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It’s been a while since I’ve been a student in the classroom. 6 years since I finished graduate school, 20 years since I graduated from College, 24 years since I last walked the halls of Waubonsie Valley HS and 33 years since I sat in Mr. V’s 4th grade classroom. Like all of us, my time in school taught so many life lessons that extended well beyond the standard “reading, writing and arithmetic”. Lessons in friendship, giving your best, “failing” only to keep pressing on. Much of my experience was filled with joyful discovery and exploration but there were also moments of uncertainty and loneliness.

Our experience in our school years is formative and helps to shape our identity; the way we perceive and experience the world. We are today, in part, what was poured into us as kids; by teachers, coaches and adult volunteers. I am so grateful for the many adults that spent time with me. Believing in me, giving me time to discover and allowing me to express my thoughts and ideas without the burden of judgement.

Our investment in young people is not just an investment in the future, but an investment that makes a difference today (all kids need an adult to tell them, “I’m proud of you” and “I believe in you”). Over the years this has lead me to work with young people in a variety of ways; youth pastor, coach, and special ed teacher to name a few. In my time working with students I’ve realized that I am still learning, growing and discovering. Even more, I see that it is the students who, through sharing their experience, are the ones teaching me.

This blog is an opportunity for me to share and reflect on what I am still learning as result of working with students. It may be from a moment in the Young 5’s classroom where I volunteer on Tuesday mornings, something that takes place on the soccer field with one of the travel teams I coach or in conversation with a HS student from our church youth group.

In all of these places, with students of different ages and backgrounds, I find it an awesome privilege to be invited into their world, to learn, to discover and to grow.

I'm looking forward to all they will teach me.

Reflections: Who was one of the influential adults in your life? What kinds of things did you learn from them? What are the things you are passing on to kids and students?