it’s the little things that mean everything.

by Central City Community Outreach on September 20, 2010

“Home is not where you live, but where they understand you.” –Christian Morgenstern

Rapping the ABC’s with Jaylin is a unique (and desperately comical) experience that lets him know he is understood. Asking Joey to draw me a picture of one of his favorite human beings alive, John Cena (a famous wrestler), tells him that he is known and understood by me. Taylor needs a hug from me to keep on track. Leah loves pink and purple. Rebecca cannot eat some foods. Granted, letting these little people know that they are understood looks very differently than letting grown people know they are understood, but the principles are the same. People need to be reminded that the traits and needs that make them individuals are not forgotten in a sea of people and traits and needs.

Every child that comes into my classroom has their name written on construction paper of their choice and taped onto their special homework spot at a table in the room. I’ve had a few difficult moments with nametags so far this year. I peel the tape away as slowly as possible from those nametags that represent kids that have moved on from Central City.  Every nametag that has been removed finds a place on my bulletin board. It’s just a reminder that every child that comes through Central City is known and not forgotten. They are prayed for and loved.

As kids come and go quicker than the seasons (which can’t easily be distinguished around here, anyway), there is a treasured reward in remaining stationary. As families and crises and life whirl around the building with the green doors, Central City remains. Remaining stationary requires discipline, but because of it we get to be a place that sees a constant stream of beautiful people, big and small. We know that God takes account of the wanderings of all the people that have, for some reason or another, wandered through our doors. “You have taken account of my wanderings…” Psalm 56:8.

In this way, Central City becomes a kind of home where children and families are seen, known and understood for however long or brief they are present with us. However, it also becomes a kind of home for me. There is something in the quality of Damaje’s voice when he says my name, Ms. Danica, that causes me to know I am loved and understood. When Carola looks at me with her matter-of-factness of 5-year old innocence and says, “I love you,” I don’t doubt that I am understood. Home is not where you live, but where they understand you.

Posted by Danica

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