Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children

James Browning

stories from the book
by James V. Browning

BRT: A Miracle Big Enough for Bobby 'and' Parents!

Janet Johnson

My heart felt saddened and heavy with pain as my husband and I walked Bobby to the cottage he was to live in for at least one year.  Boys Ranch Town was a huge and blind step of faith for us to take. The rebellion that was increasing steadily in our son had lunged us into many different tangents, desperate for HELP!

In first grade Bobby kicked his 6’3” principal in the shin. He was expelled twice that year. Very few days went by without my getting a call from the principal saying Bobby was getting another paddling. We were fortunate for the wonderful teachers Bobby had. They truly used all their skills and prayers in trying to work with him. All were reduced to tears at the frustration they felt in their attempts.

Bobby was hyperactive, so I read all I could on the subject. After a year of allergy testing and a strict diet and about $5,000 spent, we saw little change. Weldon and I asked our pastor to counsel Bobby and we saw no positive difference after a long period of weekly visits. Bobby’s principal and a social worker arranged for a psychiatrist and an M.D. at Children’s Hospital to check Bobby. After many tests they both found no problems.

Then the school put Bobby in a class for emotionally disturbed children and started him in weekly counseling appointments. Within a few weeks his grades bottomed out and really negative behaviors started in new areas. Our hearts were breaking at the confusion we saw in his eyes. Our next trial-in-error was home schooling. We got all the legal rules for home schooling in Oklahoma.

Four years later my husband had a total hip joint replaced and had to be re-trained for a new job (with less than half his old income). Now my working was a have-to condition. That year Bobby saw a Christian counselor every other week. During the same period of time, Bobby was expelled from three private Christian schools. Our son’s counselor then told us about Boys Ranch Town. He thought BRT could help Bobby since his main problem was rebellion. Ouch! We felt as if we had been stabbed in the heart. The knife handle was failure as parents, the blade pointed guilt.

The first week at the Ranch Bobby was testing his limits, and hit his housefather. We thank God for each staff person at the Ranch. They consistently and patiently help troubled boys learn acceptable behavior.

Family meetings at BRT would thrill my soul and faith. A whole team of lovingly concerned, trained, skilled and experienced staff members and house parents met with us. They would contribute supportive prayers, ideas and suggestions for positive ways to encourage our son’s improving behavior patterns at school, home and ranch.

The parenting classes were great! We saw in our book that we were doing almost each of the ways listed, to provoke rebellion in a child. We found new ways to discipline that would help develop responsibility with good behavior choices. It was hard to change our old parenting reflexes. Our efforts were well-repaid by the changes and communications opening up in our lives.

The beginning school year at BRT was stormy for Bobby. Two Fs and the rest Ds for grades. He was suspended several times. The second year at the Ranch his grades started out low. With tutors helping, he brought all of them up to Cs, Bs and As. The schools Air Force ROTC did worlds for Bobby’s self-esteem. He saw Edmond North as “the” perfect school and awesome Edmond First as his home church. Bobby appreciated enthusiastically the Ranch animal programs: raising and showing a calf, the horse program to learn care giving, and riding skills, and barrel racing at the Fair.

January 13th, the same year, Weldon had surgery to replace his plastic hip joint with a new stainless steel joint. A few months later, my husband started a battle with throat and tongue cancer. The day we were presented the dark news, one of the many custom-designed miracles from BRT occurred. (We were stunned, shaken and weak from the malignant lab report.) The phone rang with Mr. Whitekiller, Assistant Administrator of BRT, calling to see if he could come right over to just visit us. Truly an appointment divinely set! He arrived, listened to our fears and needs, then covered us in a prayer that pulled courage, faith and peace into our hearts and minds.

Several BRT staff were a comforting support to me as they waited at the hospital during several of Weldon’s surgeries. This procedure for the cancer was a radical bi-section on the left side of his neck.

We can’t wait until we get to heaven to thank BRT and supporters of Baptist ministries for children, so thank you now for giving to the Lord! We are lives you have changed, touched, encouraged, rescued and blessed!

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