Foster Care, Pigs, and the Power of the Oreo

Last weekend we took the kids to the very last day of the Texas State Fair. There are lots of things to love about the fair:  funnel cakes, free samples, sheep-filled barns (who doesn’t love looking at a well-raised sheep?), horse shows, and fireworks.  However, my favorite thing just might be the pig races.  If you’ve never had the good fortune of attending pig races, let me set the scene for you.

Imagine an AstroTurf U-shaped track about the size of an RV set up in the middle of a small arena. At each “end” of the U there is a cage. One has pigs in it (with names like Arnold Schwartzenhogger) and the other is empty. One of the first things you notice is that there is no fence around the track. If those little guys decided to take off on their own, there would be no stopping them and pandemonium would surely ensue.  So what, you ask, keeps the pigs on the track?

An Oreo cookie.

That’s the prize these guys are after. There is one cookie in a pan in the empty cage on the other side of the track. The first one there gets the cookie. The losers get pig feed.

Pigs are surprisingly fast and surprisingly focused . . . at least when there is an Oreo cookie at stake.

So what is the Oreo for you as a foster care advocate? What is the mission that keeps keeps you focused? Is it clear and simple? Does it have “the power of the Oreo” that will keep you on track in the midst of distractions?

Here in the county where we live in Texas, there are group of churches working together and the mission for this particular collaboration is clear: A family for every waiting child in the county (that’s 60 kids).

Whether you are an agency, service organization, church orphan/foster care ministry, or community collaboration of multiple organizations and churches, without a clear and simple mission, it’s just too easy to get distracted. Here are few things to do or discuss with your team about your mission:

  1. Is it clear, simple and memorable?
  2. Does our whole team know it?  (if not, see #1)
  3. Is it a mission worthy of our lives? (Does it point to life-change having the “Power of the Oreo” that will keep our team motivated and on track.)
  4. If the answer to any of these is no, what steps can we take to change that?