Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you. Deuteronomy 16:17

There are a few things in life I think everyone should try. My latest entry to this list of things is popping 300 bags of popcorn and sorting and washing a couple of bushels of apples with the help of 35 twelve-year-olds! Some things are just good for the soul! The Young Disciple group decided to host a popcorn and apple sale to raise money to purchase Holy Water fonts and Patron Saint statues for the prayer corner in each classroom at St. Mary School. It seemed simple enough; little did I know how much could happen in a couple of hours.

I learned that a different environment can change people. As we made our way across the street to the Parish Hall where the popcorn popper and the giant sinks for apple washing were, the middle lovelies began to change right before my very eyes. Even the reserved, quiet ones sprouted a volume and an enthusiasm I’d never seen before during school hours. It made me wonder…when things get tricky or stagnant, why don’t we just change scenery for a little new perspective.

I learned that some people are impulsive and respond vividly to new sights, sounds and smells. The “don’t eat the popcorn because other people are going to buy it” warning was about as effective as telling the wind not to blow! The feel and smell were too much. It made me wonder…what if I said the same thing differently; so I said anyone who packs 9 bags of popcorn gets a giant handful of their own when they finish. No more nibbling. I guess it really is more about how you say it than what you say.

I learned that elbow-deep sinks of water are the greatest! There was as much laughter coming from those sinks as there would have been coming from a swimming pool in August. It was simple, it was different, and it was fun. We had a lot of apples to wash and sort but everyone wanted their turn at the bathtub-sized sinks. It made me wonder…do we really outgrow the loves of childhood like splashing in the tub or do we just listen to society and grow up?  It made me wish I’d spent more time playing in the sink with my kids, even if it did cause puddles on the floor. I guess I’ll save that thought for grandbabies some day!

I learned that sorting apples involves a lot of perspective. We had a wonderful family pick up a couple bushel of apple “seconds” at a nearby orchard for us. They were beautiful, delicious apples but they weren’t the perfect ones and they needed some inspection. I laughed as I listened to the lovelies take their turn at the sink and discuss the quality of the apples. I heard things like, “these look weird,” “these are shaped goofy,” “these have spots,” “these look so good,” “that spot's no big deal, whoever buys that can just bite that part off and spit it out,” “the funny looking ones always taste better and people usually don’t know that so maybe they’ll be left and we can eat ‘em,” “some people are just too picky; they taste good no matter what they look like,” and my favorite, “kids should be happy to get these and the tiny ones are perfect for the little kindergartners, these are all different and just right for our school.” It made me wonder…do we judge people the same way we judge apples?

I learned that if you give twelve year olds a pouch full of quarters they think they’re rich! The money-counting phase was my favorite as I watched them enthusiastically discuss how many things they would be able to buy for the classroom prayer corners and what causes they might be able to donate their profits to. You would have thought they had a million dollars to spend instead of a hundred. It made me wonder…when did things get so complicated in life and why have we lost sight of the thrill of giving a three-dollar gift, purchased with quarters completely out of love?

It was a great project. I can’t say that I’m in a huge hurry to do it again any time soon, but it was a great adventure for me and for the lovelies. This week they will present some of the gifts they purchased to each classroom and that will truly be the happy ending to a great story. Once again, all I had to do was show up and let them teach me!

A Seed To Plant: Purchase a three-dollar gift with quarters and give it randomly to someone--motivated completely out of love. Don’t forget to say a prayer of blessing for the receiver of the gift.

Blessings on your day!

Copyright 2015 Sheri Wohlfert
Image copyright 2015 Sheri Wohlfert. All rights reserved.