Ahhh summer. In ministry it’s filled with camps, trips and exhaustion. In the world of my children it’s filled with more flexibility, days at the beach, and of course camps. School starts for us in a week or so. While I am looking forward to a “schedule” again, this time of year makes me feel more inadequate than every other time of the year combined. As I read articles on how to “engage” us parents this Fall, I thought I would throw out some helpful hints from the Mom of three in JH and one in college.
Give Me Time(And A Little Grace Too)
I am so thankful that you have calendars, planning and notices for me. If you are offering “vision casting,” for the year even better. While you are doing this, I am trying to get my feet under me as we return to the Fall and all that means. Everyday involves pick up from soccer practice, football, and guitar lessons on top of school projects that are broken into “teams,” staying on top of homework being finished, the house not falling apart, dinner being made and eaten, and the “regular” stuff that never goes away. (I didn’t even mention we are in full time ministry too.) I am getting voice and e-mails along with texts from the school daily about another “need to know.” I have had 400 papers shoved in front of me in the first 3 days of school. I care, I am overwhelmed by re acclimating to a schedule that I don’t control.
Don’t Ask Me For Money
For three “at home:”
School Supplies: $400 (Why does every teacher require a “special” binder?”) Uniforms/School Clothes: $600 (This is with two pairs of pants and 3 shirts each.) Shoes: AT LEAST $50 a pair if not more. (Once they hit “grown up” sizes all bets were off.) Sports Fees: $100 – $300 per sport (This does not include the “extra” money I am asked/required to bring for raffles, team snacks, new cleats and pictures.) School Field Trips: $50- $60 per kid (Thanks for starting the year off “right.”) The youth pastor not immediately asking for a deposit for the “Fall Retreat:” Priceless. ( Please note “Only $150 per kid” is actually $450 for some of us BEFORE we ask which child wants to “sit this one out.”) I have not even factored in the gas it takes to drive my children all over or regular “life expenses.” It’s not that I “don’t care,” I can’t give what I don’t have, at this point this includes time (see above.) Notice I didn’t even touch the college student…
Before You Judge
I admit it, we can be “that parent.” I am trying desperately to keep up with everything. It’s not fair, but the 15 different ways you communicate with me are helpful. AND I KNOW BETTER!! If you have single parents, divorced parents, kids in Foster Care, ask before you decide “the parent has just checked out” My husband and I partner together in everything, plus I am always trying to push closer to Jesus. AND I feel like I am an abject failure most of the time. We probably won’t offer it up, but if you genuinely ask, “What can I do to help?” we might not take you up the offer. However, just offering makes it better.
In the end I am not asking for you to make a “special exception” for my child. I am just reminding you that the unfortunate truth is youth group does not have the luxury of getting my single focus. We need you as a partner with us on this crazy journey with our kids. My children need you as another Christ focused role model in their lives.
If you just give me until November I will have the Fall figured out, just in time to start looking at Basketball, Cheer and Christmas- Oh and the Spring Retreat and next summer’s missions trip