Our Priorities Are Just As Straight As They Can Be

My third child is fiercely competitive.  The kind of competitve that turns a simple game of dodge ball into a reason for living. 

This week has been vacation Bible school, and they have been taking up a missions offering all week.  And they’ve made it a competition to see if the boys or the girls can bring the most money.  The winning gender receives that ultimate prize of summertime childhood: a popsicle party.

But you would think they were giving away a Mercedes, based on the response of my son Joseph. 

"MOM!" he moaned at the end of the first day.  "The girls are winning!  I have to send money so the boys will win!"

I told him that what I was sure he meant to say was that he wanted to send money to further the kingdom of our Lord.

Oh, yeah.  That.

This morning, while I’m away from home, I talked to him on the phone as he was en route to VBS.  Clearly, he carried the weight of a dark and fallen world on his shoulders.

"The girls are still ahead," he sighed. 

"That’s great!" I said.  "Just think how many more children will hear about Jesus because of how much you all have given."

He wasn’t impressed.  Based on his response, I think there’s a decent chance I’m going to return from NC to find that my seven year old has hocked all our furniture for cash.

But by gosh, he’ll have a popsicle.

37 thoughts on “Our Priorities Are Just As Straight As They Can Be

  1. LeeAnn (AKA Frazzmom) says:

    Ha Ha! I actually have a friend who (along with her 3 brothers) pulled all the furniture out onto the front lawn and had a garage sale while their parents were both at work (I think they wanted candy money). Fortunately a neighbor called their mom at work and notified her, but not before they had sold the TV!
    Does your homeowners insurance policy covers juvenile garage sales?!!

  2. AmyDe says:

    Too Funny.
    Yes – mine cleaned out the cupboard last week for the prize of Pies in the Face of the VBS director. The constant reminder that we were feeding the hungry got through, but it’s not as “cool” as a pie in a grown-up’s face.
    Here’s hoping you still have a couch!

  3. Becky says:

    This post made me laugh out loud. When I was teaching school, it was amazing how much I was able to get the kids to do for the promise of a Jolly Rancher. Shameful bribery, I know. : )

  4. mumple says:

    Look at the bright side–most of the familier I’ve ever heard about the kids selling off furniture did it for beer money. Or gas money.
    At least your furniture are being sacrificed for a good cause!

  5. Roy says:

    As granddad for a couple of the girls in the competition Shannon mentioned, I, too, support the opposite gender team. (Lots of double meanings in that statement ;D)
    Yesterday afternoon my granddaughters jubilantly trumpeted victory almost tasted. Last night at the VBS parents night the parents, who understood the goal for the giving, came thru with donations that made the mother directing the VBS choke up as she reported the generousity. My elder granddaughter can do the math. She realized that the final day of VBS could bring joys for the boys instead popcycles for the girls.

  6. D Baker says:

    Funny, at our church, instead of a popsicile party- whoever won the boys or girls could cream-pie-in-the-face of the opposite team.

  7. Anna says:

    Hilarious!!! Someday he will remember this VBS and the good he did for the children who have yet to hear of our Lord and Savior. And he will also remember that spreading God’s Message can be fun! 🙂
    God bless!

  8. Ewokgirl says:

    Too funny!
    I think that’s a VBS rite of passage: the great competition between girls and boys for mission money. I don’t have kids, so one year I brought in my change in baggies and started handing it out to various girls to put in the girls’ missions bucket. (Hey, I’m a girl! I want the girls to win!) The boys were MAD! LOL. Ah, summer.

  9. Lily says:

    The gender rivalry is too funny. My 7 y.o. likes and plays with girls, but he has a deep-rooted bias about females. Anytime he sees a woman in white lab coat in a hospital setting, he calls them nurses. The funny thing is both of his pediatricians are women, and two of his aunts are doctors, too.

  10. Jane says:

    There’s something about competitive VBS activities with prizes that has always bothered me. Two years ago my boys attended one where there was not only a competition for which group had the most offering, but they also gave away fairly large toys/games/etc. for bringing the most guests. Our boys had recruited all their friends to sign up with them in the first place, so their “guests” didn’t count – and I heard all week about how unfair it was that they couldn’t win a Super-soaker. The REAL reason for collecting offering and encouraging friends to attend was totally lost in the competition – no matter how hard we tried to get it across.
    They attended a different VBS last week – the mission for the week was a baby item drive (lotion, wipes, diapers, etc.). The challenge for the entire group was to try to fill the canoe at the front of the church (it was an island theme). No competition, just lets see how much we can collect to help mothers and babies through the Pregnancy Care Center. All of the kids were so proud of how much they were able to collect as a GROUP.

  11. Christine @ Live to Learn says:

    My second born is like that too. He will do anything if there is competition in it. He loves the thrill. On the other hand, my first born shuns any type of competition.
    Gotta love their uniqueness!

  12. Stephanie says:

    Hey, if the popsicle party is the motivator behind getting more money for the missions project I say, HAVE AT IT! Whatever it takes. Next time, maybe he could set up a popsicle stand, sell his own popsicles, and then donate that money. Then he’d be doing it on his own.
    Too cute!

  13. Luke Holzmann says:

    I have to say that I am really against competitions for spiritual “gains”–and gender wars in particular–as well.
    When I was a camp leader years ago, I took it upon myself to learn the clapping game the girls were playing in the lunch line. By the end of the week, the boys in my cabin were standing the circle with the girls playing the game. I’d never seen that happen before!
    I can only hope that my small introduction to the idea of partnering with girls has enabled them all to better love, honor, and serve with the fairer sex.

  14. Jenny says:

    Too funny!!! This was my life last week as a crew leader for our VBS. Every day they would announce which gender won and how much money was raised. And every day the kids would scream louder and LOUDER. What I do appreciate about the whole missionary giving aspect of VBS is the following year we show the kids what their money did for God’s kingdom.

  15. Edna says:

    I love the title of this post! And it gave me such a good laugh as I remembered the good old days with my own children.

  16. Risha says:

    I still can remember the good ol’ VBS days of the penny competition between the boys and the girls- over 20 years later! I don’t remember what the prize was, though…
    Ah, childhood memories…

  17. Reformed Grits says:

    Well… at least he cares! After our VBS last week, my 9 year old was talking about who raised the most $$ for missions. I said, “I didn’t know you were doing a missions thing for VBS! You didn’t even ask for money or jobs or anything!!” (Feeling a bit mortified that we didn’t contribute, actually.)
    To which my bluntly honest heathen replied, “I don’t care about missions AT ALL.”
    Yea, did I mention my DH and I have been short-term missionaries and are headed to full-time ministry?
    I think we have some work to do. Help us, Holy Spirit!!!!!!!!!

  18. Kathleen says:

    That is just so cute! Kids are just so adorable and what lessons we can learn from them… I wonder just how crazy I would get if a Mercedes was on the line?

  19. CarolinaMama says:

    Too funny. And true. Start ’em young. Love that Chicago to Charlotte. Craziness. They used to do that when I would fly New Orleans to Colorado – via Chicago. At least, I got to see my brother and his family. You must be on United. 😉 Let us know when you get here… live blogging. 🙂 Warmly, CarolinaMama

  20. World's Greatest Mommy says:

    My kids’ school did a canned food drive, but I was the one who lost perspective. The kids were cleaning out the pantry for all the poor children without any food when I shouted, “Stop.” “Not my gourmet canned pie fillings..”
    They stared at me like I was a really bad person…but those pie fillings are hmmm good. They eat them too!

  21. Kelly says:

    We had the same thoughts going on over here at our house. In fact, they were probably egging each other on. Also, one of the workers told me that at the program Thursday night when Lukes picture flashed up in the slide show all the little girls screamed. He’s such a rock star at the ripe ol’ age of 9. It did my heart glad. Isn’t that funny? How is the conference? I hope well.

  22. Robyn says:

    Oh my gosh. My dad was assoc pastor of my church when I was little. I remember one VBS the pastor and my dad made a deal with the kids that if they brought in x amount of money that they would throw a pie in each other’s face. Of course, the kids did. I was about 4 at the time and didn’t realize that pies didn’t hurt faces. The pastor’s son and I were the same age and started crying hysterically when we thought that our dads had somehow injured each other with plates full of Cool Whip. I remember the moment so vividly even today.
    VBS can be a scary place, I tell ya.

  23. Kara Messner says:

    Oh, this is hysterical. I remember feeling those same things as a child and trying desperately to win something at camp or VBS, all the while draining my parents financially……oh, and helping the kingdom. 🙂 Funny, funny story.

  24. Jane says:

    Funny! Reminds me of what my husband might have done at that age. Now the trick is to channel all that spirit into positive directions . . . Best wishes!

  25. Janelle says:

    That is awesome! Our church does the same exact thing and it is hilarious to watch the faces of the kids when we announce who is ahead each day!

  26. Jenn says:

    I can totally relate tonight!!! We went bowling for the first time tonight with my 4 and 7 year old sons – I was so excited I brought my camera! When they realized that bowling was harder than it is on the wii and they weren’t bowling strikes and spares every time, then there were tears! Oh brother…does this just keep getting worse? Is that what you’re telling me?? (moan)

  27. Bailey's Leaf says:

    Director of VBS here. I have to say, I always thought that the Boys Vs. Girls competition was pretty lame. Now, I think that they actually gave more. And here, I never thought it made a difference. It’s not like they won anything other than the satisfaction of knowing that they brought in more. But, all monetary donations that we collected were going to purchase a digital camera for our missionaries to Nairobi, Kenya, Ken and Judy Boothe. In the end, the children pulled together and brought in $449.49. How awesome is that?! Not only do they get the camera that they dreamed of, but also some accessories to go with! 🙂

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