The Duncan Banner

March 8, 2013

Good manners pay off for Gabriel's House youth

Rebeka Miller
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN —  

Limo rides to a meal waiting for them at a local dining establishment isn’t something many elementary students get to experience. 
However, several Gabriel’s House children got that opportunity but the privilege had to be earned.
Consequences are the direct result of every action taken or decision made and this is an important lesson the leaders of Duncan’s Gabriel’s House are trying to teach the children who come to them after school each weekday. Gabriel’s House focuses on character development and proper manners are a large emphasis.
A new Character word is taught each month through Bible stories, curriculum and other activities to teach high moral standards and quality character development in the children. Some of those words include respect, obedience and self-control.
“We thought we should not just tell them about what these words meant but display it,” said Karla Buchanan, administrative director. “During the month of February, we played a game where they could earn $1 per day through good behavior and following the rules.”
Every day, each child would start out with four play money quarters and for each time they acted up or broke the rules, a quarter would be taken away. They had the entire month of February to earn $15 in play money. Those who reached that goal got to go on the trip and those who didn’t had to stay at the  Gabriel’s House home.
“Several of them barely earned that chance and four are not getting to go,” said Buchanan. “It breaks our heart to have to do that but we gave them chance after chance and we wanted to make them really see and understand that there are consequences to their actions.”
On the day of each of the three Gabriel’s House’s turn for the trip, a black stretch limo, donated by Todd Mikel at Family Cars & Trucks, took the children to Jonny’s at Oak Tree, where owner Gay Lynn McCormick had tables decorated for them and donated meals for the trip. The boys and girls dressed up with the boys in paper ties and top hats and the girls in feather boas.
“They all looked so proud and were really well behaved and respectful,” said Buchanan.
“It’s a neat thing because a lot of kids would never have this opportunity. (McCormick and Mikel) do this out of the goodness of their heart and they have been supporters for years.”
Buchanan and the Gabriel’s House staff hope that this example of how actions can have either good or bad consequences depending on behavior choices will teach the children, especially the ones who missed out this time, how to better behave in the future.
“I really hope they learn a life lesson,” Buchanan said. “We hope they will take this lesson with them throughout life when the consequences could be much worse and painful than just missing out on a fun time.”