This morning I watched my kids graduate.? Ok, they don’t actually graduate until this week, but for all intents and purposes they graduated.? (Ok, I didn’t actually go to service and watch because I’m not sure I could have made it through without bawing like a little girl.)? They are done with school and are going on to bigger and better things.? It is the trouble with being the leader for high school youth group.
The trusty husband and I have been leading high school youth groups for close to 10 years now.? We’ve seen many a youth graduate from high school.? I tear up years down the road when I see them in line for communion at church and they have their new spouse and possibly a baby.? It reinforces my growing older.? The worst is seeing a girl that I taught for Vacation Bible School when she was 3 years old now graduating (different church).
People look at us funny when we say we work with high schoolers.? Most think we are nuts.? Why in the world would anyone want to voluntarily spend so much time with teenagers?? If you ask me teenagers are fantastic.? And I have worked with some pretty gifted ones.
I do it because I love to watch them grow into adults.? The 4 years of high school changes a person.? They seem so young and innocent when they start out as freshmen and we provide them with stable role models that they can rely on.? They come to us with all kinds of issues and we listen as an objective third party.? We aren’t parents, pastors or family.? We are like friends that they look up to.? From them we get the opportunity to be kids ourselves.
We’ve taken kids to numerous youth events, to Seattle, to pumpkin patches, on scavenger hunts and eaten our weight in pizza.? The famous chicken story comes from a youth group night.? I love it and I love them.
Today we honored our high school graduates and I was asked if I would put on the lunch.? I did this last year, but was unable to attend due to a slight glitch (*cough* husband screwed up *cough*) in flight arrangements when we returned from Alaska.? Imagine my delight when I was able to be there to honor these fine young women and our lone guy.
Four of them are a little extra special to me.? Not all of the high schoolers at our church participate in youth group.? Some are too busy and some just elect not to be involved.? But I’ve had 4 kids the past 4 years that have touched my heart and I am so proud of them.? The are all going on to do amazing things.? Sonja, Kelsi, Rachel and Roger, I will miss you guys.? I am a better person for having you in my life.