My Sticker Ministry

sticker ministry

Back when I had two children, ages four and two, I remember thinking to myself, “When my kids get old enough that I don’t have to constantly scramble around taking care of them all them anymore, I want to make sure I take the time to help mothers who have little kids.

I had no idea what, exactly, that would entail, and that was fine. But I felt strongly that I  wanted to remember what that phase was like after I had moved out of it, and to help encourage other women who were going through it.

About a year ago, I was in line to get something at Target. I have no idea what, and I don’t even know exactly who was with me, although I’m pretty sure at least one of my kids (who at that time would have been ages 13, 11, and 8) was there.

A mother was juggling two little kids who were in the cart. Both of the kids were noisy and restless, while the mother was trying to pay. She looked tired. She also had that look that mothers of young children sometimes have when they’re in a public place and are worried that everyone nearby is having murderous thoughts about them and/or their children.

I remembered that there were some stickers stuffed in my purse that Benjamin had gotten at a doctor visit several weeks ago, but wasn’t particularly interested in. I dug them out of my purse and handed them to the Tired-Looking Mother, saying, “Do your kids like stickers?”

“Oh …” she said, looking both surprised and grateful (but still tired). “Thank you.”

Her kids were both delighted.

And I felt happy.

*************

Shortly afterward, I thought to myself, “Hey, why don’t I just always keep stickers in my purse for times like that?”

Thus begun what I call My Sticker Ministry.

LIghtning McQueen stickers
Lightning McQueen and Mater are a big hit with the boys
I’ve given stickers to kids sitting in grocery stores, kids at restaurants, and kids on line at retail stores. I particularly try to keep my eyes open for kids who are bored or restless, but I’ve given them to kids who look perfectly happy, too.
Rachael, who is fourteen, worried out loud that maybe parents would feel embarrassed about it, as if I were saying, “Your kids are driving me crazy! Here, maybe this will shut them up!”
I thought that was a valid concern, but since I give them in a friendly, gentle tone, often saying to the kids, “Do you know who this is?” I doubt it’s taken that way.
Not surprisingly, little girls LOVE the Disney Princess stickers!
The thing I enjoy most about being The Sticker Lady is how much it surprises people. It’s like they’ve just been informed that they won a contest they didn’t even know they entered.
Another nice thing – especially when a family seems tense waiting on line or something — is to see the family interaction it can cause. Often as I walk away, I hear the mother and daughter chatting about who their favorite Disney Princess is. Sometimes an older sibling decorates the younger sibling’s clothes with the stickers.
Sometimes it really is the little things that matter.

 

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