The Balcony Experience

In case you are new to my blog, you may wonder, “What in the world does ‘Balcony Girls have to do with entertaining?” Let me explain it further.

It’s been three years since I’ve opened up my home to these wonderful 8 girls, meeting twice a month after school, which to me has hospitality written all over it. It’s a great place to start, for someone reluctant to have guests into their home. Why not begin with young kids, by reaching out, sharing your life, and creating a unique experience, right in the midst of your home? They’re easy, they don’t expect perfection, and they’re so darn fun!

Yesterday my girls and I experienced something new
. As I prepared to teach them about being “caring girls” (last time we learned about graciousness), I realized I had put more time into the lesson than the thought of a snack. The snack wasn’t the most exciting - popcorn (cheap!) and cinnamon graham crackers (my favorite when I was a kid!) - but what I was about to share was far more important than a gourmet treat for these girls.

We drove down to the center of our town where the Ginger Rogers’ Theatre sits. What the girls didn’t know was that I had arranged to have our lesson up in the balcony! The theatre has been refurbished so it was absolutely beautiful. We marched up the stairs and quietly filed into our seats up in the balcony.

Then our lesson began: A Balcony Girl has a caring spirit and is concerned about others, looking out for them, and often putting others before herself!

Our discussion went deep. Their comments were heartfelt and passionate. Not only were these 10-year-old girls “getting it,” they were well on their way to becoming thoughtful, caring Balcony Girls!

Why the balcony, you might ask?

The best part was yet to come, as we headed down the stairs, down the hallways, through the foyer, back up the stairs and ONTO THE STAGE! The lights were dimly lit and we all sat down. Then each girl looked up into the brightly-lit balcony, and I began my explanation.

I asked each girl to visualize that balcony crammed with people, not just sitting there, but standing up and hanging over the rails, applauding and CHEERING THEM ON! We then related these people to friends in our lives who inspire us, encourage us, and are positive toward our accomplishments. Friends who literally make us feel like we could be more than we are!

Everyone wants to have a friend like that! Even if only one friend came to mind for each girl, it only takes ONE to lift us up, being that affirmative, supportive person in our life.

The girls’ eyes sparkled as we left the stage. My goal was accomplished, and my hope was that each girl would not forget this “balcony experience,” and that this visual would impact her heart and mind for a lifetime.

Not only was this a lesson for my 8 girls, it was a lesson for me. And I couldn’t help but think about all the ‘Balcony Friends’ that I have in my life. I walked away with gratitude in my heart.


Room for Grace said...

I think this may be one of my favorite posts of yours and that's saying a lot!
I'd love to link to this on my blog if that's ok with you.
I am so grateful for the Balcony Girls in my life, and your post has made me want to more of one myself.

HappyGoMommy! said...

You NEED to write a book! My daughter is seven, and I would like to do this with her friends as they get a little older. Perhaps you could write a book with lesson plans (ie: graciousness, caring, etc.), ideas for activities and snack ideas to go along with it. I'll be the first to buy one! :)

Andrea said...

I agree -- you should write a book.

Another inspiring post!

An Ordinary Mom said...

I agree with Room for Grace and Happygomommy. This is a fabulous post and you should write a book!

You taught a very valuable life lesson to these girls. Thanks for sharing your inspiration!

Joy said...

Oh Sandy I love this idea! I look at the picture of these girls and smile as I know you are laying a great foundation for them!

ValleyGirl said...

Seriously, when does the ladies devotional book come out?! These are wonderful ideas for women of all ages, not just young ones. Your heart for teaching these girls -- and us -- to appreciate each other and show hospitality in a variety of ways is absolutely beautiful.

Bev said...

Your blog encourages me every time I come here. Thank you.

chocolate girl said...

what an unbelievably wonderful heart you have. i am so blessed to have stumbled onto your blog. This truly has inspired me. and yes, i agree with the other comments, please write a book! your children are truly blessed to have a mother so loving and inspirational.

Suzanne said...

I, too, feel blessed to even be able to read your blog. You are so caring, so creative, and such a fabulous teacher. I'm standing in line for the book, also!!! Thanks for inspiring! So you have your Balcony Girls, and your Blog Buddies!!! ;)

linda t said...

Oh I love this post Sandy!
I am reminded of 'running the race' knowing that their are those on the sidelines cheering me on... but I love this analogy even better!
Ironically I am going to see the musical "Jersey Boys" tonight and we have balcony seats... I will be thinking of this post and how I can be a balcony friend to many in my life.
Thanks for the inspiration!

Anonymous said...

Can I chime in too? Please offer some guidelines on how to do this? A book would be AWESOME. I have a 9 year old and I would love to do this with her and her friends but don't really know where to start. Thank you for being such a good role model to all of us out here in blogland. I love reading your blog and trying to put some of it into practice.
Many thanks!!
Michelle _ NW ARKANSAS
(Oh I found you at Rocks in My Dryer)

Nadine said...

I love the visual you used to teach such a valuable lesson to these girls. You are doing a great job. They are blessed to have you.

debi said...

What a great lesson for these girls....you're amazing, Sandy...I just love your heart :)

Sue @ praise & coffee said...

I think you are the coolest Mom ever!!

We had unexpected overnight company this week and thanks to your input in my life- I really enjoyed it!!


PS: Come check out my free giveaway!

Melissa Garrett said...

I agree about writing a book! Here I am, chanting, BOOK! BOOK! BOOK!

Sandy said...

Thanks for all the encouraging comments! I guess I will have to consider a book -- LOL!

Jill@Who Could Ask for Anything More said...

Wow! Very inspiring! Those are some very lucky girls...and I know you learn much along the way, too!

Bettsi McComb said...

Oh Sandy...you are one of my balcony people. I appreciate your gentle encouragement in my life!

VAIL said...

I so could have used one of these groups when I was that age! What an inspiration you are!

Stacey said...

This is so sweet! I am truly inspired. I see by the date, that your girls are now 12, but I just recently posted on my blog a project that could work at any age!

I think you will love it! Let me know what you think!



P.S. I am a new follower of your blog! Really excited by your ideas!