As I get older I find I get more emotional; not so much at the tragedies of life, for which a necessary detachment comes with the job, but more something unexpected that creeps up on you and find a sensitive spot. A moving back story on X Factor, a lost kitten, running out of Nigella seeds, you know the sort of thing. One event that gets me every year, however, is the Leavers’ Service in church for the Year Six children who are leaving Finedon Mulso and going on to big school. I sit at the back and listen to the songs the children have sung since they were tiny, and now are on the threshold of a new life, and the tears well up. Partly it is attachment – I have been here long enough to really get involved in people’s lives, so your family milestones become my family milestones; partly because I don’t have kids of my own, and although dachshunds present daily an emotional roller coaster, it’s not quite the same; partly because it intensifies the feeling of the passing of the years. It seems like only yesterday that I too left my first school, and as summer ended and autumn began went to Warwicks for my new uniform, got a new pencil case from Colemans, and new books from Whartons, as I prepared for the next. It was actually fifty years ago, half a century, not yesterday, but how the years rush.
These years at school, that seemed so endless then and like the beat of a sparrow’s wing now, are so important. We lay the foundations of the lives our children will live. And as a church school our job is especially to well equip them not only with the learning skills to make their way in the world but with the moral and spiritual skills too, so that they may do something even more important than merely achieve – we are called to enable them and empower them to live life in its fullness, as Jesus wished for all of us.
God bless you, Year 6, as you head into the future.
I appear to have something in my eye.
Yours in Christ,