We’re a small Christian school and we only have five little children in kindergarten. One Friday morning, there were five plastic buckets of apples sitting by the front door.
In one bucket there was a new, small paring knife still in the package. An instruction letter in a sealed envelope said for me to let the children peel the apples, cut them up, put them into onequart freezer bags, and let them take the apples home.
Then, the last paragraph said I was to write a summary about this and let the donor know what the children learned during this process.
Later in the day, one by one, each of the five children poured their bucket of apples into the sink. I explained to them that this was to wash off the dirt and the bug spray on the apples. The kids had fun washing their apples.
I sat down and when they were finished, and the kids lined up their buckets right in front of me. One sang, “Five little buckets, all in a row.”
They all watched intently as I peeled one. There was no way I was going to give a sharp knife to a five-yearold. Then the five-minute bell rang and they lost all interest. Grabbing coats and hats, they were all a blur as they ran out the door to their waiting parents’ cars.
A few of the apples had brown spots on them. By Monday they would all be ruined, and the children would be disappointed. There was only one thing to do. It took me three trips to load them into my truck.
After supper that night the buckets of apples were lined up on the kitchen table. I got out my sharpest paring knife. I filled my largest bowl half full of water to keep the slices from turning brown, and started peeling and cutting the apples.
I read the instructions again. “Cut up the apples and put them into onequart freezer bags.” What freezer bags? The donor didn’t send any.
The nearest grocery store was 10 miles away. My old truck got 10 miles to the gallon, so I used two gallons of gas at $3.10 per gallon. The freezer bags were $2.69 for a box of 25 bags. The trip there and back took an hour.
Two hours later all the apples had been peeled, cut up and bagged. I put them into the freezer. If I didn’t, they would have ruined before Monday.
On Monday, all the empty buckets were taken back to the school and the paring knife was hidden on the very top shelf where little prying hands couldn’t reach it.
I put the apples in the freezer. I had to fill out the report and submit it on Monday, and here it is: “Five-year-old kids should never be allowed to handle a sharp paring knife. It costs $8.79 to cut up and freeze five quarts of apples. That’s about $1.76 per child, and you didn’t send any money.”
And then the last question on the report was, “What did the children learn during this process?”
My answer was, “They learned how to wash a plastic bucket full of apples.”