Life of a “Staff Kid”


Sometimes, as a parent, I question my decisions. Is it fair to my children to uproot them from the life they know? Will it harm them to ask them to do without some of the conveniences and opportunities they had in our previous life and to share us (their parents) with other needy children who will take our time and focus?

In July 2011, Megan and her three siblings moved to Cookson Hills with their mom and dad, who were newly hired houseparents. Her perspective is unique and inspiring as she shares what it feels like to be a “Staff Kid” at Cookson Hills.

Q: How do you feel about sharing your parents with other kids?
A: At first, sharing my parents’ time was hard, but I quickly learned how to find those rare moments when we could be alone, like going to the grocery store. Also, [this experience] taught me not to rely so heavily on [my parents].

Q: Do you feel like being a “staff kid” at Cookson Hills has been a ministry of yours as well as your parents?
A: Absolutely. It is a chance for me to personally, try to show Christ’s love in a way that they normally wouldn’t get, especially with the kids in my house.

Q: What is the best thing about growing up here?
A: It has taught me that change is okay and beneficial for growth. I definitely would not be the independent person I am today if I had not grown up here.  One thing I will always remember about Cookson Hills is the love and protection that goes on here. It is a safe environment to grow and become a better person.

Q: What has been the most challenging?
A: The most challenging thing has probably been learning to cope with kids coming into and out of your life.

Q: What do you wish our partners knew so they could be praying?
A: I think they should be praying for the kids who leave here and have to figure out what to do with their lives. Many of the seniors who graduate from here are nervous and doubt what their future holds.

Q: How has growing up as a staff kid at Cookson Hills impacted your life?
A: Growing up here has been a blessing in so many ways, it has opened my eyes to the struggles kids face because I didn’t see much of that before I came here.  I can’t think of a better place to grow up in God, learn how to help others, and establish lifelong relationships.

Even while I struggle, deep in my heart, I know that when God calls, we answer. We can do no other. Along the way, God has lessons and blessings for our children every bit as much as for us. Modeling obedience to our Savior is a great gift we can give our children.

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6


ABOUT THE AUTHOR — Anna Lenardson, High School Teacher, is from Jackson, Michigan and loves hanging out with teenagers...which makes teaching the perfect profession! In her downtime, she enjoys reading, music, crochet, writing poetry, and COFFEE!

Megan Etcher, class of 2016, is from Indianola, Iowa, and enjoys reading fantasy novels, hanging out with friends, and being around her family.