A few months ago, I put out a request for readers to share stories of practical ways we can prepare students for adulthood. I was finishing up the manuscript for my new book, Artifical Maturity, and wanted to include real-life examples from people around the world.
The response was absolutely overwhelming! I’m so thankful for everyone who took time to share ideas. There were so many more than could be included in one chapter of a book. But I wanted everyone to hear these great ideas.
So here’s the plan: over the course of next year, I’ll share a story that someone submitted. I hope you find them as challenging and helpful as I did! Today’s story comes from M. Croswell in Melbourne, FL.
Here are a few practices we implemented with our four children, some while they were young, some when they left home. Hope they help!
Practices when they were younger:
1. “Keep and Pitch”
We have a small home with six people so organization is important. When our children were in preschool we began the practice of “keep and pitch”, going through their rooms and giving away items they were no longer using or simply needed to be discarded. They quickly learned the value of sowing and reaping as we would give away items and they would be blessed with others giving items to us…like brand new $100 boogie boards!!
2. “Alphabet Summer”
I would always get anxious come April knowing that summer was around the corner and wondering how I was going to keep the children busy on a limited budget. With four children, multiple summer camps were out of the question. One morning while in prayer I was reminded, “It is as easy as ABC”. And so we began our “alphabet summers”. Each day we would take a letter of the alphabet and build our day around it. With the younger ones it was a great way to learn phonics, with the older ones we creatively explored our community and made lifelong memories. Our favorite was “C” which led us to explore our county government offices and a cement plant. All for free! Generally you know people who work at these places and they are happy to give mini field trips. Our children learned about different career opportunities and the varying giftings God has given his people. We would do a letter a day, sometimes skip a few days, or do the same letter multiple days. It least at gave me 26 days worth of free fun and it was truly as easy as ABC. The best part was it gave me a plan!!
3. “Forced Family Fun”
Exactly what it is, “You don’t want to go, too bad, we are a family and we are going to do this together.” My husband loved these events because they were met with the greatest protest and always ended the same with one of the four (and the other three in agreement), “Gee, that was really fun. We should do that more often.” Duh??
Practices as they got older:
1. “Life Skills Summer”
As the children got older we would use the quieter days of summer to work on life skills, ie cooking, grocery shopping, meal planning, car maintenace, etc. We would culminate a week of cooking with a meal the children had shopped for and prepared.
2. “Matching Funds”
To encourage our oldest to save money when he moved away from home, we told him for every dollar he saved up to $250 a month, we would match it. This way we were not giving him money but he had to be accountable to monitor his spending and be able to save money. He has done well with this and has yet to ask for money and has actually saved.
M. Croswell, Melbourne, FL
Looking for creative ways to engage students and equip next generation leaders? On June 28-29, 2012 we will address these issues head-on at the National Leadership Forum. We limit the forum to the first 250 registrants to intentionally create an intimate environment to interact and return with a specific game plan. Register now at www.nationalleadershipforum.org.