Typically when my oldest daughter, Michelle, comes to me with the words, “Mom, I have an idea…” I cringe. Half the time I don’t realize I’m doing it, but you have to understand something.

These ‘ideas’ range from putting together her newest recipe (”You take some sugar, and some lemons, and some water, and some ice and mix it all together.”) to her latest scheme for helping others (”We could walk from door to door and ask people for money!”).

Mormon ChildrenNeedless to say when she last declared those dreaded words I prepared myself to flinch on the inside while smiling supportively on the outside.

“Mom, could we do a yard sale to raise money for a hospital?”

No cringing occurred. This turned out to be an idea we could make happen. As a mother I dearly wanted Michelle to see her idea through to the end, and to have some fun in the process.

We began going through our house, unearthing things that hadn’t seen the light of day since my darling husband and I had been married eleven years before. The packrat in me protested, screaming we might actually need nearly three-dozen mismatched mugs one day.

How we acquired so many mugs I shall never know. I promptly squashed my inner packrat and filled bags and boxes of miscellaneous items I at least hoped people would want.

We didn’t stop there. Michelle and I went to the different organizations in our ward and asked if anyone there would be willing to donate things as well. The response wasn’t exactly overwhelming, but several sweet church members sent us things like holiday decorations and handmade knitted hats. By the time the day of the sale arrived we’d acquired a good load.

I have to admit I’ve never put together a yard sale before. We put up tables (borrowed from Grandma and Grandpa, thank you so much), set up brightly colored signs, and organized everything as best my feeble mind could manage. To my eyes, it made a rather grand display.

Michelle and I were doubly blessed by an unexpected donation – that of time. Michelle’s best friend and her sister, as well as their mother, came to help us out. Of course, the girls eventually found themselves entertaining themselves in the backyard for a while, but their mother, Carol, stayed with me for a solid seven hours.

Customers varied in number. We sold a lot of little things like children’s books and clothes, as well as larger things like a fake tree and some nice serving dishes. Most of our wares we ended up donating to the local thrift store. All in all, it turned out to be a fun experience.

Encouraging our kids to do something outside of their comfort zone can be exhausting work, but utterly worth it. Let them be the one to take the reins, when possible. are they’ll ask to do something like it again.

All in all Michelle’s yard sale took in just over $100. All of it was donated to our local children’s hospital where it was graciously accepted.

Not too shabby for a nine-year-old with an idea.

About Laurie W

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