|Sweet with her amazing daughters Ivy and Kendall|
This is what I mean, specifically:
Sweet taught me how to share my faith with kids.
Sweet taught me it's important that kids have happy memories associated with learning about God. Not everything at church must be so somber; sometimes kids need to hula-hoop just because.
Sweet taught me how children are more important that the children's ministry program.
Sweet taught me how to be a teacher.
Sweet taught me how to answer kids' tough questions on the fly.
Sweet taught me how to leverage personality to teach.
Sweet reinforced my die-hard love of traditions.
Sweet taught me how to appreciate volunteers.
Sweet taught me how to run efficient planning meetings.
Sweet taught me that efficient meetings always start best if a candy bowl is present.
Sweet was a master administrator.
She taught me how to organize events as if they were the invasion of Normandy. Interning for her was a flurry of color-coded white boards, to-do lists, 3-hole-punched handouts, reminder emails, and creating THE BINDER which was the nervous system of a large event, perfect organized to begin planning the same event next summer. She taught me how to mail merge, how to laminate, how to RIZZO, and how to walk into every vendor meeting carrying a clipboard.
(presence, all about presence).
Second reason I love Sweet Hopkins: she loved me, and trusted me, when I was just a wee one. She trusted 18-year-old Ben and loved him into being the man she knew he could be. She gave him responsible positions of leadership, taking two dozen little boys to camp for a week. He had the responsibility of caring for their behavior, safety, spiritual growth, and generally staying alive.
Don't think Sweet's trust in Teenage Ben was noteworthy? Consider Exhibit A:
|Winne the Pooh/Teenage Ben|
And lest I get off scot-free in the old photo category, let's examine Exhibit C:
|Leeeetle baby 18-year-old me.|
Did I mention we fell in love working as counselors together in Sweet's ministry?
Thanks for that, too, Miss Sweet.
She was going to perform our wedding. We lost her three weeks before the big day. I really, really miss her, especially today.
PS Sweet's daughter, Kendall, wrote a tender post not too long ago: "Dear Mom Who Is Not Here".