On Monday’s I mentor a student at a local elementary school through an organization called Kid’s Hope (https://kidshopeusa.org/). Mentors with Kid’s Hope spend an hour a week throughout the school year with one student that may have academic, social or behavioral needs. Among other things, my young student needs help with multiplication facts. Each Monday, we work a bit on multiplication facts as part of our early afternoon mentoring project.
What better way is there to practice multiplication facts than flashcards? You know, on one side of the card there is the problem, say 6 times 3. On the flip side is the answer 6X3 = 18! Success! You get the answer correct and there’s all kinds of wild celebration – high fives, fist bumps. Then you go on to the next one. By the end of the school year we both will know our multiplication facts from 0X0 to 12X12. Woo! Woo!
My problem was, I didn’t have any flashcards. I wanted to find some so we could start practicing those facts in earnest starting next Monday. Ah, but where to find them? The teacher store in town closed years ago and there are no ‘flash card’ stores that I know of. And, since I would like to have them right away, ordering online wouldn’t work.
I can remember days when I’d go with my dad to the lumber yard because we needed some lumber, of course. We’d need a 2×4 or two or some kind of tool to complete a project. Miller Lumber Company, Johnson Howard and South Side Lumber company were all places we might end up looking for … well, lumber or any kind of building supplies. You would never expect to find groceries, for example, at the lumber yard. Flashcards? That would be silly.
The other day, Friday, if you must know, I went to a ‘lumber yard’ looking for some lights to complete a project at home. This store, with its 11% rebate on everything, promised me that I could ‘save big money!’ So that’s where I went.
These days a lumber yard does not just deal in lumber. This place where I can ‘save big money’ sells all kinds of things, yes, even groceries. One week in the freezer section there might be salmon steaks the next week frozen pizza. And of course, you can still buy a hammer or 2X6 piece of select pine.
As I wandered about the store I wasn’t thinking about groceries, hammers or pine boards. I was focused on the lights I need. I knew where they were. I could be in and out of the store in just a few minutes.
And, then, on the bottom shelf of an aisle full of toys (yes, there are toys for sale at this ‘lumber yard’) I spied… yes, you knew this was coming… flashcards!
There they were! Just the tool I needed to help a kid learn his math facts! Excited, I picked them up and added them to my purchases. Excited not only that I ‘saved big money’ with an 11% rebate, but that I now have what I need for Monday’s mentoring session.
Hmmm… so what? Is this really a big deal? There’s really nothing profound here. Except, the ordinary events of a recent Friday is just another example of how the God that loves us takes care of us in all kinds of ways, little and big, every day. And that, more than ‘saving big money’, with an 11% rebate and even finding flashcards is today’s gift.