Saturday, November 20, 2010


This morning, the four of us headed out in soupy, spooky fog to pack boxes of food for one of the local Methodist churches. R does volunteer work several times a year for work, and when he asked me if I thought we should all go this morning, my answer was an enthusiastic 'Yes!'.

Every now and then, I get annoyed with the kids because they don't seem to have the same level of appreciation for all the advantages we have that I think they should. But then again, they've never known any different, so why would they? The solution to this problem? Let them see that there are many other people in this world who do not have the same advantages they do.

So this volunteer opportunity came at a great time. I want the kids to see R and I volunteering. I like even better that we can do this as a family.

When we got to the church, S threw a fit in the parking lot because she insisted on being carried, and we said no. Apparently it's going to be a day of valuable lessons. Had she asked nicely for me to carry her, I probably would have. But this whole demand aspect of S's personality needs to be gently addressed. And oh joy, today we got to address it in the parking lot. Woohoo!

When we got everyone into the church (and hallelujah, lightening didn't strike R), there was so much going on that S forgot all about her snit. (It's a miracle!)

There were a LOT of people there to help. It was impressive. The kids stuck close to us and behaved. That was impressive. We met the First Sgt and her family, and they had a daughter T's age, so the three kids ended up in the kids Sunday School room playing...get this...quietly. I KNOW!

We needed to stuff 288 boxes, and we were waiting on the food to be delivered. I was a little surprised and very impressed to find out that the church does this once a month. This kind of thing seems like it takes a lot of coordination. This church seems to have it down to a pretty precise science.

There was an issue with the meat delivery, so once the fruit and veggies arrived, we started the assembly line process of filling the boxes. There were tables set up so that the volunteers just added their food and slid it down to the next station. I was at the end of the assembly line so that I could help, but also keep an eye on the kids.

When those boxes started coming, man, they started coming fast, and I had to laugh when the people loading the boxes got all angry and started shouting that the boxes were backing up. Well, duh! It takes longer to pick up a box and stack it against the wall (we were in the middle of the room) than it does to throw in a bag of carrots and push the box to the next person. So, a stacking assembly line was started where the boxes were just passed down a chain of people until they could be stacked against the back wall.

Unfortunately, those of us at the stacking end still weren't moving fast enough for the people at the packing end, and the griping got bumped up a notch. People, we are supposed to be making joyful noises unto the Lord. Calm down!

The guy I was working beside suggested that we start sliding some of the boxes down the tables into the kids' Sunday School room, and so we started alternating with the stacking assembly line. One box for stacking, one for the kids room. Congestion problem solved.

The kids, who were all still behaving (woooohooooooo), came over and wanted to help, so they helped to slide the boxes for us. So sweet!

In no time at all, we had the 288 boxes filled, except for the meat items. There was a short delay while we waited for that delivery, and then we finished filling and packing the boxes, then we loaded them into vehicles.

During the lull, T runs up to me and says that S has scratched the little girl they were playing with. I walk over and sure enough, there was a scratch mark on her neck.


Really now, S, if you must be a pooty head, could you please not be a pooty head to the daughter of Dad's boss?!?

So into time out S went, and she was so mad about being put in time out that she refused to apologize. I wouldn't let her out of time out until she agreed to apologize and then actually apologized, so we ended up sitting there for a while.

According to S, she was mad because T and P wouldn't play with her and were leaving her out. But they are six and S is three, which is a pretty big gap at that age. S doesn't always play by the rules, unless they are the rules she has just made up and then immediately forgets and makes up new ones. It can be a bit confusing.

10 minutes later and S is still saying she's not sorry. So I switch tactics and explain that while I understand why she was upset, it's still not okay to scratch someone. And, that even if she doesn't feel sorry, she owes P an apology. 10 minutes after that, it worked and she apologized. And I have to give P credit...she expected an apology from S and wasn't going to accept anything less than that, but P also was really cool and laid back about the whole situation.

Right after that, the meat was delivered, so we finished the boxes and headed out. The kids want to volunteer again next month and so do R and I. It was nice that they also got to see some of the folks that came to the church to pick up the food boxes. Also nice? That one of my good ideas turned out the way I hoped.

Kids are amazing.

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