Life at Adora

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

Looking Through Our Window

By | Life at Adora | No Comments

We are busy at Adora. We carefully plan each day for healing, maturing, and learning. What does that look like? Take a look through the window into our day!

8:30     We all need food in the morning—and maybe a little caffeine for the adults! A healthy breakfast evens out our brain chemistry and gets us moving. We also clean our rooms and put our breakfast mess away.

9:00     One of our favorite times of the day is Morning Activities. We swim, play basketball, run, walk dogs, and even line dance for an entire hour! Physical activity also evens out brain chemistry. It may seem like a wasted hour, but that hour settles us in a way that allows for concentration during the rest of the day.

10:00   Morning Meeting is a way for us to come together in our living room for a few minutes each day. It has become a time of depth—a safe place to voice serious thoughts. Some days we take time to remember our “One Thing” (each of us, adult and child, has “One Thing” that we are working on to improve). Other days we tell jokes and laugh. A lot. We watch short video’s (We love The Skit Guys. Check them out.) We have devotionals. We talk about issues in our community. We even talk about what cuss words actually mean! It is safe to ask questions and it is safe to answer questions. It is also safe to just listen quietly.

10:30   After a snack, academics take the main stage. Together we learn, mature, and heal. Today we continue a project on Integrity. Learners have listened to the Audible book of To Kill A Mockingbird and watched the movie version with Gregory Peck. Today includes watching a documentary on the life of Harper Lee, a student led discussion of book, movie, and documentary during lunch, learner reading of The Crucible (can you believe they were eager to get their part and read the play?), a trip to the library, and a discussion of selected research projects continued during the dinner hour.

12:30   Lunch includes continuing discussion from morning learning or discussion cards that lead us to real conversation requiring thoughtful consideration and a willingness to challenge and be challenged. We learn to listen and share our thoughts respectfully with a deep desire to understand and be understood.  We all work together after lunch to tidy the house and do the dishes.

4:00     The formal academic day ends, but learning continues. Learners get a snack, pursue physical activities, curl up with books, examine their Pokémon strategy, struggle with math problems, and laugh together moment by moment. Staff are actively involved with learners because relationships and connection are key to healing from trauma.

6:30     After help from both learners and adults, we gather for dinner. Needs are met—food, drink, and connection around the table. Again we do dishes and tidy the house after a delicious meal.

7:30     The evening is filled with games, swimming, studying, and relaxing. All involve opportunities to build trusting relationships together.

8:45     We are almost always in the middle of a book. Audible is one of our best friends. We Zentangle, sketch, and listen together. Recent books include To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee, Getting Naked by Patrick Lencioni, and Daring Greatly by Brene’ Brown.

9:45     Time for a snack, brushing of teeth, and settling into bed. A calm period at the end of the day is imperative for kids who struggle with bad dreams. We set a tone of safety and calm as everyone makes their way to their rooms for the night.

10:00   We need good rest to be ready for another busy day. Sometimes it’s not actually lights out because kids are scared of the dark. A dim lamp may stay on. We do our best to meet the needs of each student at bed time.

Days are strategically busy at Adora. We work carefully to build trusting relationships, create opportunities for healing, and learn together.

Don’t stay outside looking in. Come join us!


by Gail Prutow