Saturday, February 18, 2006

Scalzi's Weekend Assignment

Maybe doing this will jump start my frozen weekend.

Weekend Assignment #99: "What do others think they could do to make a difference? It doesn't have to be life-altering, as the smallest conception can bring the biggest results."

In addition to things one
could do, Scalzi also adds in that if we are currently doing things we think make a difference, we can mention those, too.

Okay. Currently I'm doing nothing to give back to my community except shop as hard and as often as I can locally. I did spend several years as a battered women's advocate until the whole feminist philosophy of SHE HAS TO WANT TO DO IT HERSELF just finally pissed me the hell off one too many times and I quit.

Last year, one of my kids sent me a mother's day card that said, "A good mom lets you lick the beaters. . ." on the front. Inside it said, "Great moms turn the mixer off first."

Then she added:  "This card reminded me of being able to lick the beaters after mixing the cookie dough. . ."  I'm pretty sure I turned the beaters off.

It was nice that she remembered those times baking in the kitchen. Making chocolate chip, peanut butter, and oatmeal cookies and licking the beaters and the bowl. Brownie batter was good, too.

For some time I've been trying to think of a way to work with kids without going back to school for a degree in counseling. social work, or yuck, psychology. Not that I don't espouse all that stuff -- I just hate having to remember Jung's first name and anything about Freud for all the tests.

Now that I've reached an age when most women are grandmas, it occurred to me I could do a grandma thing and bake cookies with kids after school.

It wouldn't be babysitting. Housekeepers and sitters wouldn't lose their jobs. It wouldn't be therapy. I'm much better than that. It would be called Cookies and Milk -- a project for kids who were home after school. Or home alone after dinner some evening. When Mom and Dad can't be there.

I would supervise making and baking the cookies. They would supply the milk. They could help as much as they wanted. Or just watch and wait until the cookies were done. I could talk to them while I worked, find out what's making them tick. I could come back every week, every month, or once a year. Whatever worked.

After an hour, they'd get to enjoy a batch of warm cookies and cold milk and we could talk. Or not talk.

The second part of the equation would follow. We would have made a huge quadruple batch, so there would be enough to give away. We'd put them in a box, make a card and the kids and their parents could drop them off at the police station, fire station, park district, old folks home [where I'll be living], or bring them to school to share with their class. The idea is for the kid to hand off the box.

This would work with taciturn teenagers too, who are often left to their own devices after school. Chances of some teen helping bake cookies when he or she would rather be on the computer might be slim, but I've never met a kid of any age who didn't like EATING cookies with a tall glass of milk. To get them out of their rooms, they would only get to eat them while they were warm -- okay they could keep a few, too. Otherwise the cookies would all be donated.

Letting them decide who should get the rest of the batch might be a small step to getting the me me me generation to step out of themselves a bit.

Making cookies is like driving in the car. A lot of good conversation can happen. Sometimes just talking is all a kid needs. Nothing earthshaking has to be solved. It's all about listening. 

Just a thought.

ALSO -- I'd love to dress up as the Tooth Fairy and show up at a kid's house with a new toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste plus a crisp dollar bill in exchange for that gnarly tooth that just fell out.

Parents love to read to their kids, but it might also be fun to dress up as Mother Goose -- okay, a bonnet and some glasses -- and come read to little children for a special occasion.

Finally, in the Chicago metro area there are seven or eight million people. Each day there are around two thousand domestic violence calls. Over two hundred thousand a year. In Chicago alone. However, In the entire metro area there are only 500 beds. I think there should be a safe house for every community in the city and each suburb. So a family can have a place to go overnight or for as longas a week or a month to escape from abuse. It would be nice if there were a Habitat for Humanity type project for this. 

Extra Credit: Name someone you know who you admire for making a difference.

There's some woman here who was profiled after Katrina. She is called the Shoe Lady. He organization is called Share Your Soles. She started collecting shoes a few years ago. After her garage got filled with donations and she couldn't stop them from coming in, she moved to a larger building.  Now she's in an enormous warehouse where volunteers take gently used shoes, clean them up and send them where they're needed -- to Africa, to local places hit by disasters, to any spot where shoes can help.

You could do the same with tennis rackets, basketballs, all kinds of sports equipment, too.  Who knows what else.

Okay, today I think I'll drive to Wisconsin for a Powerball ticket to fund all these ideas. After I heat up the car for an hour.


suzypwr said...

I was a social worker for decades and never took a social work class. So it can be done.

The problem with designated safe houses is that the person people are hiding from find them and burn them down or break in and hurt/murder people.

But cookies. How can you go wrong with cookies? I never used an electric mixer to make cookies. I never even considered it. Isn't the dough too stiff for that?


jevanslink said...

We used beaters until it was time for the flour. Most people freak because of raw egss. As for SAFE HOUSES and nutso spouses -- the house has to be big enough for a large number of people, not just one family by themselves, actually. Plus Safe Houses are secret. That's why they're safe.  I never once worried about some asshead finding a woman who had wanted to escape for good -- UNLESS she left clues and that did happen.  *SIGH* Don't get me started.  Mrs. L

ksquester said...

Excellent ideas Mrs. L. As for the tooth fairy.........dollar bills are so out. These kids are madking a killing nowadays. The going rate in the midwest is 5 to 10 sure to remember to take the tooth with you. My grandson made 10.00 because the stupide tooth fairy didn't pick up the tooth from the night before. With blended families, the kids often take them to two houses to collect. The shoe that is a GREAT idea!   Anne (Ruby Vonderharr in disguise)

gdireneoe said...

I'm so glad I saw your comment at John's weekend assignment...I thought you'd stopped posting here and I deleted you from my alerts.  I really enjoy your entries and have missed them.  I know many of you have other blogs created now...I just have to find a groove to keep those rolling for myself.  I shop locally as much as I can too.  I was glad to see your comment on, "...She has to want to..."  My sister was a battered woman for ten years.  I helped hide her and her boys for three months until she was placed in a safe house.  Scary thing is...the sick bastard had PIs following everything she did...including the local authorities.  He was/is a very wealthy, very well known doctor with plenty of money and power...he knew where she was the whole time.  Because she finally started to have it all documented, the authorities were willing/able to step in and protect her and her boys.  I'm a "lick the beaters" kinda mom too:)...eggs be damned! ;)  C.

swibirun said...

OK, I am now imagining a 6 foot tooth fairy with those big fuzzy boots or gloves that you had in that snow shoveling picture....hilarious, I love it.

Loved the card from your daughter....excellent:)

Most recent entry was 2/17/06

debbted said...

Excellent entry as I expected it would be! Let us know if you really do the okkies and milk project; sounds like a winner! :-) Sassy

bgilmore725 said...

What a great idea, Cookies and milk! Who'd a thunk? I can't think of any kid who wouldn't enjoy spending time with a sensitive, witty, intuitive, cookie baking grandma/aunt/friend! I love your sense of humor.  You make a difference, and always have, and will continue to do so til your last breath. Thanks... I will be back for another cookie! Bea

mombzbe said...

What a nice idea.  You're right, everyone loves cookies and milk. :)
My kids love to help lick the beaters, the spoon, the bowl...I've cought more than one hand trying to swipe some dough when I'm not looking.  My little chefs. lol