I love my job. Here’s another reason why.

I got the opportunity to present at Park Elementary on Career Day for the 3rd and 4th grade classes. One of the things I think is important for us as Episcopalians in a non-Episcopal world to do is to be out and communicating about our church. So when I got the form to volunteer to present at Career Day, I jumped at the opportunity.

I was a little unsure about how much I could say. Park is a public school after all, even though most of the faculty and staff are Christian. I have been turned down before about promoting St. Nicholas events at Park, so I was rather surprised that they let me come and speak. But I wanted to be respectful and talk specifically about my job instead of straight-up evangelizing the 3rd and 4th graders. I think the best evangelism anyway is through relationship anyway instead of cramming religion down people’s throats.

So I went and talked to the kids and had a blast! I asked them first what other careers they had seen. A teacher. A soldier. A banker. Even a bomb squad expert! Much more exciting than Episcopal priest, though, right?

My task was to tell them what I do, how I came into my career, what kind of education I had to get, and how I use subjects like Math, Science, and Social Studies in my job. Those of you who know me best know that those first two subjects are my weakest ones, so I didn’t have a lot to say about those. “Um…churches have budgets…blah…blah…blah.”

The children were all inquisitive and asked some really great questions. Some told me about their preachers and pastors at their church. When I asked them what they thought I did, here are a few things they said:

“Talk about God and Jesus.”

“Prepare for sermons/Sunday services.”

“Pray all the time.”

“Read the Bible all the time.”

“Tell people to pray and read the Bible all the time.”

I did highlight the point that priest and pastors don’t just work ONE day a week, although I wish we did sometimes! But while I tried to stay away from a lot of God-talk, I did talk about call and vocation and how all of us have gifts and we discover those gifts most often through our families, friends, and church communities. All vocations must come from a call from God, whether it’s a “church job” or not. That’s what distinguishes what we do as “just a job” from doing what we’re meant to do.

I only had 30 minutes with them, but it was so much fun. They even gave me gifts of a T-Shirt, a sticker, a cup, some candy, and a pencil with a nice note from Ms. Taylor the counselor thanking me.

But the best gift I got from going to Park came the next day. Tai brought home an envelope from one of the 3rd grade classes. It was packed full of thank-you notes. Here are some of them:

"Thank you for telling me about God.

"Thank you for telling me about God.

career-day-thank-yous-5

"Thank you for..."

career-day-thank-yous-4

"...Telling us about how you priest, how you help people, how you help people that's sicky."

"Thank you for what you've done, F. Jackson. You've taught me a great thing. And you told me about God & Jesus."

"Thank you for what you've done, F. Jackson. You've taught me a great thing. And you told me about God & Jesus."

"Thank you for coming & teaching us about a priest. Thank you for telling us how a priest reads the Bible and studies math, reading, science."

"Thank you for coming & teaching us about a priest. Thank you for telling us how a priest reads the Bible and studies math, reading, science."

And my personal favorite:

"Thank you for teaching us about your job. You deserve a rest some time."

"Thank you for teaching us about your job. You deserve a rest some time."

So even though I didn’t expressly talk about God and Jesus, somehow they got the message, and that is yet another reason why I love my job.

Jeff+