Have your children ever brought a fun, but yet timing consuming project to you asking for your help? Were you encouraging and supportive? Or did you decide you didn’t have the time to invest? Did you take advantage of the teachable moments God provides along the way of raising your children?
One such amazing moment occurred for me on a sun shiny afternoon. “Mom, can we make this cat? Don’t you think this would be so much fun?” asked Stephanie, as she came rushing into the kitchen, wearing a huge smile. “See! Look!”
Stephanie placed the magazine article in my hands. There was a picture and drawing of a huge shellac cat made of newspapers and brown paper bags! In fact, it was bigger than my ten year old daughter. Making the cat would be fairly inexpensive for it was made mostly from newspapers, large brown paper bags, craft paints, and shellac paint.
“Wow! This project will make quite a cat! Well, the cost will be next to nothing, but Stephanie do you realize how much time this project could take?” I asked.
“No, but; I really want to make this!” she pleaded.
“Are you willing to stick this out until completed? I need your 100% commitment!” I informed Stephanie. I always do my best to teach my kids to stay with a project until completion, no matter how tedious or challenging.
“Yes, I will!” she agreed as she looked me in the eye.
As a devoted homeschooling mom, I was always looking for teachable moments to help my kids learn. I, also, strongly desired for them to have fun learning. Life is too short not to have fun. I knew this project would be time consuming, but it would be a great time to have fun together, to teach perseverance, to work hard, and to create something unusual.
We made the head, body, legs, and tail out of brown paper bags being stuffed with wadded up newspapers. Scattered newspapers covered the family room floor. Stephanie and I wadded up newspapers stuffing them in the brown paper bags. We laughed at how our fingers turned black from the newspaper print. “You have a black smudge on your nose, Stephanie.” I said.
Stephanie rubbed her nose and chin smearing additional black ink on her nose. “Go to the mirror!” I suggested.
She went to the mirror. When she saw the ink, she laughed.
We gradually shaped them into the head and body. It was fun watching the project come together. After we finished stuffing newspapers in brown paper bags in the shape of a cat, we were ready to paint the cat. Stephanie wanted it to be a snow tiger. She painted the cat all white first using craft paint.
“Do I need to put another coat of white?” Stephanie asked.
“Yes, it looks like the newspaper printed is showing through, but we need to let this coat dry first so probably tomorrow would be good.” I said.
“Good, because I am tired!” said Stephanie.
After we were done painting white, we painted black strips. When this paint dried we gave it two coats of shellac.
The project required days of hard work and fun. We placed the finished project on the front porch for awhile.
Stephanie demonstrated the commitment to see her project through to completion. I am proud of her. Nido R. Qubein wrote in his book titled, Attitude: The Remarkable Power of Optimism about decisions and commitments.
“A decision is made with the brain. A commitment is made with the heart. Therefore,
a commitment is much deeper and more binding that a decision.
Commitment involves feelings as well as thinking. It is the result of a well-
documented formula: Thoughts plus feelings equal action.
Everything you do has to be born in the brain as an idea. That idea gives birth to a
feeling. You act on the basis of the feeling. Therefore, your actions turn your
thoughts into reality, once you have been motivated by your feelings.
The deeper and more intense your feelings, the more powerful the motivation to turn
thoughts into action.
The thought creates a vision. The feeling makes the vision glow. Action brings the
vision to life.”
Was it worth it for Stephanie to see her vision come to pass? Absolutely, she persevered through the days. Each day was fun even though there were challenges such as the time it took to complete the project, running out of newspapers, cleaning up the mess, and so forth. The best part is teaching my daughter about perseverance and integrity. Two character traits everyone should develop.
“Let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season you shall reap, if we faint not.” Galatians 6:9