Dear Pali and Gergő!
We met for the first time in 2013.
We were absolutely desperate about our son Roland, whose life – from our view – was complete failure: the previous semester he was failing from 5 subjects and from 3 in the next semester. But the biggest problem was his behaviour towards me: there haven’t passed a day without him hurting me both through words or in acts for a year. Doors slamming, furnitures hit with fist, and even I wasn’t spared. The reasons were often trumped-up: his dad got croissant instead of bagels, I gave him a bad look or asked if he studied that day or got packed for the next. The answer was hellish. Sometimes there was physical pain, but mostly psychical which was very hard on the family. We didn’t want family vacations because we knew there’ll be only trouble and shame.
Our younger son – who is sruggling an uncurable genetic disorder – was also victim to the tense situations, he cried often and Roland hurt and humiliated him also.
I knew it was not good for Roland also, but we just couldn’t change it, we couldn’t bring out ’the better soul’ from Roland. I got to the point that I couldn’t say anything good about my 14 years old son.
Then the possibility came: Roland could travel to Srí Lanka. The first meeting with you was life-changing: you recognised the problem and knew Roland can and is able to change only after a few minutes worlth of conversation. You handled the situation professionaly from the very first meeting. You paid attention to him and knew he was a ’success story’.
After our second meeting, Roland said ’Mom, Pali is going to be my best friend until the day I die’.
It was a remark worth of thinking together with all the other conversations with Gergő before we departed to Srí Lanka. There was and still is some ’clouts in the head’, confrontations with our own faults – each of them rightful and constructive.
Roland was very excited about the trip. He was satisfied with the mentor who was set out for him, and towards whom we also gained confidence after two meetings before the trip.
Roland took off to Srí Lanka the 6th of November. Flying made a really deep impression on him – he wants to become a steward since then.
In the beginning we contacted frequently through Skype, we talked more than in the previous five years all together. He fell in love with Srí Lanka, the people, the ocean – he became an expert of the island. He had so many adventures! Surfing, the life on the ocean shore, the elephant-orphanage, the tea plantations… and I could go on. The world opened up.
What really caught my attention from the very beginning was that you’ve only seen the good in Roland. How skillful, versatile, engaging, thoughtful and sensitive he is, and how great it is to have him with you as he brings fun and happiness to the group. I didn’t think of him like that, and it made me think, why it was not possible or how I didn’t want to see him like that?
Roland was cheerful all the time, gained enthusiasm for studying, reading.
He got a new mentor before Christmas. Roland was very happy about Gergő and they developed a beautiful tie which was bulit on trust, empathy and plenty of mutual adventures.
Gergő too have only seen the good, the precious in Roland. We talked to him on Skype several times also and he always complimented on my son. You’ve suggested us – and it was a useful suggestion – to talk to Roland every 7-10 days so he can fit in the group better still.
Ricsi was also with you in January. As far as I know, he also came to like Roland, they travelled across the island together, Roland as the tour guide.
Eventhough I was afraid 3 months would be too much and Roland would get homesick, the time went by very rapidly, and after coming home he wished he could have stayed another two months!
He got home at the end of January. When I saw the plane landing, I felt relief, but then I got frightened. I was happy that he got home safely, but I was also frightened, what will he be like?
A tan, awed young adult got off the plane, who was full of love towards me. Even his smile is different, there is a new quality of calmness in it. He admits his mistakes and apologizes right away – and he hasn’t hurt me one time.
He hugs me 5-6 times every day and tells me he loves me. Not one day passes without him mentioning Srí Lanka and telling me about his wish to return to the island with me so he can show me what he has seen. Money is an issue here, but it would definately be great to see what he experienced during his 3 months.
Therapy is still being held which is of great necessity, primarily from the family’s point of view, since as Gergő explained to us, Roland’s behaviour is not the reason but the symptom of the problem. We also have to change as parents, we have to ’study’ each other again. But I know that in Roland’s and our lives Srí Lanka is the beginning of great change.
Thank you for the opportunity, the confidence, the helpfulness, the patience and the plenty of love that Roland got and continues to get from you.
(During shool year the mentors are teachers with whom Roland studied regularly. After his return home he hasn’t failed any of his classes and reached a 3,7 average.)