Our first small group has earned their prize on our newly developed reward system. Kids earn points for attendance, bringing Bibles, bringing friends, and saying their memory verse each week. We used to have a “Sticker Store” at the end of the month where they trade in their points/stickers for prizes. Of course, that lost its luster after about a year (more to me than the kids I think — it was quite a hassle finding inexpensive toys that didn’t fall apart before they got to the car). So, we’ve recently devised an experience reward system.
Kids earn experiences such as a pizza party, bowling, a trip to the zoo, pajama party, etc. They all pool their points as a team/small group and then all get to enjoy the experience together. Last night, the yellow group earned their pizza and movie party. Way to go!
We started outside with our pizza picnic which went well enough, but the kids were so excited about running around and climbing trees, they didn’t hardly eat. Then we headed downstairs (it was at my home) to watch the movie and all of a sudden, everyone was hungry! So we made popcorn. Then they were thirsty. So brought down another round of plastic cups (because of course, no one kept theirs from earlier :)). Then everyone needed to go to the bathroom. One at a time. Did I mention there were thirteen kids? Then, everyone needed to figure out who’s cup was who’s (where did I leave that Sharpie?). Okay… back to the movie, right? No, someone needed floss. Then they all needed floss. And who am I to hinder good dental hygiene? Flossers all around!
Okay, now the movie. Wait, no… we need blankets to really enjoy this movie time. Now, it is 75 degrees outside, but blankets it is. “Share, kids. You don’t need a queen size comforter all to yourself.”
Now, where were we? Oh yes, the little cooking rat on the television screen. Suddenly, someone is bored of the movie. Already. We’ve only been watching 13 minutes. “Play a game in your head”, I said. Not a good enough solution apparently.
Okay, I’ll talk loudly about the events happening in the movie and act really excited about the little hairy chef — maybe that will draw them back in. Their response? “Where are your cats?” “Can we play X-box?” “Can I hold the baby?” On second though, maybe not. I pull out my final card, the Ace in the hole, or something like that. My last resort.
“Who wants a brownie?” Thirteen hands shoot up and thirteen bodies jump up and down. Thirteen mouths yell “Me! Me! Me! Me!”. Okay, watch the movie. I’ll be right back. And I was, brownies in hand. They ate and were satisfied. For about 3 minutes. Then, like the Israelites, the grumbling resumed. However, it was in tiny cute voices and it didn’t sound like grumbling… more like brainstorming. “Can we go back outside?” “Can we watch a different movie” “Can we explore your house?”.
Back outside it was.
There we were running around with laughter abounding until their parents came to pick them up twenty minutes later.
Great kids. Great party. I’d do it again tonight. Because, maybe, just maybe, I’m crazy. Or maybe because I love these kids and being a part of their lives. I love watching friendships form. I love watching them help each other out. And I love the new faces that pop up because of events like this. And I suppose that’s why I’m in Children’s Ministry.