Is my son headed for jail?

Many people ask me what are the common denominators of the young men who come to the Paul Anderson Youth Home (PAYH). What they are really asking is what today’s young men are like who have “crossed the line” and have to come to a place like ours in order to be rehabilitated. In other words, “Things are bad enough in our homes now…so how much worse could it get and what does that look like?”

The single most common denominator is that close to 75% of our boys come from broken or dysfunctional families and have no strong father figure to consistently oversee discipline. It has always been our belief that discipline works best when it is carried out by the father or a father figure. God created mothers to be nurturers. When a single mother is also forced to be the disciplinarian, the child doubly suffers. He is denied both a disciplinarian father AND a nurturing mother.

The second most common denominator in a PAYH young man is that he has done something either against what the family can or will accept, or he has broken the law. Many of our boys get into problems with drugs and the wrong crowd. Some rebel against their families and leave home, choosing to live on the streets. Sometimes their parents kick them out. When on their own, they invariably get in trouble with the law, because they have resorted to stealing, armed robbery, or breaking and entering.

Over the years the number of applications has more than doubled, which tells me that there is a desperate need for someone to rehabilitate America’s young men. For every young man we accept, there are many that we do not. That is because we only work with 18 to 20 at a time. We do not view ourselves as an “institution.” We are a family. Our goal is to re-create something these boys, by and large, have missed…a small, intact family with a strong mother and father figure who love them and who will be there for them, day in and day out.

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