While we were visiting with family over the Christmas holidays, a group of us went shopping together at a specialty shop. While there, my sister showed me a book she found entitled 101 Things You Should Do Before Your Kids Leave Home, written by David Bordon and Tom Winters. I thumbed through it and it looked really good, but I was just browsing that day, so I wrote a note to myself to look for it online later. But my sister purchased one, and to my happy surprise, she gave it to me!
The book is organized in a simple yet effective format. Each of the 101 things are listed and numbered in the table of contents for easy reference. (This also makes it convenient to read through the list and mark off the ones you’ve completed.) The text for each item fills up two facing pages; the left page features the number and the activity, while the right contains further details, such as how to do it, tips for making it memorable, and why you should do it. This book is a Christian book, so many of the “whys” include explanations on how you can use the activity to encourage your children to follow the Lord.
After looking through the list, I was glad to see that we have already completed nearly half of the items, especially since my oldest is 14 and will be going off to college in a few years. Some of the things we’ve done include: washing the car together, joining in a parade, inviting a pet (or in our case, a lot of pets) into our home, picking up trash in a public area, gathering for family reunions, camping, flying kites, and telling family stories. Some things are on-going, such as learning the value of hard work, manners and etiquette, and ways to manage conflict.
Of course, this book isn’t a mandatory list of things to do with your children, and if you don’t do them you’re not a good parent. But I think it is a great reference for ideas, and it’s a reminder of the things that we can do with our kids. Sometimes in the busyness of day-to-day living we forget to take the time to just enjoy being with them. And, as every parent knows, the time flies by so fast.
So what’s still on our to-do list? Thanking a soldier, standing together at the edge of the Grand Canyon, serving in a soup kitchen, pitching a tent indoors, and sharing family recipes.
What’s on your list?