It is wonderful when I can be part of the real work of the Ranch…the work that happens face to face, one-on-one with the children. All of my job (almost) is a blessing, but watching the kids succeed in real-time is what makes every other challenge and hoop we jump through make sense.
Just yesterday I spent an hour in Mr. Hvidston’s science class. He was teaching physical science and the difference between weight and mass. As they worked through the materials—interspersed appropriately with short conversations about who will triumph in the weekend’s NFL match-ups—Mr. Hvidston used an interesting phrase I had not heard before…“I will tell you where to look, but not what to see.”
He was telling the kids that the answer was in the materials he was directing them to, but they would have to do the work to find it. As I think about that wonderful admonition, it strikes me that it applies across so many facets of my life. It also applies so aptly to what people see when they look at the Ranch. First, I think about the kids themselves. Lots of people have “looked” at them over their lives. At first look, our kids can appear beaten down, defiant, different, or angry. We choose to see the real story—that they are God’s treasures, with gifts and laughter and kindness in them.
Second, I think about our staff. At the Ranch, we have teachers and therapists and youth care workers and support staff and on and on—people doing their jobs. But, if you really look, you’ll see these folks as superheroes and healers.
Third, I think about our donors. At first glance, it’s easy to take for granted those who practice charity. After all, everyone should give. But, when you really see, Ranch donors truly believe in the beauty and worth of every child and in a God that is speaking of these children when He tells us, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.” (Proverbs 3:27)
Fourth, I think about our facilities. At first look, you see well-kept buildings, lovely grounds, good schools, and beautiful chapels. When you really see, it is the hope and growth and healing that happens in those buildings that stands out.
And most importantly, I think about God. At first look, God can appear pretty demanding. Do this, don’t do this. Think about this, not that. Behave this way, not that. But, when you really see and hear Christ’s words and the images of Him crucified and risen, you see a God of pure love who sacrificed Himself and defeated death for us.
Where will you look, and what will you see?
Joy Ryan, President/CEO
Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch