Noam Saul and I were both in kindergarten, just starting our elementary school careers on September 11, 2001. The difference is that I was at home with my mother in rural Indiana that morning and Noam was at Public School 234 in New York City, less than 500 yards from the World Trade Center. He saw the plane hit the building, saw bodies falling from the tower, and ran through the rubble and ash.
Wouldn’t you think that there would be a rather profound difference in how Noam and I dealt with this tragedy? Well, the difference isn’t as drastic as you would think. Noam needed a little time to process, but moved on without lasting trauma. How is that possible?
According to Dr. Van Der Kolk, author of The Body Keeps the Score, there was one major factor that enabled Noam to heal from the trauma of that fateful day. Noam’s loving, nurturing father hadn’t yet left the school building after dropping Noam in his classroom. When the plane struck the tower, Noam was given back to his father and, together, they ran through the streets back to the safety of their home.
So why did this make such a difference? Well, there are two reasons. One is that Noam was able to run. He didn’t sit paralyzed in the corner of his classroom, waiting for rescue. He was able to exercise his autonomy and run from the danger. Not everyone is given this chance in a potentially traumatizing situation and this made a huge difference.
But the other thing that changed Noam’s experience was the fact that he was with his father, who he trusted to take care of him. His father’s presence, as they ran through the streets, gave him the security he needed. They made it away from the burning building to the safety of their home.
So what would have happened to Noam if he had to wait, shivering in fear in his unfamiliar new classroom while he waited for rescue? Or, more profoundly, what if his father had been as scary as that burning building? What if his home was just as frightening as the smoke and ash?
That is the reality that so many children live with. I could tell you story after story. Children from hard places experience one frightening event after another with no safe adult to protect them. Their brains have to literally change to survive the chaos, creating patterns that are not helpful when trying to function in everyday life.
Children are meant to be cared for. Studies show that having just one safe adult can reduce the lasting effects of trauma substantially.
That is why we’re so passionate about our amazing partners. They are making such a huge impact for these children by breaking the cycle of trauma and providing safe, nurturing homes for hurting children!
That’s also why we are so grateful that our house parents introduce these children to the everlasting love of their Heavenly Father. He will always be a safe refuge and in the end, He will conquer all evil and bring them home to Him.
Thank you so much for all you do for our partners. They are deeply appreciative and I know it matters deeply to their Heavenly Father as well. God bless you with a great month!
As you pray for The Boaz Project this month, please remember to:
- Lift before the throne all of our caregivers who make tremendous sacrifices in order to be the safe, nurturing adults the children in their care desperately need. Ask God to generously pour strength and wisdom on each one.
- Thank God for protection from Covid over all of our homes. We are so grateful cases have been limited.
- Ask God to continue to provide all the resources necessary to care for the children in The Boaz Project’s care, especially the funds needed to educate all of them and help them break the cycle of poverty.
Prayer; thank you for this reminder. Lord we pray you lead all our hearts to be sensitive to your Spirit to know who how and when you have an opportunity for us to be a “father, mother, mentor, friend” to one who feels alone.