Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Paper Chain of Peace

I was having one of those days.  You know the kind.  When it feels like the things you're trying to do to bring your family closer and make this season more meaningful just aren't making any difference.  I was so on the ball though!  It had to work out! We had decorated the tree the first Monday of the month and I had this cute poem about service and two paper stars to pass out for people to leave every time they did some anonymous service.  Whoever found the star was supposed to pay it forward and do something nice for someone else too.  Well, over a week had passed and the stars had moved twice. (Mommy sigh...)

I decided we needed to try something else before the month was over and I felt like the Grinch.  I knew we were on the right track as far as serving each other,  For the monthly theme of Peace we've been working on memorizing "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." (Luke 2:14)  Peace truly comes from doing good for each other.  That is what the Savior did every day of his life and I wanted my kids to really feel the peace of serving this month.

So, we did what any mother of small children would do.  WE MADE A PAPER CHAIN!!!  Every time someone did some service they got to write it on a strip of paper and add a loop.  The writing is on the inside, so there's not a lot of praise or recognition, just a beautiful visual representation of the love that is spreading in our home.  And the PEACE that is spreading in our home...
Tonight, after getting to add some additional loops for donating some of their toys to charity, this is how long it just 3 days!!!!  And it was a very sweet surprise to hear them say to me "Mommy we have a surprise for you in our room!  You've got to go see it!"  We had worked on cleaning it together for over an hour, so I knew it was clean.  What could they possibly have done?  I didn't know that they had placed one of the original stars there  where they had cleaned.
Nothing brings more frustration to me than feeling like I'm not getting through to my kids and helping them understand the basic virtues of charity, patience and selflessness.  The bickering and complaining really gets to me.  It's so easy when schedules are busy and we see each other every day to take each other for granted, to not take the time to treat each other as kindly and carefully as we should.  But when they DO GET IT, that is the BIGGEST sense of peace.  There is nothing in the world I want more than the feeling of "Yes.  They are understanding the joy that comes from choosing the right."

I think we are all excited to see how long this Paper Chain of Peace becomes this month.  It's our way of remembering Christ and trying to be more like him.  To close I want to share this quote from Elder Richard G. Scott that brings it all home:

"The ideal place for... peace is within the walls of our own homes, where we have done all we can to make the Lord Jesus Christ the centerpiece."

Good luck in your teaching efforts this week!  The Gospel IS true!  Your efforts ARE WORTH IT!
Merry CHRISTmas!
Love, Eva          
P.S. One more picture of the chain and Sammy flexing his muscles!
P.P.S. The poem about the star is right beneath this last picture.

May the Christmas spirit warm your heart 
As you serve and do you part
Looking out for those in need
Careful that you are not seen
Making beds and hanging coats
Leaving love notes that you wrote 
Then leave a star so they will feel
That the light of Christ is real
For secret acts of love and hope
Bring his Peace into our home

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