I am trusted with a group of hoodlum pre-teen girls from my church. Just to be clear – all kids are hoodlums; I don’t mean that in a derogatory way. (That’s what I called my own when they were little, and now all adorable children have that label.)
This group of girls meets with me twice a month, and we try to plan activities that help us learn, grow, and serve. Sometimes it’s hard coming up with something meaningful that I can manage with a dozen squealing hoodlums, but we hit the jackpot last week!
I remember what a stress it was to wrap gifts at Christmastime. The shopping and baking come more easily to me, but wrapping and labeling the gifts just seemed like a huge chore hanging over my head. Often, my husband and I would tackle it on Christmas Eve, and end up staying up much later than we wanted to.
Now that my own hoodlums are grown, I don’t feel that stress anymore and I realized that with the help of my pre-teen helpers, I could relieve other moms and dads of the dreaded wrapping marathon.
I posted on my Facebook page that I was organizing an activity for my group of girls, and we were willing to wrap all the presents they wanted to bring us. At first, people were reluctant to take me up on it, but I set a date and told people they were helping these girls learn a basic skill and also serve their community. That did it! On the appointed day, I had a huge stack of presents for the girls to tackle!
They learned the basics of wrapping, labeling and different options for ribbons. Then I gave them each a stack and watched to see what would happen. They struggled and had some difficulties with awkward packages, curling ribbon that was wiley, and labels that stuck together. We resolved those issues together and it was wonderful to see them gain confidence as their skills improved. No, the packages weren’t perfect. If I’m completely honest, I might admit that I re-wrapped two after the girls had gone home. BUT! They accomplished a huge task with smiles on their faces and a willing attitude. The families they served are incredibly grateful for their time-saving favor and have asked if we’ll do it next year. My answer? You bet!