Wednesday, August 24

Glass Half-full

So many things running through my head. Lots of stuff vying for my attention. Note - I did not say that there were many voices in my head. Just a lot going on. And so much of it, I really can't verbalize how I feel. Because almost all of it has up-sides and down-sides. I'm just going to try really hard to focus on the up-sides. Which ain't always easy.

I will comment on one thing: JIFF starts tomorrow night.

Up side: seeing the kids again!
Down side: seeing the kids again!

No, I'm kidding. Mostly.

Denise and I are sharing a station again this year. 2 weeks her, 2 weeks me. Her "curriculum" is going to be about money. I wish I had learned a lot of what she covers back when I was this young. One of the early topics is "Wants vs. Needs" and I still need to take that class.

Needs for these guys would be school supplies, shelter, food. And wants would be things like video games, candy, cell phones. And she teaches that needs have to always go into the budget before wants. Shoot...I should try that!

Then they learn how to make a basic budget - and they draw what their "job" and income are. She said she was never more satisfied with her efforts than when one of the guys had an epiphany. Looking at the fact that his expenses were out pacing his income...and they examined where he could cut some "wants" (like cable, big car payment)...and ends still weren't meeting.

The young man said "then I need to increase my income." And she asked how he could do that. And he said that he could get a better job. And she asked again - how do you do that?
And he said that he should get a good education and have a career instead of a job.


I won't pretend that every student will get it. Or even try to. But for that one (or more) that does - there is a changed perspective. And that is worth the effort.

For Chip Shop this year I'm going to do one week where the JIFFers have a chance to earn some chips. This year, they'll have the opportunity to do a job around the church one session per month - and they will be rewarded according to their effort. One group will straighten the sanctuary and make sure the pew racks are properly filled. One group will swiffer and sweep the entranceways to the church...might have to be two groups...I think that church has about 10 outside doors. I'll come up with one more task, I'm sure...maybe we can fold the bulletins!

Two things accomplished: tasks get done that our part-time custodian couldn't possibly get done AND the students get a chance to contribute their efforts. Maybe we'll even develop pride in a job well done. That is something worth praying for. half full...JIFF is going to be great this year!!

And May will be here before we know it.


  1. Thanks Chris for seeing the glass half-full. And for putting into print what I'll share with them tonight... you did a great summary! :)
    When I taught this money class the last time, I had them play the board game "Life" after we'd gone through most of the lessons on needs vs. wants and budgeting and even career vs. job. The rules of the game state that you have to do whatever the space that you land on tells you to do. I was thrilled when one of the boys said, "Ms. Denise, the space says that I have to get married. But I don't have a house yet and I still haven't paid off college AND I'm just getting started in my career. I can't get married!" And so we changed the rules of LIFE - you can skip doing what the space tells you to do if you can logically tell me why. I was so proud of him!
    Here's to a new year at JIFF... and my sissy for giving me 2 weeks OFF each month.

  2. Sure makes a dad proud !! Thanks girls !!