Consider the “before” picture: A teenaged boy who sports the last vestiges of baby fat and the beginning of a very large chip on his shoulder. His age belies his experience. He’s been emotionally abandoned and physically abused. He’s learned not to trust and never to care. He’s fallen through the cracks so many times he’s gotten used to the ride.
It’s a composite sketch, and there are thousands like him across the country. But the trouble with troubled boys is this: there’s no one “after” picture, and there’s no one way to save them. But somewhere between killing them with kindness and berating them at boot camps, there must be another way. It’s just not clear whether the at-risk kid’s best shot at getting out of the woods is by heading into the wilderness.
(Hosted by John Donvan)
Daniel Robb, author of “Crossing the Water: Eighteen Months on an Island with Troubled Boys-A Teacher’s Memoir” and Dr. Gil Noam, professor at the Harvard School of Education.