My blogging friend Jill came up with a brilliant way to assign not just chores to her kids, but also to teach them some life skills, give them an awareness of what it means to take care of and run a home, and have them participate in enriching activities. She simply took some popsicle sticks and wrote a chore or task on each one, then threw them in a bag. Her kids each draw one stick every morning during the summer and have to complete whatever is listed on that stick. Examples? Learn to make a treat, write a letter to a grandparent, read for half and hour, clean baseboards, go for a walk, plan and make dinner, etc.
Really, this is such a brilliant idea. It's simple, it switches things up a bit, and it works.
Here's a quote from Jill's blog about a recent experience her kids had with the sticks --
Whitney had some serious, morning grumpiness about her Popsicle stick job yesterday. She got "clean a bathroom" while Landon got "learn to make a treat" so she thought that was unfair. I don't know what fair has to do with anything, and am sure she wouldn't have had an issue with it had it gone the other way.(Here are two links to read more about Popsicle sticks year one, and this summer's sticks in Return of the Popsicle Sticks.)
That is why I love this idea so much. Life isn't fair, but we can have balance. We all have to learn how to do things that we don't want to learn how to do, and we all certainly have to do things on a regular basis that we absolutely dislike. Some days you get 'clean a bathroom,' and some days you get 'make a treat.' There are a lot of good days, and there are also many days when you just have to deal with bothersome but necessary life *stuff*.
I thought this was such a brilliant idea that on one of Jill's post I jokingly commented that I wished someone would make Popsicle sticks for my life. Well, could you possibly guess what arrived in the mail shortly thereafter?!
MY OWN SET OF POPSICLE STICKS!!! Courtesy of a very thoughtful and caring and wonderful lady who I have never even met in person. Now that is just awesome. Jill has kids, a husband, and a house to take care of, plus church and sports and friends and all her blogging friends to keep tabs on, but she still took the time to do a seemingly simple act of service for me. If I was my own mother I would be crying right now because someone took the time to do something so nice for my daughter.
I could not believe it when I saw what she had sent me. When I opened the package I actually did a dorky air punch, then hugged the sticks to my chest and bounced around in a circle. This is easily and by far one of the best gifts I have received in my lifetime.
I have not been good about documenting my stick jobs, but now that I have a camera again I'm going to share every task with you. Tonight I came home nearly comatose and really needed a pick-me-up, so I pulled a stick out of the bundle.
I worked on my list as I sat downstairs waiting for my Thai food delivery, and it totally cheered me up. Isn't nice to have someone tell you what to do once in a while?
Three Disney movies? A feature length film about dinosaurs? I guess movies are more about dreaming and wishing and relaxing to me, and not about being intellectually stimulated! Hmm, maybe I can sneak something impressive in at #20...
This just goes to show you that some of the most crucial service we will give to people may have nothing to do with natural disasters, poverty, illness, or other tragedies. Jill's gift has made me realize that the Lord isn't joking or speaking lightly when He commands us to use our personal gifts to help others. This was Jill's idea, so only Jill could have sent me this gift. Look at how happy it made me.
What service opportunities do I miss because I'm only looking for the big ones, or the ones that are easy to spot? Likewise, what can I do beyond the generic opportunities to serve? Almost anyone can take a meal to someone, but what can I, Rebekah, do for someone that only I can do well?
Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you Jill! I haven't been this jazzed up about something in a long time.