Posted in SU QLD
When I started as a school chaplain, I remember a parent said to me: “primary school children don’t have problems – do they?”
It’s easy to have this idyllic picture of childhood – that kids don’t have problems – but it isn’t true.
They’re rarely responsible, but are always vulnerable to what’s going on around them.
I spoke with one girl recently who I’ve been journeying with for some time.
Her mum is an ice addict. She makes promises to her daughter all the time – promises she rarely keeps.
Whether it’s saying she’ll pick her up from school, or spend time with her over the weekend, she rarely comes through for her little girl. Every week I see her little heart break.
When she first came to school, she was determined not to talk to anyone. All she knew was that people hurt people.
I started walking laps of the school with her, talking and getting to know her. I wanted her to know that even though no one could ever take her mum’s place, there are other people in the world that – if she let them – would love her and give her some of what she needed.
With much encouragement, she joined a sporting group and started making friends. She still carries the pain of her past, but she’s going so much better now.
Another young boy came to me to talk about his mum, who was struggling with alcohol.
He told me of times he found his mum passed out on the floor, times where he was terrified of what she was going to do to him and his little brother – who he had to protect.
He tells me how great his mum is when she is not drunk. The terror this boy and his little brother live through is horrific.
Primary school children deal with the same problems adults do. The difference is they can’t defend themselves. They need people to fight for them – to stand by their side.
That’s why I’m so thankful to be part of a chaplaincy service – and I call it a service because it’s much more than just the chappy.
It’s the financial support that’s needed to fund a program like Seasons of Growth, which brings together children going through grief – giving them tools to make it through that season of their life.
It’s the volunteers who show up time and again to cook pancakes at chappy brekky, make coffees for parents and teachers, or provide one-on-one mentoring to students in need.
This support – your support – enables me to do what I do. To stand with these vulnerable children.
There’s no doubt that primary school children face problems. Thank you for being a part of the solution.
If you’d like to donate to support school chaplaincy across Queensland, head to suqld.org.au/donate
This article was written by a primary school chaplain…