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
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
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
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.