Monday, October 25, 2010

MomSense Monday: From Jhen, Spell-A-Thons and Silver Dollars

Spell-A-Thons and Silver Dollars

When Jhen was in kindergarten, one of the PTA fundraisers was a Spell-a-thon. All the kindergartners in her school were given a list of 50 words. They had two weeks to learn the words, and gather monetary pledges for each word spelled correctly. Students who spelled all the words correctly – a hundred percent – would also get a shiny, fresh-from-the-mint silver dollar. 
Jhen came home with her list, excited. Her goal was to get all the spelling words right for one reason only: she wanted that silver dollar. She vowed to do whatever it takes to learn all the words.

“What would you do with that silver dollar?” I asked.

“It’s a surprise!” she whispered with an air of mystery.

She studied her words diligently, and nagged us to quiz her several times a day. At school and at home, she would write her words in order, again and again, going through several pencils and pads of paper. Before her prayers each night at bedtime, we would give her a “practice test”. I would correct her test, put a giant 100 % on top of it, and she would smile her secret smile as she got one night closer to her silver dollar. While I asked friends and neighbors for pledges, she asked God to help her “get a hundred”.

On the night before The Big Spelling Test, as I was getting paper and pencil ready for her final practice test, Jhen stopped me. “I’m not practicing tonight, Mom,” she informed me. “Tonight I’m just gonna relax because I already know I’m gonna get that silver dollar.” So she said her prayers, ending it with “and thank You for the silver dollar.”

As expected, she came home the next day with the shiny silver dollar, still in a sealed cellophane bag. “Now will you tell me what you’re going to do with the silver dollar?” I begged as I hugged her.

She flashed a giant grin as she whispered in my ear, “I’m gonna give it to Jesus!”

“Jesus will love it! Dad and I and Jesus are SO proud of you – you worked so hard!” I pulled out a dollar bill, and told her she could give the dollar bill to Jesus, and we could put the silver dollar in her scrap book. She refused. I offered her a five dollar bill. Still she refused. Finally, I told her I’d give her a twenty-dollar bill to give to Jesus if she’d give me the silver dollar to put in her scrap book. Adamantly she shook her head.

“Mom, I didn’t work hard for the $20 bill. I worked hard for the silver dollar, and that’s what I wanted to give Jesus!”

That Sunday morning, Jhen reverently placed her shiny silver dollar, cellophane and all, in the offering plate. And somewhere in one of the dusty boxes in the garage, is an old silver dollar taped to a $20 bill taped to a yellowed page in her kindergarten scrapbook.

Jesus doesn’t look at the face value of a gift, He places value on the heart of the giver. 

Jhen in her Valentine Tea Party Garb in Kindergarten

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