It is one of my most favorite art projects to do with kids. Old recycled jars with some colorful tissue paper glued on and sealed. They become the prettiest lanterns, each one so different and unique. When they are lit, they look like round stained glass windows.
The kids and moms from our street got together one afternoon to paint and chat. We each brought supplies and helped each other set it all up. I find that neighborhoods are so very often looking to belong, people want tribe when living side by side. Even the people that send the very opposite message sometimes are waiting to be cracked open by kindness.
It's amazing what one little light can do, even in a sea of darkness. It sometimes is just enough for someone to find their way. As we lit our lanterns that night, I thought of my friend Brea and her mom and the first time I saw her jars. She did the very same colorful project but used the jars to collect money for ALS research and funding. ALS is a very debilitating neurodegenerative disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Fifty percent of patients die within three years. Brea's mom passed away over a year ago.
With a disease that has so little hope around it and so much dark, I was amazed by my friend's deep passion and desire to educate and fight for research. She is the kind of woman, probably much like her mom, whose strength is bringing light and color to a very dark situation. In the same way, just a little can do so much, I was wondering if our lanterns could hold our offerings of hope too.
Our family is going to put our pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters and bills till our lanterns are filled to the tippy top and join in the fight against ALS. My kids love couch digging and hunting under furniture for lost treasures. We all know the laundry produces some cash every now and then. Why not join us? Spend an afternoon with the kids in your neighborhood making your lanterns or jars and see what your street can come up with.
You can find out more about Brea's mom, ALS and how you can help here.
Looks like our time is ending here, thanks for joining us in all the Supersister goodness and friendship! You all have been so very super!
I was selling my wares at a local fair when my husband and children stepped into my little 10 foot by 10 foot booth. I looked down to find my children covered from head to toe with stickers bearing the name of a local politician running for reelection. They each clutched balloons with the candidate's name upon them in bold lettering.
I looked at my husband in disbelief.
K: WHY are your children wearing THESE stickers and holding these balloons?
Let me start by saying my moral superiority was openly misplaced. It wasn't my district. It wasn't my politician. But I knew of this politician and he did not represent the values I espouse. Or my husband's values, for that matter. This is the time of year for campaigning and everywhere we go this summer, politicians will be out shaking hands and kissing babies. Apparently some will have balloons.
D: He had balloons. The other guy didn't have balloons. The kids wanted balloons.
People are very passionate about politics these days. Having sat around doing next to nothing for much of our lives, our generation finds itself with lots of opinions, causes and avenues to express them. That's cool. Express yourself. If you want to cover the entire back of your car with this or that, I am all for it unless you also clog the left lane doing 10 miles below the speed limit. Then I associate your causes with negative things rather than that neutral stance I feel when I see a bumper-sticker laden car.
But handing out balloons to kids? Is a balloon just a balloon or is it a little odd for a child to be making a political statement? I was already creeped out by Politician A walking down the street asking if kids wanted candy from the bucket he was carrying. The guy must not have kids or he would know that many a mother would vote against him just because he gave her child candy from a bucket in the middle of the morning.
Why can't politicians do it the old fashioned way? Candidates driving down the street during a parade, riding in a convertible borrowed from the local car dealership, and hurling fistfuls of candy in the direction of the kid-infested curbs? Now there are balloons? Don't get me wrong. I have always wanted balloons with my name on them. How awesome would that be?
Last election we were a divided household with our five year old voting for one candidate and his parents voting for another. It did not matter since he cannot vote anyway but I imagine he would like to have had his views represented by his parents (more candy, later bedtimes for everyone!). I'd like to think that politics is about the beliefs and values of your politician, but maybe it really is about the stickers and balloons. What do you think?