Summer Corral 2020
Given the significant coverage and plethora of information related to world events that can, most of the time, feel overwhelming, I feel no need to rehash those events here. Suffice it to say that Rekindling Hope in At Risk Youth is particularly challenging right now. Being in a position to explain current events to the kids is particularly challenging considering that they aren’t glued to phones or TVs and have limited exposure to the 24/7 news coverage. We do our best, but there are an unlimited number of proverbial land mines to navigate in an attempt to convey accurate information without becoming an agendized voice that may be seen as leaning towards indoctrination. I simply work every day to do my best and pray that the Lord gives me the words.
If I were to proclaim that, “The Ranches’ Kids Matter; They are Important,” I have no doubt that “All Kid’s Matter; They are All Important!” would be the retort from many. While I can agree with both sentiments, I spend a whole lot more of my time with kids at The Ranches than I do other kids…except for my own. My kids are not, and have never been, “Ranch kids,” and they do indeed matter a great deal to me. Because of Lani’s and my commitment to each other and our combined hard work, I can worry about and focus temporarily on the kids at The Ranches while also knowing my kids have had a supportive two parent home for most of the days of their lives. In truth, I manage my time, focus and attention every day and can prioritize and re-prioritize “on the fly” as most everyone can.
The sad truth is that for many of the kids at The Ranches, they feel that their life never has really mattered to anyone and when they hear that their life finally matters to someone, they can lose all sense of boundaries and self control and fall into the trap of thinking that the years of their life not mattering means that, now that they matter to someone, they should matter to that person or group of people more than anyone else ever has. When this occurs, we have to maintain our boundaries and remind kids that they are important, they are important to us and that we can have more than one person, or even more than one group of people, in our lives that are important to us. It is tricky and very personal, but this is the work.
Biblically, I am often reminded of the words in the book of Luke Chapter 15
1Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
So many times, the kids at The Ranches have felt like the one and feel disconnected from the ninety-nine. As an organization, we are focused on the lonely, disconnected and seemingly forgotten ones. When we do seek them out and work to help them understand their importance, the most important step is the last one; reconnecting them to the ninety-nine so that the herd – or
family – is again complete.
As a society and as a country, we are being asked how we want to treat and deal with the ones who feel that they have been separated and left behind from the herd. Are we dedicated to ninety-nine or the one? Or, are we like most who take Christ seriously in our lives and dedicated to the safety and security of the ninety-nine while we work hard to identify, find, help and heal the one…even if that one is different in almost every way.
Heath Kull – President