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Be aware of wonder. Live a balanced life—learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
+ Robert Fulghum

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Winter Fun

What to Teach Our Kids

{ This is my favorite parenting quote. It’s a great life quote, too. }

The college-age daughter of one of my best friends since childhood came up from Portland to stay with us for Thanksgiving.

We had a lovely visit and after Annika left I called her mom right away to tell her how impressed I was by how grown-up, polite, and responsible her daughter was. Annika started her visit by communicating clearly when she’d be arriving so we could pick her up at the ferry, she cleaned up after herself in the kitchen, she made her bed, she played games and helped walk the dogs, and she provided interesting and sparkling conversation. She even brought a hostess gift for me, somehow knowing that dark chocolate with sea salt and almonds is my favorite.

Of course, I couldn’t help but ask myself: How would my kids fare as houseguests? I know they’re good people, but would they remember to offer to wash dishes without me nudging them under the table? Would they think to bring a hostess gift?

Those questions led to even bigger questions: Have I taught my kids what they need to know to become successful adults? I mean, it’s great that we’ve focused on books and thinking and all that, but do they know the basics? What are the basics, exactly?!

I thought it would be fun to explore those questions this year, especially as Andrew starts his senior year in college and Lexie heads off for her freshman year. (Meaning: there’s still time!) So I’m going to put together a list and start tackling it, week by week. I hope to hear from parents who’ve successfully raised their kids, from those willing to share the best of what their own parents taught them, and from friends who haven’t raised kids of their own but have nieces and nephews or maybe a unique perspective on what people should be teaching their kids!

So to get started: What’s your favorite hostess gift to give or receive? Annika thrilled my chocolate-loving heart with her sweet gift. Other favorites of ours: Lexie’s homemade granola, a special box of truffles from Bon Bon here on the island, or a fun book, game, or beautiful candle.




  1. Sarah Matteson says:

    Love this Shannon!

    1. Shannon says:

      Thank you, Sarah! I think it’ll be fun.

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