Saturday, October 29, 2011

Rewards

I woke from a dream this morning that kept me in bed just a few more minutes, hoping I could go back to sleep and keep dreaming...

I was sitting in class with other students, the teacher brought over my math test and said, "Absolutely outstanding!" I looked at my grade and I had received a 102. Fabulous.

This may or may not have ever really happened to me in elementary, I was more of an English/Spelling kinda girl but it felt good to get that "atta girl". This comes to me because as parents, we talked extensively to our child last night about his grades. He has the chance to earn a really fabulous reward around Christmas time, something he wants really really bad, but his grades and some behaviors must improve.

As we get older and become parents, most of our rewards change form. We don't always have a need to attain material prizes. If you are blessed to have a child or children with special needs, sometimes our rewards are quite basic in the eyes of most. If your child is in the Autism Spectrum, maybe you work hard from the time you get up until you go to bed, on immitation. One day, maybe years down the road, you see a peer hopping on one foot with your child following, immitating the child. A tear comes to your eye because you knew he could do it, eventually...and being able to see it with your own eyes is the best reward. In our case, the children are deaf. The doctors gave them tools to hear as older toddlers around the age of three but kids don't magically know words. They have to hear them, learn them, know them...before they even consider speaking them. It didn't always come easy for them. Our games at home probably seem much more difficult than any game average children play...but we were working on sounds, hearing, listening, repeating, and much more.


But I received a different reward yesterday...and it felt so good. It was such a simple act. The prayer group at school is collecting snacks for the teachers. In every single classroom, they have snack time at some point in the day. Children bring snacks from home and have about 10 minutes to eat and re-energize before completing the day. Not all kids have snacks. You see, most of our students come from low income families, with over 80% receiving free or reduced lunches. Some of our kids probably only eat meals at school, breakfast and lunch and if they don't have a snack, they go hungry longer. So the prayer group decided to collect some basic snacks to give to teachers so they can have something on hand, even if it's plain crackers, to give those who have nothing. I can't imagine watching my friends eat and pretend I'm not hungry as my stomach churns because I brought nothing.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure to deliver two of the teachers some snacks. They were very appreciative. One teacher, took the common Ritz and looked me in the eye and just thanked me. She has many that bring nothing. She told me she was just waiting on pay day so she could buy snacks...that was next week. Teachers have families just like all of us to provide for. As it is, they are all the time picking up crayons here, giving 50 cents for this one to attend a PTO sponsored movie, or something similar. They usually have around 20 kids in their rooms....80% of 20 is 16...do you think they can afford that?

I walked away from the teacher with a heavy heart. We need to really focus as a prayer group and get all of these teachers some snacks for their rooms. So far, we've only donated to a few as we wait for more to be donated. This is a constant need, they could go through a box of crackers in a week. With food allergeries and such we opted to keep the snacks simple, no chocolate/peanut butter cookies or anything.

The reward I felt yesterday was so simple. I knew that in those two classrooms, ALL children would be able to eat at snack time, and at least through next week. But what about the other rooms? I am so thankful for our prayer group that is still relatively new. They've shown me how easy doing good can be, and I love the rewards offered by God. This is something I need to work on with my children. The kind of rewards that cost nothing, are the best rewards offered.

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