(whine) “I’m bored.” (whine) “I don’t have any money.” (whine) “I never get to do anything fun like them.”
As a kid having fun always seemed just out of reach as long as I believed my friends next door had more cool stuff than I did. My parents would simply respond with, “You’re creative. You’ll think of something.”
Entertaining ourselves with little or no money can often be frustrating if we look at what others are doing. Here’s how I had a breakthrough.
At age 12 my science teacher gave us a brainstorming task in class. She gave us 10 minutes to write down everything we could do with a paperclip. The first few minutes ticked by and all I had on my paper was “hold papers together.” As I looked around the room everyone else seemed as dumbfounded as I was. She urged us on by saying, “Keep going. What else can you do? It can be anything. It doesn’t have to be what you typically see other people doing with paperclips.” At that moment I had an epiphany and dozens of ideas overflowed in my mind. I frantically wrote down everything I could before the time ran out. I was finally able to move past the ordinary (i.e. hold papers together) and think of the extraordinary (i.e. build a rocket ship model or make a chain necklace).
As a single mom if I didn’t have any money for a movie I’d tell my son, “Let’s play Star Wars instead.” He would tie a sheet around his neck and we’d use sticks for light sabers and act out our favorite scenes. We built many blanket forts with cushions from the couch or old cardboard boxes and sat inside making up stories. Even plain, old sheets of paper took on new life forms when we got creative making hats or folding them into animal shapes.
God has blessed us since we changed our focus. My son is now a young adult who spends most of his time writing songs (also free!). He has never thrown a tantrum wanting something like I see so many kids doing these days in the checkout lanes at the store. Thank you Jesus for teaching us how to be content with what we have. Most of our favorite memories were created that way.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.