Because of its biblical emphasis and authoritative community at Shepherds Hill Academy (SHA); we see overwhelming evidence that teens are hungering for the kind of moral absolutes, relationships, and boundaries that are taught in Scripture.
With my experience in residential care, I believe Shepherds Hill Academy can provide you with insight on how an authoritative community could help your teen succeed in life.
The reality is… There are not many people that really understand the incredible impact today’s American culture is having on our kids.
In addition, many kids have never been required to accomplish much at home. Therefore, they don’t feel like a contributing member of the family.
In today’s culture, many teens find it hard to feel good about themselves since virtually nothing is required of them.
Understand an Authoritative Community
As a solution to this problem, SHA utilizes an authoritative community model to provide teens with an environment conducive for healing.
As I often quote, aside from the Bible, this concept was derived from a two year study conducted by the Commission on Children at Risk. This study produced findings that support the very biblical principles by which SHA was founded on.
If you are interested in reading further, you can pick up a copy of the book, “Hardwired to Connect–The New Scientific Case for Authoritative Communities.”
Select a Team
In addition, Shepherd’s Hill Academy comprises of a team of men and women that the Old Testament would call the Sons of Issachar.
The Sons of Issachar were men who understood the times and knew what to do.
The team leads and keeps the individuals accountable to a common moral standard.
In your home, you need to find a team like the Sons of Issachar that can help you hold a consistent moral standard for your family. This could involve people from your extended family, from the church, your neighborhood, or small groups.
Create Temporary Separation
During their time at SHA, teens build, maintain, and live in their own self-made communities in the woods.
Life in the woods reprieves teens from the “Sodom and Gomorrah” world they’ve come from.
It is a time of innocent pleasures and a time to reflect on the really important issues of life such as origin, meaning, morality, and destiny.
Life in the woods also allows a troubled teen to be part of a problem-solving effort that goes beyond his personal issues.
He becomes part of an authoritative community that works to create a living atmosphere palatable for the entire group. This challenge helps give a teen the tools, through practical experience, to begin solving the personal issues they are struggling with.
Though parents will not have the means to create a wilderness program like Shepherds Hill Academy, they would do well to seek out ways to implement similar strategies that will require more responsibilities from their teen. Consider household projects, community services, and chore assignments.
Conversation Starter: What are some practical steps you could apply to create an Authoritative Community Environment in your home?