Parents wrote – Zsófia and Károly

19 November 2016

Dear Pali!

It’s been almost a full month since we came home from Srí Lanka and it’s still a bit unbelievable that we did this…

Our son, Gábor is turning 13 soon, he started 7. grade in school. We contacted you towards the end of the previous school year, on a Wednesday night in May, amidst desperation and helplessness. Neither us nor his teachers could motivate him, eventhough we tried technically everything to lift him somehow from his idleness. It seemed nothing interests him besides watching TV and playing computer games, and even these things only captivated his attention rather than amuse or entertain him. It was impossible to have a collective activity with him, let it be a simple dinner. These problems have been following us since the beginning of school, varied by outbreaks and fights. Neither of us handled these stiuations well, we became more and more unpatient and helpless. By the end of May we practically escaped from each other, and Gábor shut us off completely.

We heard of you for the very first time in a radio interview. The conversation we were listening to together with Károly immediately caught our attention and we collected all the possible information about the program the same week. You’ve immediately replied to our first grim letter with the comforting remark that we should meet fast because you’re departing to Srí Lanka the day after tomorrow for 3 months… but we all know the rest. The point is that the meeting next day was so convincing and we were so desperate that two days later, on Friday, Gábor was sitting next to you on the way to Srí Lanka… I still get confused thinking of this, but as I didn’t have any doubt about our decision at the time, I still don’t have today.

You called us on the phone from Srí Lanka on Saturday. You started to send us the photos and reports about Gábor almost immediately. You became his mentor. We find this an especially lucky condition. In you, our kid met a person who is 100% compatible with him. We see it as a big help for him to being able to behave naturally and without inhibition, so the problems within the family became clear to you very soon. After a week, we’ve received photos of Gábor being so happy and loose as we unfortunately haven’t seen him for a very long time. We also talked a lot with Gábor on the phone and Skype. Previously, our conversations were just a few words, mere ’signs of life’, but now he opened up for us and started detailing his experiences in greater length. His experiences which allowed him to get to know of a different Gábor. He had to make himself accepted and accept others, children, mentors in a community. This supportive community was clearly a great influence for him from the very beginning. He had to accept the feedback about him and he also had to give feedback for the others around him. This really interested Gábor and as you described, you also had lot of conversations about a therapeutic environment. He started to learn english, started working in the mornings and of course the long line of enjoyments: the tuk-tuk, the scooter, the jetski, the wakeboard, the table tennis, volleyball, drumming, movie making, the Srí Lankan environment and people, and getting to know a different culture. These all had big impacts on him.

In the extremely speedy departure we made the agreement that Gábor is going for at least a month and we’ll see if he will wish or will be able to stay. He asked to stay for the full 3 months in the second week. Before the journey we agreed that we, the parents join the team and Gábor for the last two weeks of the trip. We’ve arrived to Srí Lanka on the 15th of August. We’ve arrived to a totally unknown, new world, and had the opportunity to hug our son for the first time after almost 3 months in the airport of Colombo. On the way to ’the base’ he was continously talking to us and already made so many activities for the whole family for the first day that couldn’t fit into three whole days.

We got to know the whole team. We recognised immediately that you collected people into your team who adjust to people through unbelievable sensitivity, accaptence and helpfulness. In his own individual way, everybody was working towards the one mutual goal: to help these children and young adults find their own inner values. We had the first group session olny about us, our family on the very first day. It was not easy for neither of us. During the time without Gábor we thought a lot about why we needed to travel all the way to Srí Lanka and how we got here… we obviously knew that it’s not only about the behaviour of our child. We are a family. But the fact that collectively the three of us, but mostly we, the parents shape our and our son’s lives – it really just came clear in Srí Lanka. All the other mentor’s feedbacks were amazingly big help for us, thanks to all of you! The nearly two weeks were very edifying, often painful but very enjoyable at the same time. We got to live through Gábor’s experiences. We got to understand that eventhough we received great amount of help, this is only the beginning of the road that we have to walk through together. When we arrived back to Hungary, Gábor asked if we think it’s possible for our family ’to get healed’. Than he answered his own question: it’s possible – I have to give in the least and you the most of the work. We agreed.

Since then, school have started. It was not started by a new Gábor, but a stronger, more confident prior Gábor in whom we have great joy and will continue to have in the future.

It’s not easy to ask for external help if somebody feels powerless with raising a child or living together with him/her. It’s getting tougher if one have tried many ways and none of it worked. Now we feel that we have found great support in you and your program. We are very thankful for your work and we wish you the best henceforth!

Zsófia and Károly