn't always get done so well. The "counselors" are often kids who went through the same experience not so long ago, and inflict the same punitive, soul-breaking experience that they themselves already know all too well.

I would check out whether there is someone present at all times who is adequately trained or experienced enough in recognizing true emergencies should these come up. The counselors are usually taught to treat complaints as "faking it." Sometimes that stance has had fatal consequences.

Ever wonder just why you are not allowed to have much contact in the early stages? That's when they do the biggest part of breaking your kid's spirit, and when you, as his mother, are most likely to intuitively understand that this is not good.

-concerned reader