“Hi! my name is Ella and i,m 7 years old. So i,m starting a funrazere to collect toys that childrin don’t want. i,m also collecting books, scarfs, coats, and hats. i,m going to give them to kids who need them will you pleas help me with this progect?
Turning a mistake into an act of kindness.
So…a little back story on this. 😉 My beautiful, awesome, super smart, cool kid asked me for some money to purchase a book or 2 at her book fair. Sounds reasonable. Unfortunately all I had was a $20 that I was about to give to a kid that is just on the cusp of understanding money. No worries. I tell her at least 1/2 a dozen times: “I am giving you twenty dollars, but you may only spend ten.” She asked how she could be sure to only spend $10 and I suggested that she take that up with the person taking the money to help her out. She nodded. Cut to 4:15pm. Ella comes running through the door in tears saying something in some kind of mousy voice I could barely understand through all the streaming tears: “Mommy, I’m so sorry!! I knew I was only supposed to spend ten dollars but I accidentally spent twenty!!” Did you catch that?? You know exactly where I’m going here…. “Accidentally?? How do you “accidentally” spend 10 more dollars than I gave you permission to spend?” And thus followed a barrage of barely inaudible spewings of professed victimization from a $20 bill. Yeah. Right.
Now, at this moment I can see in Ella’s eyes that she’s waiting for the big ‘ole smackdown consisting of some sort of awful grounding that will keep her from all her favorite things of the moment. And of course I am not mad. I mean seriously…in the world we live in today if the worst thing my child does is blame an innocent $20 bill for all her woes then hey, who am to judge (and truth be told I was actually the teensiest bit proud of her ingenuity to pin it on the bill. I mean, you can’t blame a gal for tryin’, right?) So I explain to Ella that (a) she needs to calm down because her slobbering is getting borderline annoying (can I get an amen?) and (b) I am not mad. I am disappointed (can you feel that? That moment that I just took you back in time? Did I just turn you into your 7 yr old self?). Yes. I went there. As any self-respecting parent would. I explained to her that she’s in the middle of a double-wammy: not only did she deliberately disobey the guidelines that I laid out for her that morning but that she then proceeded to stand in front of my face and bold-face lie to me because I was 110% positive that she was fully aware that she was spending twenty dollars, not ten. I watched as the realization sunk in that she was fully prepared for the consequences she was going to have to face for spending the extra 10 bucks, but not so much for the deliberate lying. Ouch.
And then inspiration hits me. So I say to Ella: “I am not mad at you. I am disappointed. You spent more than I permitted, then lied to me. So, although I’m not mad at you, you absolutely must earn the right to have the book now. So, I want you to go upstairs, write an apology letter to me (this is standard in our home…nothing makes your mistake hit home more than having to take accountability for it in the form of your own words written by your own hand to be read by you to the person that your mistake has directly impacted in some way) and to begin thinking about some action(s) she can take to earn the book back (which is sitting on top of the fridge as I type).
The apology was ok. Not as magnificent as I’ve seen from my little bean, but I’ll take it. Fortunately for her and (hopefully) lots of little girls, boys and their mommies out there, Ella had a hard time coming up with tasks good enough to earn the book back. So I recommended that she think outside the box a bit…..
And out sprang our idea. What if Ella turned her pretty simple mistake into an opportunity to learn about life, love, the gift of giving and how to turn something that seemingly looks like the absolute mostest endest of the world into something….good?
As such, Ella and myself are teaming up for the next 17 days to collect specific items to donate to a specific charity. We will be collecting:
~New or gently used books
~Non-perishable food items
~Much needed new or gently used winter coats, gloves & scarves for the already cold season (for girls, boys and women)
~New, unopened toiletries for women and children, such as soap, shampoo, bodywash, lotion, deoderant, hair products
I’m sure a teddy bear or two won’t get turned down either….
We will be donating all items to City Mission’s Avis Arbor Women & Children’s Shelter. Ella and I specifically chose this program because this is an organization offering its services at ground zero for women and children. This charitable foundation offers emergency and shelter services for women and their children at the moment they need it.
Anything above is sure to bring a smile to someone’s face. Depending on what and how much is given Ella and I may decide to give to another charity as well, which would make our millenium.
If you’d like to drop items at our home, please contact me. Otherwise, Ella and I plan to drive to wherever any person lives to pick up donated items. And if THAT’s not enough….sound the trumpets…we are going to be having a Meet & Greet at our home on November 9th. If you’d like to make your donation in person at our home and enjoy a complimentary cup of hot cocoa, made by the hands of a most grateful 7yr old, please consider this our invitation. We would love to greet you at our home between the hours of 10am and 4pm on Saturday, November 9.
Ella will be responsible for collecting all donations with me, she will also be responsible for reaching out to her school to collect there as well, she will be in charge of all donations, who they’re from and what was given, and finally she will be responsible for updates via my blog and a final note of “what I learned” when it’s all said and done, to be posted to my blog. If all goes well, the book (which is a special edition of Disney’s “Frozen” that came with a book and small movie projector with disks) will be given back to Ella on November 9.
Just to up the cutness factor and tug on a few heart strings, here are 2 photos of my Ella Bean (otherwise known as Buggalicious) writing out and then typing out the quote above for you all to read:
Please consider giving. It makes a heart (and 7 yr old…and 40 yr old for that matter) happy.
I’d say this earns Ella her book back. 😉