Mr. Skiddles, room Mom!

One of the things that has been keeping me occupied these past few months has been spending time with these crazy people…
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These are my seventh graders at one of the best schools on earth in my opinion, South Fork Middle School.

Yes, I said MY! Not that I am their teacher, although had I not been chosen for the vocation of pastor, I would most likely gone into teaching. Well, that or stuntman, there’s not a big difference when you are talking about Middle School kids!!!

I had gone to science camp with this group last year when they were sixth graders and we had a great time. This past Fall this group of young people got hit with an unfortunate memory they will have for the rest of their lives…the loss of a classmate due to possible suicide!

Suicide is a devastating way to leave those behind…so many unanswered questions…so much self-blame…so much pain! Add in being a 12-13 year old with the onset of puberty and all its ugly monsters and you’ve got a recipe for the prefect storm.

When the tragedy hit our small school (24 in 7th grade, only 120 in 5th-8th grades combined) we were hit hard. I met on a Sunday afternoon with our superintendent and some other key faculty to set up our game plan for the coming week. I was going to be with the seventh graders since I had a connection already.

After our camp trip last year, I had wanted to spend time with these kids, crazy right? A guy who has raised his own kids and is working on grand kids actually wanting to spend time in a classroom with seventh graders!!! These kids are very good kids and part of my calling in ministry is to minister to all.

Well after our tragedy I rescheduled my schedule so that I could spend a few hours a couple days a week in their homeroom class. It’s really not that hard to find three or so hours two or so days a week to give to someone else who needs you.

Well after a while the kids, as they will, began playing with my name. Having the last name of Siddle, it wasn’t hard for them! I’ve been used to it my whole life, no worries here! But the fun part came when they added the moniker “Room Mom”! You see there is a bias that happens in schools that mostly mom’s are the ones who volunteer in classrooms!

Guys! Buck up and find some time to be in the classroom and not just on the sports field with kids who are not your own! (More on that in a later post)

Back to MY kids…Today was our last day of school, so we had a party. They could have had it any day this week but when they found out Friday was the only day I could be there due to being out of town for #Connection15, they chose today!!! I’m glad they did. I just wish these future leaders of the Class of 2020 would quit making my eyes sweat!!!
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Oh, and there is another thing! This is one thing I had to do with socks on. You see, we have a no flip-flop policy on campus. A policy I broke today, the last day of school, and ended up getting my first blue slip of the year! Life is good!

Support comes in many different forms.

My Honey and I just got back from a Car Show held in town. It was nice seeing all the old vehicles and old friends come out on a nice day for this event. Our kids and grand-kids who live local were there and that’s ALWAYS a good thing for us. I even took my short hairy kid Tekoa to work on his social skills and he did great.
 
This wasn’t just a run of the mill car show though. The car guys up here in our little rural community do those a couple times a year. There is also a big Rod Run annually that draws folks from all over.
 
No, this car show was to support a family whose little girl Anna has Leukemia. Anna is five years old and the oldest of three kids. Her parents are hard working folks. Her dad Ray works for the roads department and Stacy has always been a hard worker wherever she lands. She worked for us at our coffee house before she got pregnant with Anna. I was the one who officiated  their wedding. We’ve got history with these kids and it’s our privilege to support them any way we can!
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The turnout for the car show was amazing. Our little community knows how to come together and support a good cause. A motorcycle club who were on their way to another fundraiser today even stopped by to lend support. One Hundred plus bikers rolled in and gave the family a check to help. It was an amazing sight!
 
Support doesn’t always have to come with crowds though.
 
Earlier this week I was called to a scene of a suicide. Part of my job as a sheriff’s chaplain. I sat with the widow for a few hours and asked her to tell me about her husband. She called me the next day and shared with me that during our time the night before she had wanted to tell me to just shut up and quit asking questions. She came to realize that I had helped her remember the good things about a man who deeply loved her and she thanked me for supporting her in that way.
 
I told her I was just winging it and God gets the glory for that!
 
Then yesterday I received support from one of my cycling buddies. I went after the hill again on our ride. This hill is a bear (that’s the clean ‘b’ word to use for this thing)! It messes with your head; short and steep for a good 3/4 mile at the nine mile mark of our ride. I had done it before but had to stop a couple times to catch my breath.
 
Yesterday as I was ascending this beast (another ‘b’ word that works), my buddy Mark was right next to me, encouraging and supporting me the whole way. If it wasn’t for his support I might have left the hill for another day.
 
As you can see from my words today, support comes in many forms, even more than I’ve mentioned here.
 
The real question is; Who needs your support today and how can you show it?
See, when you give of yourself to support others, when you need it most, someone is there to support you.
 
Go support someone today…and try not wearing socks when you do!