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101 Things You Should Do Before Your Kids Leave Home
By David Bordon Tom Winters
FaithwordsCopyright © 2007 Bordon-Winters LLC
All right reserved.
PLANT A FAMILY TREE
Our kids grow up so fast. In a mere cosmic blink, they're adults ready to launch out into the world on their own. A wise parent must search out opportunities to instill a sense of family-a tight circle in a wide world, a bond they can always depend on.
That can be as simple and beautiful as planting a family tree. Involve the whole family in the task of choosing a location for your tree. That might be your own yard, a park, or even a public roadway. Make sure you select a place where you and your family will always be able to visit your tree.
Once you've found an ideal place, ask a professional to advise you concerning the type of tree that is best suited for your area and climate. Make sure the chosen location has the right amount of sunlight and room to grow. Then pile everyone into the car and go together to bring your family tree home.
Encourage each person to take a turn with the shovel and throw in a handful of dirt when the tree is in place. When you've tamped it down, take hands around the tree and offer a prayer of thanksgiving to God for your family-who you are and what you will become. If possible, take pictures of your family around the tree each year. It's fun to compare later pictures with those of your kids encircling a wobbly little stick.
God so values the concept of family that He instituted it way back in the Garden of Eden. In spiritual terms, He calls us His children, part of His own eternal family. Before your kids sprout wings and fly away from you, give them a symbol of your family's strength and commitment.
OPEN A SNOW-CONE STAND
What's better than ice water on a blistering summer day? Shaved ice soaked in thick, fruity syrup. Yum! The classic snow cone is a hot neighborhood seller on warm afternoons. Let your kids set up shop. Maybe they'll even make some spare change. Before breaking into business with your children, remember the snow-cone motto: flavor matters.
That means your kids have some big decisions. Will they opt for grape, cherry, lime, strawberry, orange, or raspberry? With a little Web hopping, you can come up with strawberry kiwi, root beer, and winter watermelon. Check out The Canning Pantry at www.canningpantry.com and look over their luscious shaved ice flavors.
You can purchase a stand or build one yourself if you're so inclined. Even if it's a simple tarp, the stand should have a roof to prevent overexposure to the sun. And make sure you're always supervising for safety's sake.
Going into the snow-cone business will teach your children a powerful truth. God gives everyone different likes and dislikes, interests, and abilities. One child may be all about scooping, another completely absorbed with pouring on the flavors. Another may be gifted at marketing and slogans. If so, let your artist make signs that are colorful and easy to read. If one's skill is sales, put the convincing spokesperson up front to pull in the crowds. Should one shine at customer service, have him or her serve up neat snow cones with a big paper napkin.
Every child can pitch in. No shirkers and no exceptions. Working together to open up a sidewalk snow-cone stand provides a great lesson in business management and serving others-skills your children will appreciate long after they leave home.
TEACH YOUR KIDS TO WRITE "THANK-YOU" NOTES
Once upon a time parents promoted an unwritten rule: You can't play with a new toy until you write a "thank-you" note. That may seem archaic to those unfamiliar with such civility, but it was a great way to get children to pause for a moment of gratitude before enjoying the rewards of a loved one's benevolence.
Thank-you notes don't have to be long, complicated affairs. A child need only mention the fun and/or informative elements of the item and how grateful he or she is for the gift-giver's kindness. If a child is too young to write, you can be their scribe-and encourager. Put some kisses and hugs at the end for the younger kids or let them add some of their art work. Older kids should be encouraged to add a few loving words, and that's really all there is to it. Simple, but effective. The effort's as good for the child as the person getting the note.
The Bible tells a story of ten lepers who were all healed by Jesus. Nine ran on to family and friends, delighted at their good fortune. Only one stopped to say "thanks." It's an important lesson. We constantly enjoy God's gracious gifts and frequently forget to offer thanks. Still He continually showers blessings upon even those who don't recognize His goodness.
In truth, it takes such a small effort to show appreciation. When children write a note of thanks, they pull back on the urge to expect the world or the World Maker to cater to their personal wish list. Inborn greed gets a kick in the seat when kids learn to give thanks where and when it is due.
SAIL OVER YOUR HOUSE IN A HOT-AIR BALLOON
101 THINGS YOU SHOULD DO BEFORE YOUR KIDS LEAVE HOME Imagine sailing high above the trees and rooftops-you and your kids, as free as birds on the wing. It's an unforgettable experience that will trigger fanciful memories for a lifetime. This favorite of fun lovers around the globe has another important benefit: it provides a unique perspective on life. As you float high above, earthbound images blur, imperfections vanish, little troubles fade. From your lofty perch, you see only ordered streets, neatly appointed lawns, and beautiful blue bodies of water. You could even say that it's a God's-eye view!
Hot-air balloon rides were once a delight enjoyed only by the most daring, but now they are far more accessible. You can soar into the clear, blue sky at county fairs, fund-raising events, and balloon festivals. In many places, it's as simple as checking your local yellow pages or the Internet. You can learn where to get a balloon ride, how balloons fly, or how to become a balloon pilot. You should also know that such life-lifting adventures are often available to anyone willing to volunteer as part of the ground crew. Ask the balloon owner if you and your kids can have a trip to the clouds as payment for your labors.
A family hot-air balloon ride may seem like an extravagance when you're working hard to put food on the table, but it's one that may be worth digging down deep for. Before they leave home, your kids will have a priceless illustration of how God can lift us high above our problems and carry us on angels' wings through the toughest moments of our lives.
Excerpted from 101 Things You Should Do Before Your Kids Leave Home by David Bordon Tom Winters Copyright © 2007 by Bordon-Winters LLC. Excerpted by permission.
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