A big part of character education is taking to heart the manta "do the right thing." For troubled teens (and the rest of us, too) the right thing is usually the harder thing. Here it's finishing homework instead of playing Frisbee. Helping someone who's having a hard time instead of curling up with a good book. Getting up and clearing the table instead of being distracted by the antics of friends. The effort it takes to do the right thing can be anything from insignificant to agonizing. "Obeying God is disobeying ourselves," wrote Melville.
This is a difficult concept to sell to most troubled teens. Learning to obey even when it's uncomfortable, and to respect rules whether or not we agree with them are critical life lessons. In the safe environment of a therapeutic boarding school, students can acquire a sense of what is right, build the self-discipline to do it, and experience the consequences when they don't. Better here than "out there." Better now than later.