Today is day 180 of the school year, the last day of the year. It is the day that everyone has been counting down to. Next week there will be no more early arrivals, no more after school. Instead we will be heading full steam in to summer camp. Today is the last day youth staff at the Y will wear the red staff shirts. Next Monday with the start of summer camp we make the switch to the new blue shirts. It is crazy to think that 180 days have already gone by. So many thoughts run through my head. Where did they all go? Did I make the most of them? Man I can’t wait for summer camp to start. There are some kids I am really going to miss. There are some I won’t miss as much (let’s be honest haha). What kind of impact did I have on these kids lives?
This morning I worked the last day of Early Arrivals at Wiley Elementary. The first kid to show up was not a kid who was normally dropped off first. As his mom signed him in she explained that he begged her to be the first kid today. I’m not a parent, but I imagine most parents don’t have their kids begging them to take them to school early. She told Ben (the other counselor at EA) and I that we were on his list of heroes in his life. That statement alone about broke me down, but then she followed it with, “There have been mornings he didn’t want to school, but he would tell me, ‘I know that if I go to early arrivals and hang out with Nick and Ben I will be ready to tackle my day at school.” Wow… I was left speechless. This is coming from a kid in second grade. I knew we had some fun at early arrivals, but to know that our program motivated kids to want to go to school, that’s powerful.
I don’t tell you this story to be prideful. I’m not telling you to get a pat on the back, or for you to say good job, or look what Nick did. Because in all honesty I didn’t do a lot at early arrivals. Ben and I didn’t plan out a lot of crazy activities. Most of our mornings consisted of playing Uno for an hour and then playing some small group games like dodgeball. We did do some special stuff like our two week long group dance competition, but for the most part it was very simple. And it was early arrivals, that means I had to be there at 7am every morning. So I know there are mornings I showed up tired, probably some mornings I showed up half asleep and grumpy. There were definitely mornings I showed up that I didn’t even want to be there.
I tell you this story to show you the power of God. When Ben and I started early arrivals 180 days ago, we talked and said more than anything we wanted God to use us to have an impact on a kid’s life. We earnestly prayed (literally met together and prayed) that God would do this. And everyday I went in there and tried my best to love those kids. 180 days later, God has made it clear to me that he answered our prayer. As I left early arrivals this morning I felt so humbled. Humbled that he could take a tired, sometimes grumpy, sometimes apathetic person, and use them to have such a huge impact on someone else. That I would be viewed as a hero. That I would motivate kids to want to come to school. There are times in your life where God affirms that you are on the right path. Today is one of those days for me.
Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” These past 180 days I have done my best to train up the children in my programs. Now I pray that they will never depart from it. What a privilege it is to be able to do that. I talked to parents every day that say “I don’t know how you guys can do it.” And I really only have one answer for that, God gave me a passion to do this. 1 Corinthians 3:6 says, “I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.” So now that these 180 days have passed, I pray that God will bring someone along to water the seed I have planted, and that God will cause it to grow. Summer camp starts on Monday, and with the new chapter I have the same prayer: “God use me!!”
I hope that no matter where you are and what you are doing that your prayer would be the same. I hope that you would open up your heart and pour out your life into whatever God has called you to do. I promise if you do, you will be shocked to see the results. You will be someone’s hero.
until next time…