We recently had a young lady graduate from Calo who had done tremendous work in our program. She arrived in a most sullen state. By her own admission, she was angry even though she came to Calo of her own will. She was angry at her parents for putting down an ultimatum that she change her very dangerous lifestyle and become an interdependent member of the family. No more selfishness and constant taking–her parents wanted her to love and be loved. It took this girl, I will call her Jill, quite some time to start to open up at Calo, but eventually she did. The change was simply amazing. Where she had been sullen and tough, she was now smiling and kind. At her graduation her father read a letter from her mother, who was out of the country and could not be at the graduation. Below is that letter with the name "Jill" in place of the young lady’s real name. Nothing else has been changed. Here is the letter:
On this your graduation day from Calo, I sincerely regret that I cannot attend physically. I would like to be with you to share in your achievement today, and hope you will understand that I am emotionally and spiritually present to support and applaud you in this day of success and achievement.
You have been through a huge learning process and transformation in the past 14 months. You have grown in understanding and grace. You have made great strides in controlling your anger, learning to identify your feelings and how to express them appropriately. You now have a much better understanding of who you really are and who you can become in the future.
Some graduations are called a commencement, which can seem confusing. For some people, they think of graduation as a termination, like an end or a finishing up a program. When the ceremony is called a commencement, or a beginning, it reminds us that you are starting out new, equipped with new skills, to start life afresh. Today is the first day of the rest of your life.
In this new journey, Jill, I know there will be ups and downs, hills and valleys, joys and pains, successes and failures. Know that I love you and support you, even when you make mistakes. I hope you find the strength and courage to persevere and continue on this positive road to becoming the woman who can surpass all obstacles. Strive to become the very best you can be. Keep faith in your Creator, however you view Him. Whatever direction you are called in, work hard. Guard against all the snares and temptations that will keep you from succeedingespecially self doubt. I hope you do find the success and happiness you desire.
Final note from Ken: We heard back from Jill just a few weeks ago. She is still happy. She is doing very well in a new school. She expressed gratitude for the time she had at Calo.