Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch – A Work in Progress Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch began in a courthouse in the old West town of Tascosa. Beginnings, in most things, have a significant impact on journeys. The same holds for a boys’ ranch founded among the backdrop of cattle thieves and gunslingers. Our history has carried with it many traditional beliefs which have strengthened our mission and, at other times, weakened it. These established ideas included each staff member utilizing his/her own personal approach to childrearing, labeling children as sick or broken, and a heavy dosing of behavior modification. Over the past 75 years, we have grown from housing a mere 9 wayward boys to a capacity of almost 300 boys and girls, aging from pre-school to seniors. During this time we have shifted our beliefs from the more traditional to transformational. In tandem with this trend has been our progression as a trauma aware facility. Although we have been relationally focused for several years, just recently we began an intense journey of learning about how relationships and experiences impact brain development. Pioneers in the field who have guided our thinking include Dr. Karyn Purvis of Texas Christian University’s Institute of Childhood … Continue reading
We have found that the use of illusions are often helpful to illustrate various complex ideas about how the brain functions. Look at the picture. What happens? This is a picture of half of a human face. Your brain quickly reacts to this incomplete pattern by turning the face sideways – which, to it, makes more sense. To continue looking at the half face photo would mean the brain is not allowed to do its work of completing the pattern. Sometimes the brain is so anxious to make sense of the world around it, it will add or subtract information in order to satisfy this desire to predict thereby – better ensuring its continued existence. Because our brain’s primary directive is to keep us alive, many of its functions underscore this drive. In order to stay alive, it is helpful to be able to anticipate what is going to happen next. Our brains are constantly and continuously trying to predict what will happen, next words, next actions, in an attempt to be prepared in a response. A extension of this is the need to complete patterns.