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


No absolute restrictions on food but stress that some foods are “party food.” Chips, for example. (I love potato chips!)


Let's find little ways to practice self-control and build that muscle.


Life isn’t a straight line, it’s so much more complex than that! Good things, bad things, boring or interesting things are all always happening. And always changing. So are you. And that’s good.

17, 21

Visit Aunt Janet in Morehead City for Seafood Festival in October


Slip and Slide party!


“If you can’t figure something out, figure out how to figure it out.” - Paul Graham


Work on controlling temper. Read books about how to reach this at a young age and keep updating the conversation as he grows. He needs to be able to control his temper.


It’s so tempting to write someone off, to dismiss them as “less than.” They’re too young or too old to be taken seriously. They speak a different language or have a different skin color. They may be poor, uneducated, disabled or just simply unattractive. RESIST that temptation. Remember that every human being is God’s creation, a masterpiece cloaked in dignity. No matter what they look like or even what they’ve done, everyone you meet is deserving (and in need) of respect. To be humble is to remember this. (Start lesson young, phrased age-appropriately, and reticket yearly. Look for opportunities to discuss.)


Read everything Brene Brown ever wrote.


Music, arts, words or dancing can have a profound effect on the spirit. Let's find something that gives you chills!


Partnership or pride…pick one.


Read Harry Potter series to him / with him.




It's a skill to learn how to love people the way they need to be loved. I highly recommend reading the Five Love Languages.

18, 21

People always say “Be yourself.” That’s good advice but really what does it mean? I think it’s easier to explain what it DOESN’T mean: When you’re being yourself you’re not pretending to be interested in something or someone you’re not. You’re not doing something just to please someone else (or just to tick them off.) You’re not wearing anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. You’re not pretending to have fun when you’re not having fun. You’re not trying to impress anyone. You’re not trying to fade into the background. You’re not trying to change anything about yourself or someone else. I think that’s a good start. What does “being yourself” mean to you?

11-14, 18, 21

There’s one thing I’ve noticed that makes the difference between an adult and someone who is over 18: That person’s proclivity for reading. Books make you smarter, yes but they also make you kinder, funnier, more empathetic and more tolerant of opposing viewpoints. Travel has a similar effect but is a lot more expensive! If you want to be a genuine grownup, read (or listen to) everything you can get your hands on.

10, 14, 16, 20

Affection is to be shared, never taken.


Make sure they have resources other than us. Hotlines for teens such as Boys Town National Hotline, National $@!#% Prevention Lifeline, etc.


Give yourself a break from thinking about yourself.

13, 16, 21

Mindset for a breakup: “I’d rather adjust to your absence than be continually frustrated by your presence.” Can work with romantic partners, jobs, habits...anything you’re hanging on to that you know you should let go of.


Practice not putting stuff off. If it takes 10 seconds or less do it now. Then move up to 30 seconds or less. Keep going up to ~3 minutes. Good example is putting away laundry or emptying dishwasher, etc.


On September 11th I was at work in Fairfax VA. News reports were saying a plane was headed to the Capitol, that the Whitehouse had been hit. In the immediate aftermath of a big event, news reports will be unreliable. Wait until the facts are in. Several of the nurses had husbands who worked at the Pentagon. One of the doctors was married to a U.S. Senator in her office on the Hill. It was surreal, but no one panicked. I remember we all burst into tears when my friend’s husband called saying he was safe. So relieved.

15, 17

Cotillion and other social clubs abound in our area. They usually start around 5th or 6th grade. start looking into what might be a good fit. Lay the ground work that they will attend.


General rule for health and happiness: avoid excess.

10, 14, 17, 21

Home is where people love you.


Explore American Sign Language. Libraries have books and websites like are great resources. It’s a good skill, helps build vocabulary and verbal skills. Seems that preschoolers are naturals -they just think it’s fun.


Do something that feeds your soul every day. Experience or create joy, even if just a small spark of it.


Remember the hymn we used to sing at bedtime when you were little? “What Does the Lord Require of You?” To seek justice. To love kindness. To walk humbly with your God. (Walk humbly means to remember God is so very good. That he loves you and is for you and wants you to talk to him, listen for him, love him, serve him.) No matter what religion you practice (or don’t practice) I hope you’ll remember that.