I had the privilege of taking the 9 hour trek up to Bangor, Maine last week. There were many things I experienced in those five days, but in one way I experienced something oddly special: seeing a girl I knew from the past now become a young woman.
I haven’t hit 30 yet (not too far off though!) and I know this whole concept of watching kids grow up is still pretty new to me. I haven’t had kids of my own to watch grow up yet, but when I went back to Maine, I caught a glimpse of it.
Six years ago I was doing my student teaching at a small elementary school near UMaine. I worked with both 2nd grade and 8th grade classrooms. I felt very out of my league with the 2nd graders. These kids were adorable, yes, but I found it very hard to reel them into a conversation about anything semi-substantial and to make it clear. One of the kids in the class that showed me the ropes and kept me in line was Annika. I loved that girl and I never would’ve thought that years later that her and her family would get involved in FCA in that area, let alone Annika joining our local camp as a camper and now a Junior huddle leader (camp counselor)!
She’s still the same Annika: smart, thoughtful, and did I say smart? It was so neat to then see her leading and encouraging younger kids. I was very moved by her growth in all areas.
Sometimes we need reminders of the relationships and work we were involved in the past to fuel us in the present. I recognize that there is pain in each of our pasts, but when we take some time to look back, we realize the growth we’ve made, the things we’ve learned, the people we’ve touched and who have touched us. It gives us a reminder of why today is so important.
Have you had a chance to see some of the people you’ve invested in and worked with “grow up?” How could that help motivate you in what you’re doing for others today?