It is a good thing that I'm leaving my job. My kids need me at home, I need to be with my kids at this stage of their development in order to feel good about the job I am doing as a parent. Leaving the job is a good thing.
But it breaks my heart to think about leaving some of the kids I've worked with. Chances are I won't see them again once I'm done and this makes me weep. The question arises, will my replacement be able to love them as much as I have?
You see, I've come to understand that my gift is understanding kids. Some people are good with computers, some can juggle, I can do this. Most adults lose this ability when they cease to be children themselves but for some reason, I've kept it. I'm good at connecting with kids. I know this isn't a totally unique thing but it's rare enough that I worry that the next person who comes along won't have it and these kids will drift away from the church and never know it's balancing influence as they go through the tight wire act that is modern adolescents.
I worry that my replacement will not see what a good heart Johnny has underneath all his baby macho bravado. I worry that they won't recognize the sweet nature that lies beneath some gut wrenching insecurity in Stephany. I fear they won't notice what a clear, sweet voice Jose has along with a giving heart.
Bearing with the stereotypical trappings of childhood, my kids can be obnoxious, annoying, hyper active, loud and numerous other silly things that kids do. But these things are not who they are. Each one of them is this passionate little ball of potential that just gets ground to mush in school everyday. The kids work and work but no one is there to really tell them what lovable and fascinating people they are. These kids are the children of immigrant parents who work all the time and do the best they can but Church has become this special thing because it is so different from home and school. Here, they hear about how special they are and how much they are loved by a compassionate and forgiving God. They believe this message when it's coming from me because they can see that I love them and see that sweet child underneath the obnoxious tween. If someone were there just keeping the peace and telling the story, I don't think they'd buy it.
My own children will always be my first priority, always. But it is difficult to leave knowing that they won't understand why and no amount of explaining will make it clear to them. They will think I didn't enjoy my time with them, or that I didn't like them enough to stay. Like I said, this breaks my heart.