August 20th, 2007



This is a description of real evil. It's the first-hand account of somebody who went to one of those behavior modification camps that have been in the news a bit lately.

And before I say what else I have to say, I want to make sure you all know that the kind of thing she experienced is evil and I do not condone it or support it in any way.

BUT, I worked at a "home for wayward girls" for several years, and I do have to say that there are exceptions. There ARE places that do not abuse children like that. Now I'm also going to say that I think even the place I worked at did some harm along with the good. I know of one girl who suffered quite a bit from being there. But when she turned 18, she was able to check herself out, they didn't try and keep her against her will. And although I have firsthand experience that discipline was strict there, and that a lot of the girls were miserable, "strict" meant punishments like extra homework or loss of such privileges as being able to shave and wear makeup, and miserable was usually because they were having to scrub their own toilets, and do their own homework, and couldn't manipulate the people around them to get out of it.

Raising awareness of the horrible abuses that can go on at these places is good, but I think people do also need to know that there are camps for teens that are not that bad. Honestly there are. I have a very close relationship with a young man who was sent to a behavioral camp, and it did him a lot of good. He wasn't a totally different person when he came back, but he had managed to win himself free of the very destructive behavior that caused him to be sent there, and I'm not sure he would have been able to if he'd stayed at home, surrounded by the same influences and caught in the same habits every day. I would consider sending a child of mine to such a place as a very last resort, and I would research the HELL out of where I sent him or her, but under the right circumstances I would do it.

But if you send your child off to boot camp, even a "good" one, because you just don't know how to deal with him or her? Shame on you! That sort of program is useful for kids who need breaking out of serious problems. As in hard drug abuse, not as in failing school or just being weird.

Further thoughts: Discussing this a bit with JJ, I realized a thing. A truly ethical behavioral modification camp would not simply accept any child whose parents cared to pay, and treat them all pretty much the same way. So I guess the place I worked at wasn't that great after all. Not, still, anything like the abuses described in the above link, but... not that ethical. *sigh* Now I get to feel guilty for working there.

Honk if you love Jesus.

I've alwayd thought though Christian themed bumper stickers and billboards tend to do as much harm to the cause of spreading the Good News as good. And it always seemed rather... demeaning, really. He's the Son of God, and suppsedly the sacred center of your spiritual life, and the best way you can think of to share that spirituality is to stick it on your car?

Here's a rather fascinating article that really discusses this idea in depth, and interestingly enough it uses Calvin and Hobbes as an example of why putting "Honk if you love Jesus" on a bumper sticker may be a bad idea.