Respect, as the great “they” say, must be earned. Usually this adage is repeated in reference to respecting one’s elders. What no one talks about, or perhaps even thinks about, is how to earn self-respect. How can a struggling young man earn the respect of others when he has not figured out how to earn his own respect?
The simplest answer is also the best answer, and in this case, has been there all along: the environment. In order to gain independence, in order to recover from what our society labels “failure to launch,” troubled young men really require a connection to the environment. Agricultural therapy provides experiential education in this regard. Our world is a better place, and we are better individuals, when we have a firsthand grasp of where our food comes from and how its acquisition affects our surroundings.
Learning to do this in the best way possible in turn earns that magical success booster, self-respect, and in turn welcomes respect from others. Knowledge, experience, and work ethic all combine to create a successful evolution from delayed adolescent into prosperous adult.