9/12/2014

Sixty Minutes with 60 Kids


There were six of us: four from OMF Literature, a storyteller, and me in a van. Our trip to San Pablo, Laguna took a hurried lunch and two hours on a bumper-to-bumper highway. It took another hour to get the venue ready.

Then the program began—storytelling of The White Shoes, a prize-filled game, and finally, book signing (where I made time to briefly interact with each one).

This book activity, mounted by Expressions Bookstore at Ultimart Mall, brought in about 60 kids and lasted 60 minutes.

It took us longer to get home—a hurried early supper, two and a half hours on the road, with vehicles at a standstill in most stretches, and heavy rain.

"Was it worth all that trouble?" I whined to Tony after emoting and narrating what we had just gone through.

His belligerence surprised me. "More than worth it!" he scowled. "It's not toothpaste you are selling,  where ROI is measured in pesos and cents. Sixty or six kids . . ."

" . . . the ROI is unquantifiable!" I finished—and punctuated—his sentence, not for him, but for me. I caught myself in time, before totally regressing to my workplace obsession of making every minute of my time productive.

Between the two of us, Tony, I believe, should have been the children's book author

Now looking back, and reviewing our photos, the 60 minutes spent with 60 enthusiastic and unusually attentive 6-to-10-year-olds, learning the importance of books, of reading, of listening, of being grateful (especially for the things God has blessed you with, the main message of  The White Shoes), was worth every bit of trouble to and from the place where I was privileged to meet them.

In fact, the time, effort, and logistics splurged on the event were a small price to pay for the values they and I learned in 60 minutes. 

I'll have to see to my propensity for whining. Here's where I pray, and pray hard, for more grace.

"Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him." Psalm 127:3 (NLT)


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