Today is my daughter’s birthday she turned 12. You might think that her birthday has absolutely nothing to do with residential childcare, but because of her birthday I learned something new that I would like to pass on.
Including our birth children we have 10 children that live in our house so we celebrate several birthdays in a year. For every one of those birthdays my wife will spend the afternoon making and decorating a cake for who’s ever birthday it is; they get to choose the flavors and theme. I had always thought that this was pointless and that it would be a whole lot easier just to go to Wal-mart and buy one. Today I felt the same, but she insisted that she needed to make it.
She put a great deal of effort into it and I honestly can say that it looked very nice. Our daughter loved it. Again when I told her I thought it would have been easier just to buy one, she told me why she makes them with a story about a teenage boy we cared for several years ago.
At the time we were working in what they called the “Thug Cottage” It was basically made up of all the teenage boys that had been kicked out of all the other houses on campus. One of the boys was having a birthday, I think he was turning 14. She baked him a cake and decorated it. She would have bought one but we were given a limited amount of money to spend on the children and we just couldn’t afford one.
He loved the cake and was very thankful. He told her that a lot of people had bought him cakes before, but nobody had cared enough to put in the effort to actually make him one. Apparently that made a great impression on her, because she now makes all the cakes.
The moral of the story is this: sometimes it is totally insignificant things to you that make a difference with the children we work with.