Adults Need to Grow Too

A Rather Unexpected Reading List

By | Adults Need to Grow Too, Life at Adora, Trauma Healing Based Learning, What works | No Comments

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

How to Shine Brightly–Even When it’s Scary

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I decided recently to shave my head. Since I’ve been follicley challenged for many years, that may not seem like a big deal. But, over the past few weeks as I considered taking the step from cutting my hair using the shortest guard on my clippers to shaving it off with a razor, the anxiety within me continued to grow. “What’s the big deal?” I kept telling myself. “It’s a difference of less than an eighth of an inch of hair and very sparsely populated hair at that.” I began to realize that somehow those tiny pieces of hair provided me with a level of security and comfort.

“Will I look like some handsome bald celebrity or more like Mike Myers’ or Dr. Evil? What will those people who don’t realize that their playful bald jokes often stir up the insecurity within me have to say now?” All sorts of questions and nerve-racking feelings like these ran through my mind as I contemplated whether I could actually take this step.

So, I talked to other men who look good with their shiny scalps and began working out the practical details. What’s the best way to shave my head? How long does it take? How often do you shave? What razor should I use?

My boys’ barber who is also a firefighter and looks good without a bit of hair on his head gave me some of the best advice: “Use a good razor and take it slow” he told me as he recounted how he took out a big chunk of scalp when he was shaving at the fire station and the fire alarm went off. (I definitely committed that tip to memory.)

But, the technical challenge of shaving my head wasn’t really the issue. My fear of being vulnerable and, ultimately, my lack of courage to try something new and possibly fail were the real problems. And because of that, I knew that it was important for me to shave my head even though it really scared me.

So, I turned to someone I trust completely. My wife. I needed her to reassure me of what I knew intellectually to be true but just wasn’t feeling emotionally. She told me that I really wouldn’t look much different than I do after I cut my hair with clippers and that my hair would grow back in a few days anyway if I didn’t like it. She told me she was sorry that some people might have comments that could hurt my feelings. And, she told me without even saying the words that she would love me just the same with or without any hair on my head.

Now after living with my new bald look for a while, I like it. And, more importantly, I know that taking what was then a scary step for me was worth the anxiety I felt in facing and overcoming my fears, not for the look but for the personal growth that it required in me. I knew that I had to live the message that we tell the kids at Adora. “Do the hard thing. You can do it even though it’s hard and scary. What’s the worst that can happen? You are safe here. We will love you even if you fail. You aren’t perfect and we don’t expect you to be. We accept you as you are.”

I remember watching our first Demonstration of Growth and Learning at Adora. Most of the kids were wearing a hoodie or a jacket while they presented what they had learned during the trimester. The Adora team explained to me and my wife that the jackets make the kids feel safer. This thin layer of fabric, like my thin layer of hair, somehow provided comfort and security and removing it while presenting to a group of people they knew they could trust was still frightening to them. Without their jackets, they felt vulnerable and afraid. I didn’t get it then as much as I do now. I better understand now that even though their minds may tell them that at Adora they are surrounded by teachers and other students who love them, their traumatic experiences of the past and their current emotions are real and powerful and are making them afraid and insecure.

I so appreciate how the Adora team comes alongside these kids from hard places to help them grow and mature just as my wife came alongside me and supported me when I lacked the courage to be vulnerable and try something new. I’m confident that just as God is slowly and steadily changing this bald, insecure, middle-aged man to make me a more confident and courageous risk taker through the support of the loved ones in my life, He is also using the well-trained staff at Adora to heal these young minds and hearts from the challenges resulting from the trauma in their pasts and preparing them for exciting futures that He has planned for them. May He give them the strength to be courageous and vulnerable so their gifts and abilities-He has given them-shine as brightly as the sun off my now cleanly-shaven head.

Identity Idol

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I realized something this past week.

I realized that I was letting my story be my identity, my idol.

Not long ago, I prepared my life map—my story from birth to the present—to share with some friends who are a part of a mentoring group. I knew pieces of it were going to require a lot of vulnerability.

I expected the sharing of those hardships in my life to bring release. I expected that I would have time to glow over the amazing opportunities that God allowed me to have.

Instead, in my sharing, I spent too much time building up to the hardship that my family experienced. It was a time of trauma for me, and I found myself reliving it in the moment of the telling. I’ve worked through this pain before and the toll of sharing surprised me.

As I was speaking, wishing that I had taken time to practice and make better connections, I gave in to the little voice inside my head. The voice told me that I was betraying my family by sharing that story. The voice told me that I was stupid for not having taken time to practice. It told me that I was not making sense. That I was leaving out pieces that were vital for the protection of my heart and of my family. That I took too much time and shared too much about one thing when I could have shared so many other amazing things God had done.

I was the last one to share. Everyone was tired from the weekend of vulnerability.  But still, I expected more . . . sympathy.


I struggled emotionally until my husband spoke truth to me gently. He said, “I don’t think this is as big as you are making it.” I was confused. What did he mean? This was such a hard time and I know that God has used what I learned there. It’s part of me.

“Think of the 5 most important events in your life. If I am correct, this one does not even make the top 5,” he said.

He was right.

This hard time in my life, a part of my story, is not the whole story. It is not the theme of my story. It’s not even a majority of my story.

Am I able to connect with others because I have experienced hardships of my own? Yes.

Does it allow me to share how God has grown me, provided for me, blessed me through time I’d never have wished on anyone? Yes.

Does it define me?


My identity is in Christ Jesus.

And then I think on Romans 8:35-39.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

My identity of the victim is an idol.

I am not a victim!

Shame over a hard piece of my story has no power over me.

In Christ, I am more than a conqueror!

by Renee Kim