I’ve been feeling nostalgic lately. I think that’s normal in any major life transition time. And that’s where our family is—a major life transition time. I’ve watched it happen to many families before our family. I knew our time would come. And here it is— Jackson Dean, our first- born, is about to fly the coop. And he is ready. And that is to be celebrated. It’s what we’ve all worked for—he’s worked for it, we’ve worked for it, YOU have worked for it.

Yes. YOU. All of you in some way or another have been part of making this happen for him.

You may think I’m writing this as a pastor. I’m not. I’m writing it as a mother. Forget what I do for a living and where I work. I’m a mother and that has been my primary vocation for the last 18 years, and I’m telling you, we couldn’t have done it without you. The Church. And I truly believe I would be writing this same article if I had chosen to be a school teacher, a physical therapist, a custodian or a pilot.

Now, I firmly believe that the primary place of faith formation is at home. It is the job of all parents to teach their children to pray and to talk to their children about baptism and communion. It is the job of all parents to tell their children all about the Love of God and the Way of Jesus.

And it is the job of the Church to be supportive and a supplement to the family. And that is what Park Road has been for us—a support and a supplement as we have tried to Raise Our Children Right.

So thank you for all the ways you have walked alongside us as we have parented. All the trips and lock-ins and retreats. All the Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings. All the intergenerational retreats. All the choirs. All the potlucks. All the camps. All the Bible studies. All the Easter Egg Hunts. All the worship servicesfrom regular 11:00a services to all the Ash Wednesdays to Maundy Thursdays to Christmas Eves, to All Saints’ to World Communion. All the games of kick ball in the courtyard. All the surrogate grandparents. All the friends made. All the Room in the Inns. His own baptism . . . all the times he has been on this campus.

Because of you, Jackson has watched and learned about the Love of God and the Way of Jesus in ways far beyond anything Russ and I could have taught him alone.

So I’m feeling nostalgic. And grateful. And it’s making me wonder if all parents of children and youth are taking seriously enough the faith formation of their children. It is the job of all parents to teach their children about faith.

Those of you who are members of churches have chosen to tackle that job in community.   I believe that is the best decision you could have made. And I wonder, when your children graduate, will you be able to list all these things in which your children have participated that have helped to guide and mold them into faithful disciples? I hope so. Parenting is the most important job you will ever have.

Resident members received a letter from Russ and me last week inviting you to help us celebrate Jackson’s graduation from high school. Come and have fun all over our patio and yard. (Please, no gifts.) There will be plenty of food and yard games and time to just sit around and chat and enjoy each other and offer your blessing on Jackson’s next step in his journey. Sunday, June 14, beginning at 5:00p and stay until . . .  everyone is invited!

After all, Russ and I couldn’t have done our job without you.