In the first days of October I was consumed with a long list of preparations I alone was responsible to complete before our family could be free and clear to go to Uganda for our adoption. My desk felt like someone with a mean sense of humor was suspended above it pouring out a tub of colorful lego bricks over me, and each brick represented one more thing to do. It’s the closest to feeling buried in work that I’ve personally come. At that precise moment Jack approached me with one of his “I’m not going to take no for an answer” questions: “Mom, I need you to help me do something. Pleeezzz.” I looked up giving him the signal that he had chosen very poor timing to ask me to do more. But there was a barrage of pleases and I need yous. Ok, what is it? Then he told me, “I want to do my own fundraiser.”
He knew I sent out announcements to friends and family that we were going to be on our way to Uganda and they in response were sending us money to help with some ministries there. So I tried to tell him gently that this was a family fundraiser and he didn’t really need to do his own. I was honestly thinking I couldn’t bear another project at the moment and I hoped he’d be easily deterred.
He wasn’t. “No, I really want to do my own fundraiser.” I slumped my shoulders and used a tone in my voice that suggested I was at the end of my rope, “Why?” Then he explained, “Well it is really bothering me that kids in Uganda can’t go to school and they have to just sit at home every day. I think every kid should be able to go to school. And I’m going to do something to help.” That’s when my bad attitude hit a brick wall. I could see he had thought about this and it wasn’t motivated out of boredom. He was responding to information he had learned from Pastor Robert’s visit weeks before. I had a moral duty as his mother to encourage his initiative no matter how busy my life was at the moment. I really believe encouragement is oxygen to the soul and this little boy was willing to do something to help others. I want his soul to be encouraged in that direction. His innocent thoughtfulness was the jolt of espresso that I needed.
“Ok Jack, what do you want to do?” I hardly had the words out before he said, “I want to bake pumpkin bread and sell it to raise money so kids can go to school in Uganda.” I thought about it and realized that wasn’t such a difficult idea to make happen. He already knew how to make pumpkin bread because the year before when Jordan was baking artisan bread Jack insisted on learning how to make his own bread. I told him,” sure, next weekend we’ll get started on that”. But, I was dealing with Jack who has a tenacious, persistent personalityand so he promptly informed me he was ready to do it now. I knew if I dropped everything and just did it I could all the more sooner get back to clearing the mess on my desk. So we went to the kitchen to make pumpkin bread.
The bread was hardly cool before he again was tugging my sleeve to accompany him to his friend’s house to sell it. We walked across the cul-de-sac and when we got to the door he got cold feet and wanted to change his mind. I wouldn’t let him. I reminded him to just tell them why you want to sell bread and they will be happy to buy it. So Jack explained to his friend’s father,”I am going to Africa to get my sister and there are children there who don’t get to go to school and this makes me really sad so I am selling pumpking bread to help them get an education.” Sold! And the price of five dollars was rejected because it was too low. The man handed him a ten and said that is what you should sell your bread for young man. And you are doing a great thing!
Jack skipped home with his money balled in his fist grinning like he made the winning score. Both of us were happy. I abandoned the work that was so important before, we went to the grocery store and loaded the cart with cans of pumpkin, eggs, butter, spices, vanilla, flour and sugar. We were going to have an old fashioned bake sale.
It’s one month later and he’s raised 1600 dollars baking and delivering every loaf himself. I’m going to tell you more tomorrow.