Several days ago, I walked into my son’s bedroom and snapped this photo of the stack of books he brought home with him from Adora. I wondered briefly if this was the reading list of our high school freshman or an MBA student home from college. These books weren’t assignments for him over the break but rather books that he has already read (most of them anyway) and chose to bring home to share with our family. What an incredible set of books to learn the skills necessary to build healthy relationships that produce personal and organizational excellence in families, churches, schools and businesses.

I paused to recall with amazement the things that God has done over the past few months to cause this particular set of books to be collected in our home. And, I sighed with the reassurance that He is clearly at work to heal and strengthen our family as He draws each of us more closely to Him and to one another through the work of the Adora Community.

I think it started this fall with Donovan’s assignment to read, report on, and discuss the personal application of The Entitlement Cure by Dr. John Townsend. This was followed by another assignment to do the same with The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni. (Both of these are outstanding books that I highly recommend.) Donovan’s curriculum for the Fall trimester was designed specifically for him by the Adora staff as they assessed his needs for both educational and relationship development. And, as he progressed through the trimester, Donovan actively participated in choosing additional books.

The approach of the Adora team in applying Trauma Healing-Based Learning reminds me of Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos’, advice to be stubborn and “incredibly relentless” in pursuing vision but flexible on the details along the way. They continually search for the methods and materials that work best for each student at each particular stage of their development while remaining focused on the vision to help each student heal and connect with their families so they can return home as soon as they are ready.

But, getting the student in Adora’s residential program ready to come home is only part of what is required.

Those at home have to get ready too. Typically, the student who comes to Adora for help isn’t the only person in the family who needs to change for the family to be healthy and function as God intended. This brings me back to the stack of books and my encouragement in what God is doing.

Donovan’s choice of books by one of his favorite non-fiction authors, Patrick Lencioni, wasn’t all about the material. He chose to read more writings by Lencioni after learning that I was also using this author’s books at work. Donovan intentionally asked to read these books and to bring them home so that he could connect with me and strengthen our relationship which has been strained over the past few years. I cannot adequately express here the significance of this step he took and God’s grace in working through normal circumstances to bring about His work of connecting Donovan and me. Wow! But the evidence of God’s loving providence in our lives doesn’t end there.

Through his work at Adora this fall, Donovan is now basically the resident expert on “The Entitlement Cure” at our house. So, Angie and I consulted with him on how he benefitted from this book and how we might best apply it with other members of our family. His insights demonstrated that he clearly understands both his need for improvement and the need for each of us to grow and mature for the good of our family. Not bad for a fifteen-year-old, huh? (Please apply proud Dad filter here as appropriate.)

By God’s grace our family continues to move forward doing our best to follow what Townsend calls the “Hard Way – The habit of doing what is best, rather than what is comfortable, to achieve a worthwhile outcome.” We’ve a long way to go on this journey, but our family as a whole and as individuals are seeing God at work to heal us and mature us for His glory through the work of good authors and the ministry of the Adora Community. We are thankful.

by Greg Harrod