From Susan:Isn't it funny how a piece of paper can be either realllly good or reallllly bad???? One little piece of paper may serve as a bill, demanding we pay lots of money. Another little piece of paper serves as a ticket to get you on a plane to a beautiful vacation, or in a door for something really wonderful, like a broadway play or a hilarious movie?
One of the many astounding realizations about kids is how much they tend to LOVE special tickets! We had so much fun as a family over the summers, telling our kids, "Here's how you can get your tickets!"
Daily TicketsSummers often bring the "idol hands are the devil's workshop" danger. To counter this, we typically would have daily expectations of routine and reward....get up, have breakfast, spend some time with God (drawing or singing or praying or dancing or reading the Bible, etc), then earning our 'tickets' to get us into the swimming pool for the afternoon's fun in the sun with friends, or to some other special outing! Typical ways to earn the points needed for a ticket (checked off a big white board) include:
-writing a little,
-doing a little math,
-doing a little art or music -
Once all the list above was completed, you have your 'ticket' to get straight into the pool. Anyone in the family who missed earning one of the points above would have to sit out at the picnic table with mom at the pool for 5 minutes per missing item. If you smack your brother in the head 3 times, this means 3 times of missing the kindness ticket--so 3 times 5 is 15 minutes out at the pool; mommy would read with you or color, but who wants to color in the hot sun when everyone else is splashing?!
Because everyone loves jumping right in the water or into playing with buddies when they get to the pool, rather than hanging out with mommy at the picnic table, the 'ticket' idea above worked great. In the beginning, I actually got one of those cheap party rolls of tickets and gave them out. But after a while, the 'tickets' were pretend and everyone could tell by whether their name had checks for every item, whether they had earned their ticket or not for the day. It made it fun to 'save' the 'money' needed during the day for the 'pool-ticket' or 'out to lunch' ticket or 'go pick blueberries' ticket or whatever the outing was. Daily outings of some type were a normal part of life, as everyone needs something to look forward to every day!
Big Ticket ItemsOccasionally there would be big ticket items.....especially if someone needed some special attention or help or inspiration. Like, "here is your fabulous piano practicing chart! Once you earn 30 checks, for 30 days of practicing, this is your ticket to me taking you and 3 friends to the top of the Westin Peachtree Plaza for lunch." Or "this is the ticket to going to Six Flags with a buddy."
Our InspirationMany of you know that our entire adoption story was borne out of our first-born son Jonny's premature (in my mommy's eyes) death....which led to life for many. Redemption accomplished and applied, I would say. Jesus' early death and resurrection led to life for the world. Jonny's early death and resurrection....ours and his....led to life for a few. And I would say, shockingly, by grace, I would not now change a thing. It is well with his soul and ours.
Well, after he died and one of his beloved teacher's, Lisa Hoover, cleaned out his fourth-grade desk, she found his two "bibles": 1). the NIV and 2). Tom Sawyer. Now, I don't mean to be sacrilegious on you, but Jonny did love these books pretty equally, and copied lots from each! And so I copied him!
Well, if you wanna see the value of tickets, just go to Chapter 4 of Tom Sawyer
And now at this moment, when hope was dead, Tom Sawyer came forward with nine yellow tickets, nine red tickets, and ten blue ones, and demanded a Bible. This was a thunderbolt out of a clear blue sky...Always looking for a way to tie the visible to the invisible, we can also always talk about Jesus being like our ticket to heaven--He is the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Him. And everyone who comes to Him, comes to the Father. So....even when we miss the chance to get our daily little or our longer term big ticket items, there is the ticket to heaven, won by faith. It is a ticket no one can tear up or take away.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy, has caused us to be born again, to a living hope, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance that is unperishable, undefiled, and will not fade away, reserved [WE HAVE A TICKET!] in heaven for you! (1 Peter 1:3-4)
Thank you, Lord, that you are our ticket to all that is good. In Jesus Name. Amen.