GOT KIDS? Activities…finding those that are lost

Jessica photo for The JourneyMy kiddos only have…(I have to count) 18 days left of school!

For some moms…this is so exciting.  You can’t wait to have your little mini-me’s back by your side and spend the entire day with them doing so many fabulous activities that are already planned out and organized for the summer.  And then there is the flip side.  If you live in my reality…you are freaking out just a bit because…there are only 18 more days! where you have some “me” time…and then there will be three months where you can’t go to the bathroom by yourself without someone yelling “mom!”.  Raise your hand way up high right now if you are with me on that one…cause I KNOW I’m not the only mom who sees that picture of summer vacation.  It’s coming moms…and it is coming fast.  

Since I’m not the only mom out there that may not have every moment of summer planned out already for my kids..and we here at The Journey know that our kiddos are precious and adorable and need some activities to do this summer, we are putting together a little list of some fun things that are kid related.  We hope you enjoy these and take a moment to try a few out.  The larger list will be n our upcoming newsletter…so if you aren’t already subscribing to that, sign up today!

Today I am highlighting one activity that I think is substantial in the character development for kids…as well as a little bit of social learning.  You can throw in educational aspects as well with this activity but really…this was all about showing my kids a different perspective of life than what they are used to and helping their hearts grow and become more compassionate.

rochesterGOT KIDS ACTIVITY:  My kids live in a town of over 100,000 people and this town is extremely diverse and yet…we tend to forget that at times.  I’ll explain.

Having the Mayo Clinic basically right next door has many benefits and one of those is that we see a huge variety of people in this town because of the jobs and the health care that is provided in this community.  We have lines of black vehicles lined up at Target at least once or twice a year because some king is in town with hundreds of his “help” and basically buys up everything.  (FYI…if you see those vehicles in the fire lane at Target…go to a different store.  They already bought everything there.)  Our school district has over 30 languages spoken (pretty sure it is over 40 but I can’t find those stats) and as a result my kids are not in a school with all white kids…which I am very glad about.  They see kids their own ages that are different in many ways and it is just awesome because I want them to know that everyone is special and important and should be valued the same.

My kids are also challenged in school academically because there are some very smart kiddos in this town.  Very smart!  My kids have to work hard for their grades but they are also getting a chance of a lifetime by working with Mayo Clinic scientists who actually come in their classrooms and help them learn.  My daughter participated in the Regional Science Fair this year and she wanted to attend the awards portion of the event.  I gotta be honest…kids were building robotic arms and talking in big words that I really couldn’t understand…and I know they were all smarter than myself in that science field.  🙂  I was still thinking about what we would make for supper…and they are over there changing the world of science.  I mean, really.  🙂

There are so many other positives as well that come with a diverse town that seems to be thriving…until you look at the other side…the side that people want to forget, especially in a town like ours where there seems to be an image attached.

The side people want to forget:  I know that this town is well aware of what is going on but no one likes to talk about it.  The average person will hold out a dollar every now and then through their car window but that is the extent some will take.  No ones seems to realize that more and more kids are going to bed hungry or without a place to sleep…but they are still in school.  Some momma out there is getting them to school from wherever they slept the night before.  I know teen moms who slept in their cars or on the streets because they had no where to go. No one seems to want to venture into the neighborhoods where the houses aren’t at least 3,000 square feet.  No one seems to want to help the person that is living in a tent that is behind the local Walmart.  No one wants to look the person in the eyes that has been holding up the sign on the corner for the last 2 years.  These are REAL people…living their REAL life…right alongside my REAL life.

We think we know all these stories…all the situations that led the people to where they are at right now…but we don’t.  You know your story…you don’t know theirs.  We think we have the answers for them…but we are actually struggling each day to figure out life for ourselves.  How we can take the time to judge those people who are struggling and yet still battle with things personally is really interesting to me…and yet so many people have no problem whatsoever putting blame and shame on those individuals they see who are different than themselves.

IMG_20140511_190349572Small changes for me is to get myself and my kiddos involved in helping more of the people that we seem to forget about.  FYI…This isn’t easy.  This isn’t something that is comfy cozy.  This isn’t something that will always be fun either…but is necessary.  I don’t want my kids to be part of a generation that continues to look away from those who need help.  I want my kids to learn that they can be the helper and stare at those people in the eyes and offer compassion instead of judgement.  I want them to be the kids that would be willing to give their shirt off their backs to someone who needs one…or their toy that they treasure to a friend who may have just lost all of theirs from a fire.

I want those kids…and I want to be that mom.

We started small (like, really small!) and did just a few things together last night.  It was sortof my Mother’s Day gift.  I really didn’t need anything but spending time with my kiddos and helping them see a different perspective on life while helping others was the goal.  My kids were guessing what we were going to be doing and they kept saying “will I be able to buy something?” No.  “Will I be getting something?”  No.  “Are we getting ice cream, because I want ______ flavor?”  No.  My response to each question was, “What we are doing tonight is for others…this is not for you.”

  1. IMG_20140511_185200129The Envelopes:  I put together a few envelops with some cards…and threw some money inside each one.  I wrote a few words on each card and wanted to help remind people to smile and to share smiles with others.  If they found themselves with an extra dollar and saw someone who needed some extra help…that they would also think about that person they see who is in need and share.  We went to a local store and…hid them.  Someone some day will find them and hopefully it will bring a smile to their face.  I also wrote on the back a verse that my kids helped me pick out from The Bible.  It said, “And now these three remain; faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love.”  1 Corinthians 13:13
  2. The Quarters:  We have a huge container of coins that seem to have gathered through the years.  We have no plan for this change…it just sits there…so I decided that today we would dig in it and give it a purpose.  My kids got out their money sorter (which they thought was awesome) and got LOTS of quarters together.  We took our big bag of quarters and went to one of our local laundromats and just filled up the machines.  Not only have I never been in our local laundromat…but neither have my kids.  They didn’t realize that people HAD to bring their clothes there in order to have clean clothes.  They HAD to spend quarters…lots and lots of them…if they wanted their laundry done.  We saw kids and families and had many grown-ups just looking at us wondering what it was that we were doing there and why we were coming in without a load of laundry too.  I have future plans for this place…and something that my kids will love to be part of that will be extra fun for them too!  Sometime this summer we will be back…but for a different mission.

That’s that…what I’m working on in my house and something that is on my to-do list this summer with my kiddos.  My ideas are not original…in fact, another person in my town did the same or similar things recently for her birthday.  You can read about her adventure at her blog:  Vicki’s Blog

I know some people will think I am a fool for doing things like this…and that is ok.  I know some people who think I’m condemning them in some way…and I’m not.  My intention is not to cause more hate or anger in this world or to even make sure that I censor myself so I am saying the things that will keep you around…this activity was just too show my kids that Jesus loves everyone and that we should too.  These are small changes for my kiddos and me and our hearts.  🙂

When those kids come walking through your doors screaming, “Schools out for the summer!” what do you have planned?

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