Quoting Sarah Bessel: “One of the best things Jen Hatmaker has taught me about raising big kids: if they get on the roller coaster of Big Emotions, my main first job is to stay on the platform. I am NOT to get in the car and ride up


Zero-cost method to reaching your goals (academic, career, fitness and health): Get up an hour earlier. You’ll be amazed how much you can get done and how “on top of it” you feel.

16, 18, 21

Discuss difference between foods that taste good vs. foods that make you FEEL good.


You can’t grow in faith (or character or friendships) without learning to be humble. To forgive. To listen without agenda. To allow for the possibility you may be in the wrong. Ask for help. God will give it.


At the hospital? Always confirm your name and date of birth and why you’re there.


Practice being embarrassed. Tell embarrassing stories. Help them learn how to deal with the sensation.


Tube first 2 or 3 years of your life I would sing to you after bath time as I was getting you in your jammies. Two songs: Oh Shenandoah and Danny Boy. Rubbing your tiny little feet with baby lotion while singing to you is one of the happiest memories of my life.


When you begin dating it’s all butterflies and moonbeams. Eventually you’re going to do or say something that hurts the other person and vice versa. For that matter, eventually you’ll disagree about something. It’s VERY important to consider how they handle it. Nobody is perfect, it may not be pretty but it had better be civil. If not, don’t think for a second that they will change. Get outta there.

15, 21

Teach tuck to drive


We don’t snoop. Never read a correspondence (email, letter, text, note, etc.) that is not intended for your eyes, or listen in to a conversation that is not intended for your ears. The right to privacy is sacred. Always respect people’s privacy and set the expectation that others do the same for you.


Set up a 529 plan. Virginia has a great plan if you don't want to do too much research https://www.savingforcollege.com/

birth-age 3

Open a Bank Account


Procrastinating is an Olympic sport for those of us with ADHD. Talk about ways to get “unstuck.” 1. Change your body - move to a different room or take a walk. 2. If you can’t move your body, move your focus. 3. Ask your brain how it’s trying to help you by paralyzing you. 4. Take deep breaths and let go of the shame and self-doubt you feel for getting stuck.

8, 9, 10, 14, 21

Never take friendships for granted. Show up. Reach out. Be there when they need you. Friends are gifts; tend to those relationships with love.

15, 20

“I don’t know what I think until I write about it.” - Joan Didion


Ditch the serving bowls, plates, tablecloth and utensils. Cover middle of table in tinfoil for the food. Give each kid a tinfoil placemat in lieu of a plate. Let them eat with their fingers. (Works great with spaghetti, chicken, ribs, shrimp, etc. Try it with ice-cream and cake for a birthday party!


“The beginning parts are always the scariest.” -Jackson Daily (kid reporter on Today Show.)

10, 12, 16

Try house music for focus. Spotify “uplifting trance” playlists. Better than Adderall by a mile.

12, 13, 16

When you have no idea what you’re doing, just be kind. Be brave. Think critically and make the best decisions you can in the moment. If possible, find resources to learn what you need to know. Ask for help if help is available. Do your best and don’t sweat it.


Fire drills. Practice what to do, where to go if the house is on fire. Have an escape plan.


Ask them to name 2 current or historical figures that they admire and why (one man one woman).


Plan trip to Bush Gardens late September


Play up your strengths. What are your strengths? What are you really good at or love doing?

13, 17, 21

Just for the record, I didn’t vote for Trump. I want my great-grandchildren to know that.



Adopting a “do it right now” mentality has done wonders for my self-discipline. Something on the floor? Grab it right now. Thinking about cooking later? Cook right now. Laundry finished? Put them up right now. Home from a trip? Unpack right then. It’s the small things.

8, 9, 12, 17

Check out from the library or Amazon: “My First Money Book: A Guide for Parents and Children to Saving, Spending, Sharing, and Investing Your Money” by Reggie Nelson


“You don’t emerge from $@!#% empty-handed” a friend once told me. Even the worst periods of your life will bring gifts. Be thankful for those gifts, and enjoy them.


Go as a family to local high school musical productions.



Never say anything behind someone's back that you wouldn't say to their face.

11, 14, 18

Major life events such as the birth of a baby, graduations, new job, (lost job) are a big deal. Make a fuss. Take an interest in loved ones’ experiences. Acknowledge their feelings. Express a sincere interest in others (young and old) will profoundly affect your relationships.

15, 19