My cousin D has a daughter who is the same age as Katie and also in the fourth grade. Her daughter, D Jr., and Katie both have a problem with bringing home their work from school. D tried every threat, promise and punishment she could think of, but no luck. D Jr. still consistently forgot to bring her homework home. D finally came up with a solution. D Jr. loves clothes and is a stickler about her appearance. D told her that everytime she forgot her homework, D was going to pick out the clothes D Jr. would wear to school the next day. It only took a time or two of D Jr. having to wear the God-awful clothes her mother chose to teach D Jr. to bring her work home.
Katie has the same problem. Her homework gets left at school night after night. Not so hard to remember, I thought, but evidently I was wrong. We've prodded, pushed, cajolled and threatened. With limited success.
When Katie came to live with us full time this summer, we started attending church on Wednesday nights. I could tell you it was because we wanted to expose her to as many good influences as possible. Or that we wanted to set a good example for her and be more faithful to the church. Or that we wanted her to be exposed to as much positive teaching as we could. Of course, you wouldn't believe any of that.
The truth is we started going to Wednesday night services because they serve a really good meal and Jackson was tired of cooking dinner every night.
Our church has a thoughtful, perceptive Children's minister. She made it a point to invite Katie to get involved in the children's choirs that meet after the meal. For some as yet undiscovered reason, Katie was uninterested. The minister approached her a couple of times but Katie wanted no part of it. So, after a couple of weeks, the minister approached Katie again. This time she told her she had a special job for her. They needed some extra help with the little kids in the nursery during Wednesday night choir practice. Could they count on Katie?
Could they ever! The minister had hit on the perfect plan. Katie feels like she has a special occupation all her own. The actual nursery workers are college students and education majors who are student teaching at Katie's school. Katie feels like she has hit the big time by getting to hang out with them. They pay her in band-aids each week. I'm not sure who's idea that was (I suspect Katie) but I'm glad to know she works so cheap. Katie loves this job so much she won't hear of us skipping a Wednesday night service. Truthfully, most of the time I would rather be sitting at home in front of the fireplace rather than going to church, but Katie would hitchhike if she thought we weren't going to drive her.
This week Katie has been especially lax with the homework. Jackson lectured on the way to school this morning. Only this time he had a new approach. He told her if she didn't bring her work home she wasn't going to get to go to church tonight. Katie was stunned. She couldn't believe we'd actually make her stay home from church. Jackson made it clear that he was serious.
Guess where I'm writing this? At church.
Guess what Katie is doing when we get home? Her homework.