CHAD IS HOME CELEBRATION:
Friday, August 2nd. 7:00 p.m. Shoal Creek Community Church (6816 S. Church Road, Pleasant Valley, MO 64068)
I am attending a memorial service this Friday evening, or as his family lovingly states it, “A Celebration of Life”. It is service I never expected to attend; it is for one of My Kids. One of the concepts I learned during my teaching career was that most of My Kids were enrolled in my classes, but some of them were not. Some of My Kids came from ‘organic’ relationships I built with them in the hallways, in the cafeteria, through extra-curricular activities, through friends of my students, kids who would hang out in my room before or after school, the list can go on and on… Part of being an effective Teen Mentor is being available for connections that teens need and being aware of the teens who need them, even if they are not ‘officially assigned’ to you.
But the reality of being one of “My Kids” is that when you are one of “mine”, you are one of “mine forever”… My kids know this reality; they accept this reality. It may sound like a sinister or presumptuous opinion; however, the reality is that it is all a matter of presentation and belief. This is what I present to My Kids, and this is what I believe about My Kids. I must follow through with that declaration through multiple steps. First of all, when I would take attendance, if I noticed any child missing, I immediately asked, “Where is My _____? It may seem silly, but I have had parents during P/T conferences mention how special that made their child feel, even if I were not asking after their child, because I wanted to know where “MY” whomever was and why they were not in MY classroom. Secondly, I made it clear that being in my classroom was paramount, not because I had oh-so-much to teach them, but because I wanted to make sure all of my kids were safe, healthy and making positive decisions that would help their lives move forward.
Finally, and most importantly, ALL of my kids ARE precious gifts to our world. I have to believe that, and I must share that belief with any adults who come into contact with those teens. This goes back to the concept of “unconditional support”. Showing (and really believing) in unconditional support is extremely powerful, but power is not the reason to pursue the concept. You have to really believe in your kiddo, so supporting him/her will not seem like any kind of sacrifice or burden.
This is true for Chad, and this is true for the host of My Kids who will attend his Celebration of Life on Friday evening. My responsibility is to be there for ALL of My Kids. Yes, I need to be there for Chad, but I also need to be there for ALL of My Kids who will be there experiencing grief, sadness, despair and who will need hope, hugs, support and love during this difficult time. Grace and Peace.