Today’s Mission Monday missive is more of a reflection. Two Fridays ago, our Maternity staff put together a graduation party for our young clients. Mostly, it was to celebrate one of our clients finishing her GED and getting ready to move on to her own apartment. We also celebrated the educational achievements of our remaining clients, all of whom were advanced to the next grade or made progress on their GED preparation.
Our graduating client, Asia, gave a touching and tearful speech. Good Shepherd rented a graduation gown for her, and staff created a Good Shepherd diploma. Her mother was in attendance and also gave a short speech—expressing how proud she was of her daughter. Clients congratulated her. Some had made cards, and one tearfully told her how she looked up to her.
I suppose this stands out to me because I’ve been to several graduation parties in recent weeks—all of them quite a bit fancier than ours, but none more poignant. It’s a very ordinary, expectable thing for most kids, and that’s the rub. It’s not merely the traumatic losses, the abuse or neglect, the poverty and desperation that sets our kids apart; it’s also the little things—things that most kids take for granted and make life “normal.” It’s things like certificates, and cards of congratulations, and parties. It’s marking of events and hearing that folks are proud of them. It’s celebrating special occasions. I’m deeply proud that my staff help those kids be “normal” for a little while.