It has to do with a little wrapped box. When you find the box, you know that some sort of service has been done for you. It then becomes your turn to serve someone else in the family and pass the box on. Thus, the box gets passed around the family and service done every single day for an entire month.
When I explained the concept at Family Home Evening this week, the kids seemed excited. Of course I meant to have the box all ready to show them on Monday night, but I didn't. Starting traditions is so hard. I did have it ready to go by December 1st though. Isaac decided he would be the first to serve.
"What do I get for serving?" He asked.
"A good feeling," I said.
"Can we have a contest to see who does the most service?" He said.
"It's not a contest," I said. "You just have to serve someone to be nice. For Jesus," I said.
Isaac finally agreed and went up to his room to work on his deed. He came back downstairs a few minutes later with a big smile on his face. "Don't make your bed tomorrow, OK mom?"
"OK" I said.
So the box fell to me. But what could I do to serve my kids that I didn't already do? I already make the younger boy's beds. I do everyone's laundry. I put their things in their room when they leave them scattered around the house. I cook their meals. I put band aids on their boo boos, help them with their homework, read them books at night, return their library books, empty their trash, keep them well supplied with cookies. What else could I do that would be extra?
I imagined making Jonah's bed and leaving the box on the pillow. "What's this for?" I pictured him asking.
"I made your bed," I'd reply.
"So. That doesn't count. You make my bed every day anyway."
(Confession: Jonah sleeps on top of his bedspread with a blanket, so all I have to do to "make" his bed is fold the blanket.)
Traditions are so hard.
So I didn't do any service today. Today I didn't even do the stuff I regularly do. I didn't take the trash bins back from the curb and I didn't make beds. I made grilled cheese for dinner. I had to stop doing service, so I could do service.
Not that anyone noticed.
And tomorrow, when I make Jonah's bed for service, I fully expect to have the above conversation. This tradition may have failed before it even got started.
And that is the problem with the box.