One of the biggest problems with being a houseparent is that it can be one of the most thankless jobs there is. One of our main responsibilities is to help the youth in our care reach important milestones, yet when those milestones are reached you usually have to stand in the shadows while some somebody else celebrates with them.
Last night we had the honor to attend the graduation of a young that we are very proud of. Someone who holds the distinction of being the only member of his immediate family to have graduated high school. Someone who, had he not moved into our cottage when he did, probably never would have. Yet it wasn’t us that he wanted to celebrate with, it was his birth family (a father he hadn’t seen in years and a mother he sees a couple of times a year). We were relegated to standing in the shadows and watching while they all hugged and took photos and more photos and more photos with the graduate.
It reminds me of other situations during the year that we had to stand in the shadows. Like during football season when we had to get up at five in the morning to take him to two a day practices, eat countless cold suppers to pick him up from evening practice, and fighting to stay awake when I picked him up at two in the morning when he had away games. Yet on Senior night, when we were the ones standing there by his side, it is not our names being called; it is the same parents mentioned above.
Same thing for basketball season. Many extra trips to the school. Spending our own money to go watch him play in the state tournament. More late night/early morning pick ups, and again on Senior Night, standing there while somebody else’s name is announced.
Someday he will realize all that we, and many others (sponsors, teachers, pastors, etc.), did for him. Till then we will just keep STANDIN IN THE SHADOWS!!!!!