Christmas is now a distant memory and Spring Break still seems years away. In the mind of a child, there is absolutely, positively nothing on the calendar to look forward to right now. This is especially evident during our morning wake up calls. From my bedroom, I hear the kids’ alarm clocks ring for longer and longer each day without effort to turn them off. Upon entering their rooms, I sing, dance, and tell bad jokes just to get them to show some sign of consciousness but get nothing other than a few grunts and an occasional uttering of, “I don’t want to go to school!” This last week was particularly bad as we entered the celebration of Lenten Week at my kids’ Catholic school. As Protestants in a Catholic environment, some of the events of the week can seem a bit formal (translated into kid language = boooorrring). Let’s just say complaining had reached its peak. The kids were nearly refusing to go to school on Ash Wednesday and I had to think of something quick. As they dug their heels in and griped about the all-school mass that was going to be unbearable, I struck a deal with them. Throughout the day, I asked them to count up the number of times any friends, teachers or faculty said the words, “holy” or “Ash Wednesday.” At the end of the day I would give them two M&Ms for each of their tally marks. With this news, there was a little more spring in their step as they loaded into the car to get to school. In the end, it cost me 156 M&Ms and saved me some sanity.