Really?! One Surprising Summer Childcare Option

This week is our first full week of summer vacation. School officially ended mid-last week, and we started off this week by being part of our church’s vacation bible school.  I have volunteered in years past and am volunteering again this year. The best part – both of my children are now attending as “campers.”  It IS a really wonderful week for kids, volunteers, and adults alike.

The theme is Cave Quest, which is woven through each activity, from games, music, and art / science, to Bible stories, video and snack. So much happens during this week from 9am – 12 noon.  It is jam-packed with fun, and these take-home secret maps.

Cave Quest Vacation Bible School

Top Secret Maps contain the Bible Story of the day and remind kids of what they learned.

This year there is record attendance – especially with the lower aged kids (starting at age 3). It really is a blessing!  Yesterday, as part of the kitchen, I helped prepare 200 waffles for snack.  Yikes – so glad we had a lot of hands to help and an industrial sized kitchen. I’m happy to contribute to some of the work of each day and love hearing my kids stories as we drive home each day. Today the Golden Rule was one of the lessons learned – and I was so pleased when I saw my son sharing at lunchtime without being asked.

I had asked some coordinators about the high attendance, knowing that we pulled from area churches. One parent shared that she knows of families who use Vacation Bible School as a form of inexpensive childcare, signing their kids up for three or five different sessions in the area! Really?! I found this surprising! I guess that’s one way of getting mornings free for several weeks, and there ARE worse things that you could have your kids attend. I’d like to think of vacation bible school as MUCH more than childcare…Kids are learning about their faith, meeting other kids, and having fun!

Are there other unique ways that parents find childcare that you find surprising?!

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Times When You Can’t Find the Right Words

I’ve been blogging a little less (which isn’t saying a lot, as I’m far from a daily blogger), because I just can’t find the right words.

This isn’t anything terribly unique for a blogger, as you all are probably nodding your heads in agreement as you read this.

I can’t find the right words as I am learning about the journey that friends of mine are going through as I write – a major medical diagnosis for their beautiful two year old son that has been followed by multiple surgeries. My heart aches for them as it is one of parenting’s worst nightmares come true. I also am in awe of their amazing strength, faith, and love as they honestly share their story and celebrate the little victories with their son. Even in some of their most difficult days, they seem to be able to notice some good moments the keep them uplifted. It is inspiring.

On their own Caring Bridge journal, they say the comments and support from their virtual community is helping to look to the light. I feel a little helpless, thinking are my prayers, thoughts, and comments enough? How else can I give them a long-distance hug across several states?

This isn’t the first time someone I’ve cared about has faced a major medical condition with a child before. My nephew was diagnosed with a heart defect on the day he was born. It was a huge shock to us all then, and I can clearly remember being in the room when the doctor delivered the news. Horrible. Unexpected. Fear. Uncertainty. Prayers. At the time, I didn’t feel equipped with the right words, just as I feel now.

Fortunately, my sister and brother-in-law were supported by an incredible medical team and a local support group for parents of children with heart defects.  These parents understood all too well what my sister and brother in law were going through.  I was happy she had that outlet, knowing they would provide words of support and comfort that I could not based on my own life experience.

There’s no handbook for parents for handling such things. Being a parent is a scary business.

Before and after my nephew’s heart surgery (which now seems like a distant memory, as he is now a healthy, goofy, and energetic almost 3 year old), I did what I could to show my love and support in the most basic ways – making or bringing meals, watching my three-year old nephew, just listening, and fervently praying.

In times of crisis it all seems to come back to the basics of love. Doing our best to act out of love and  simply “be present” in whatever way we can be.

I’m inclined to believe that the right words don’t matter so much because God senses our innermost thoughts and hears our prayers.

In the spirit of not being able to find the right words, I’m going to close this post with a petition for prayer or kind thoughts (whatever your beliefs may be) for my friend’s son and for all families and individuals battling an illness.  Let us also pray for all caregivers, medical professionals, and supporters who care for the sick and their families. May our actions, thoughts, and prayers help wrap patients and their families up in one huge, comforting hug.