It’s Real Out Here!

Car driving down a forest roadRecently I was strolling across Boys and Girls Homes campus and I bumped into one of our recent graduates. He left our campus in late June to attend college and this was late July. This young man had come to us with a large attitude and passive defiance to authority.

Over the two years on our campus he had grown, matured, found purpose and created a new vision for his future. He became a resident leader on our campus, speaking to visiting groups and mentoring younger residents.

As I came near, he recognized me, called my name and I greeted him with great anticipation of what I might hear about his preparation for college and full independence. I expected him to tell me how being on his own was exciting, fun, and how great it is to finally be his own man. He was always anxious to turn 18, graduate, and be out of here.

So I asked, “How are things going for you now that you graduated?”

He took a deep breath, exhaled and replied, “Oh man, it is real out here!!”

I said, “Real out here?” with a quizzical look on my face.

He goes on, “Yeah, it’s real out here…like I am really on my own. I really have to fix my own meals. I really have to buy my own gas. I really have to find a place to live. I really have to make my own decisions…its REAL!”

He went on, “I know my time is over at Boys and Girls Homes, but I kinda wish I was back where everything is more structured, people tell me what I need to do and it’s easier to get by day-to-day. I had it so good and didn’t know it.”

I smiled and said, “You will figure it out; you’re a really smart guy.”

He goes on,” Yeah I know. I had good people that taught me what I needed, but I did not realize how real it would be.”

 As I tried to talk to him further he said, “I am sorry but I have three more stops, I need gas and I need to get back to my apartment by tonight.”

He quickly loaded the last of his stuff in the car and off he went, anxious but prepared…Out to the Real.

Mike Garrell is the Director of Development for Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina.

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