When I had related the following story to my mom she had said “$1 and a dream” – the lottery slogan. Anyway this week I saw how a simple $1 purchase could excite a child and give me a sense of delight. I had ventured into Target to get some things I needed to replenish my mother’s assisted living stash – toothpaste, shampoo. I was also looking for “labeling tape” to be able to label the new shirts I had purchased for my dad. I didn’t find “labeling tape”. I actually ended up writing his name on his collar using a Sharpie. With a graying population and so many people in assisted living or nursing homes, I think there is a market for “labeling tape” but what do I know. When you enter most Targets they have those $1 bins which I am sure are the bane of every mom’s existence but if you need to restock the treasure box at church they are great. I found a package of glow in the dark insects and another package of glow in the dark snakes. Perfect for the treasure box. And then I saw it. The things little girl’s dreams are made of “a crown headband with little diamonds.” But it wasn’t your average crown it was made of a plush, soft material, a little understated but with enough blink to shine. The minute I saw it I knew there was a child at church who would just love it. The crown headband was available in a couple of colors – pink, purple. I knew the child I had in mind would love purple.
To encourage the kiddos to bring their supplies, do their assignments and behave at quizzing on Wednesday nights I have a point system. The children get 1 point each for attendance, bringing your student book, bringing your Bible, bringing your scripture booklet and just because. Just because is when for no particular reason Miss Ann gives you a point. You get 2 points each for doing your homework, bringing a friend and memorizing the Bible verse. The children can’t actually ever lose their points because they have earned them but their points can be frozen. Frozen points mean you have “stepped over the line.” That doesn’t happen very often but it could 🙂 Anyway at the end of each weekly class we “do points.” After the points for that week have been tallied, the children have a choice to spend or save their points. The save or spend choice teaches another life lesson but don’t tell my kiddos. You can spend your points as follows: 5 points for the candy bag, 10 points for the treasure box, 15 for the scripture cd, 20 for the dog tags, 25 for the memory verse poster, 50 or 100 points are some kind of super treat – a trip for ice cream or bowling, something we do together. We still need to spend their 50/100 points from last year. There has been much discussion about where to go, etc. Unfortunately busy schedules this summer didn’t allow us to spend those points.
This week was the second week of quizzing. I hadn’t been there the first week because of my surgery so points didn’t start until this week. I gave everyone 5 points for the first week just because. I reminded them that we would be spending our leftover points from the last school year in the near future. And we were starting points over for this year. And then we did points for this week. Everyone decided to save their points except for my youngest student. She wanted to spend 10 of her 12 points on the treasure box. So I placed the treasure box on the table in front of her and she opened it. And her face said it all “a crown” – it was the perfect reaction. It was the reaction I had known I would see when I spotted that $1 crown in Target. She was so excited. I cut the tags off of the crown and placed it on her head and I think she was suddenly standing straighter and walking taller. I know her smile was infectious. It was an absolutely delightful moment for all of us.
It makes me smile to think about how spending $1 made a little girl’s day. I hope I remember her squeals of delight for a long time. I also hope I never forget that even in today’s world you can wow a 6-year-old girl with a dollar crown. It was fabulous.