The Burden of Lost Hope

It was spring break, and I decided to play a game with a group of our guys. I asked them, “if you could be on vacation ANYWHERE in the world this week, where would you go?” A few of them gave general answers like the beach or a sporting event. One young man looked at me and, in a flat, matter-of-fact voice stated, “At home with my brother and mom.” This young man was 17.

I laughed and said, “of course you want to be there, but I’m talking about a vacation!” “No,” he replied, “I don’t want to be anywhere else in the world but with my brother and mom.”

This young man’s family was fractured when he was very, very young. Neither he nor his brother had lived with their mother for over 10 years.

Later I asked this same young man what career he wanted to pursue. He said he didn’t know. “You could do so many things!” I exclaimed. “You are very intelligent, and you are very gifted.”

“I’m not going to do anything,” he stated. “Haven’t you seen my file? I’ve had too much happen to me for anything good to come of my life.”

This was true. His file was littered with heartbreaking abuse. Yet, so were the files of every other young man who was living at Goshen Valley. This young man had given up home. He allowed his ability to dream to be taken from him which resulted in poor school performance, poor behavior and very little progress in his social and emotional health. So many young people follow in his path. They allow their circumstances to steal their hope.