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Many of you may have seen the movie The Bucket List. In this movie, two men realize that they have limited time left on this Earth and decide to make the most of it. They make a list of everything they have always wanted to do, and spend their last days checking off items.
Well, here we are in the waning months of yet another year, and while you and your child have many years left of life, the years of childhood are quickly scooting by. Why not make your own version of a bucket list? Call it the Magic of Childhood List and put on it all of those things that you want to do while your child is still young. These do not have to be extravagant things. The items on your Magic of Childhood List should be grand and small experiences that bring joy and a sense of adventure, and that bring your child and you closer.
Wake up in the middle of the night to see a meteor shower. Play hooky from school and work and play putt-putt golf in the middle of the day. Make a tent in the living room and eat pancakes for dinner (inside the tent). Skype with a faraway relative or friend — just to read a story together. Take that family portrait. Find a favorite book from your childhood and read it with your child. Take a visit to every ice cream parlor in your city. Run through a sprinkler (with your clothes on). Make a tradition of catching a ball game together at least once a year. Open those files of photos on your computer and relive favorite memories.
Write each item from your list on a separate piece of paper. Fold the strips and place them in a jar. Once a week (or once a month), pick an item and make it happen. If you have several children, consider having a family jar from which you draw once a month, but also have individual jars with smaller adventures from which individual children can pick monthly. Do those things, one-on-one, with each child.
When you are immersed in the day-to-day routine of raising a child, it is hard to believe that time is passing so quickly. Nevertheless, while the hours, days and weeks seem to crawl, the years fly. Before you know it, this wondrous being that is your child will be grown and gone. By making a list, you are being intentional about celebrating the joy that is to be had in these fleeting years of childhood. With that intentionality, the years of childhood will live on in the memories and traditions you create.
A mother recounts the day her son was born. She scooped him out of his bassinette in the hospital and just held him, basking in his softness and smell. One of the nurses scolded her and said, “Do not hold him too much when he is a baby; you don’t want to spoil him.” An elderly woman who was nearby leaned over and whispered, “Don’t pay her any attention. When are you going to hold that baby, when he comes home from college?”
One of the wonders of being a parent is that you control the magic. While you cannot stop time and make it stand still, you can create magical moments that will withstand its passage. Take a break from the mundane. Bask in the wonder and delight that is childhood.
What can you check off your list today?
The Education Team