Friday, July 13, 2012
Week 5 SIP Summer Camp - Tray Favors
If you have followed my blog long enough you will know my SIL Keri. She is one of the most gifted artists and story tellers I know *just ask her kids about the alligators that pull their van* that one was from a while ago but it's stuck with me. Keri is truly just a joy to be around. I see all the fun stuff she does with her kids and it's fun to see them grow and will be neat to see who they become because of their fabulous mom. Don't get me wrong her kids drive her bonkers as much as the next mom but that's just part of having kids! This service idea is really perfect in so many ways, please read on and you will see what I am talking about.
I once saw an object lesson where the teacher made a tall, beautiful red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. She talked about love and service and specifically the attitude with which we serve our families. She asked if anyone wanted a slice of cake and of course I raised my hand along with the rest of the group. She cut a beautiful large slice and placed it on a plate and then handed it to the girl sitting next to me. She gave her a fork and a napkin and asked if she needed anything else. She talked about how we all want to serve others with love and happiness. Then she turned to me - "You still wanna slice?" I said yes and in the next second her hand was digging into the cake and she was pulling off a chunk of frosted red crumbliness. She dropped it onto a napkin and handed it to me without another word. Everyone in the room was laughing, shocked at her abruptness and coarseness. Then she talked about how we tend to serve our families - giving them what they want but doing it begrudgingly. That image of her hand digging into the cake will forever be in my memory, along with the lesson that if I am going to do nice things for my family, I need to do it lovingly.
I think the same lesson applies to service in general. We should find joy in service because we are serving God as we help others.
Knowing all this, and feeling strongly about all of this, I still find it challenging to actually involve my kids in service, and to teach them how to do it without complaining.
My kids are the ones who fight over who gets the tall green cup, who sits next to mom, and who watches cartoons in the rocking chair. I am the mom who likes to sing out nice little quips like, "when we're helping we're happy," or "let us oft speak kind words to each other," just hoping that my small reminders will magically turn them into nicer people. They fight often enough that when they do treat each other nicely I find myself wondering what their ulterior motives are, but I am nonetheless relieved that maybe a little of what my husband and I are trying to teach them is getting through.
While I do hope that they learn from example that it's important to serve others, I think it's also important to actually give them chances to serve. So I was happy to find a small way that they could actually help other people in need. My women's group at church just did a service project for Presbyterian hospital. We made receiving blankets, collected books and magazines, and made tray favors. Tray favors are simple little notes with "get well" sentiments on them that go on the food trays for patients in the hospital. The service coordinator at Presbyterian said that sometimes they get tray favors made by children that they put on the trays of children in the hospital.
So for our family night this week I printed out some simple notes and then had the kids draw pictures on them. We talked about how I put notes in their lunches sometimes and how it makes them happy to find the notes at school. They all agreed that the kids at the hospital would be happy to get little notes, too. Our notes said, "Hope the rain brings some flowers," "Get whale soon!" "Here's some sunshine for your day," and "Feel better soon."
Jacob loved drawing octopus and whales
Beau colors better with his tongue out.
Rus enjoyed this activity because he said he could color like a kid and no one would know.
We made about forty tray favors in all.
A few days later we were able to deliver them to the service coordinator at the hospital. She said she would take them up to the children's ward that day and that they would be so happy to get their notes! My kids beamed and told her all about the ones that they colored.
When we got in the van my son Jacob said, "I'm glad we did that, Mom. It makes me feel good inside." Bekah and Beau agreed.
So check around...while I know it can be challenging to find ways for your children to help others, I know that there are opportunities out there, and the effort is wonderfully rewarding.
Thank you DeAnn and the SIP project summer camp for getting our family involved!
A huge thank you to Keri for this weeks SIP Summer Camp post!
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