Why Project Day had to be.
My idea for Project Day came about because of a mindset. If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that I’ve long been a proponent of “Figure out the problem, then find a solution to fix it.”
That’s how Project Day came about. I had an idea that I wanted to be a writer. But to do that, I had to write. I also had three, and a few months later, four kids under six. Therein was the problem. How was I going to find time to write when there was so much to do, so many voices calling my name, and so many children to hold and cuddle?
There were days Dave could take some of the kids with him on the farm where we lived. But he couldn’t take them all, and he couldn’t take them all days. That was the other problem.
I recognized that my first responsibility after my time with God was to take care of my kids. Nobody else could do it like I could, I knew. But then, where was the time for me?!
That was the problem. Now I had to find a solution. I did. We called it Project Day. Every Tuesday was Project Day.
Getting ready, getting set
I geared my entire week toward this day. Monday, especially, was geared toward the next day.
The kids had to help. We tidied the house from the weekend and all the laundry was washed, hung out, folded, and put away.
When Tuesday came, we were ready! Every Tuesday morning, my entire focus was on my kids. I scoured books for ideas (before the days of Google) and planned projects that fit with the seasons. These books are still on my shelves; occasionally, I pull them off for more ideas for kids’ classes; soon I’ll be using them with my grandkids, I’m sure.
We didn’t do anything fancy; we used what we had and what nature provided us outdoors. One day we walked out the farm lane and picked as many different shapes, sizes, and colors of leaves. We placed them between pages of heavy books, and the leaves became pressed over a few days. The next week we designed our own tree on the kitchen wall. Sometimes we created paintings with finger paint; other days we molded clay or play dough.
On some days, we played their favorite game. I helped make a tent indoors and we ate lunch there. We made a tent on the wash line in the yard and played cowboys and Indians. I usually read a story that went with our “theme”. By the time morning passed and lunch was served, the kids were ready for naps or quiet times. I allowed the older boys to play quietly on the condition that the house stayed quiet so the little ones could sleep. They knew that, since I had spent my morning with them, they needed to give me the afternoon. They also knew that, if their lack of cooperation kept me from the typewriter on this one afternoon, they’d lose Project Day the following week. Nobody, but nobody, wanted to lose Project Day!
That is why, every Tuesday afternoon, I trudged upstairs to my typewriter (before the days of computers) and pounded away at the typewriter keys. Looking back, I realize it was during this time period that my first article was accepted for a magazine publication.
Throughout the week and especially on Tuesday mornings, I “wrote” articles in my mind, often getting ideas from my own kiddos. By the time I got to the typewriter in the afternoon, I knew just what I wanted to accomplish in those few hours.
Of course I had other moments, and some evenings, when Dave played with the kids and I completed a manuscript for send-off (before the days of file-attachment and e-mails). Yet that Tuesday afternoon became my time with the blessing of my kids.
It worked for us because we figured out the problem, planned a solution, and implemented the plan with all of us working together. It can work for you, too!
The book Mudluscious can be viewed and purchased here.
Click on the link below to view and purchase Channels to Children.