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Priceless life lesson

What are some inexpensive activities you do that makes you happy and/or allows quality time spent with loved ones?

My oldest child is graduating this June, and I've been reflecting back to the lessons I have tried to teach in preparation for his adulthood. The thing that stands out for me the most as being my weakest lesson taught, is that the value of time is priceless and happieness doesn't always have to be a result of something you pay for.

I did all I could to be, do and give everything to my son...and I worked hard and long to accomplish this. He had just about everything he needed and wanted. I went to every game and wrestling meet he ever had, and spent a small fortune doing it. In retrospect, I realize that even though I was there for him...I wasn't really there for him. When I wasn't working to earn money for all the expenses spent, I was running here and there in preparation of being the "super mom" and the big spender. Now that he is growing up and will be starting college soon, I finally get what people mean when they say time is priceless. Before he moves out of the house and onto true "adulthood" I hope to teach him this lesson.

Last week, I made my first lesson plan...instead of giving him money to go golfing with his friends, I introduced him to frisbee golf. He and the family went, and had a blast. It was fun, we did it together as a family, and it was free. What a remarkable, memorable moment!!! I look forward to doing more with the family without having to spend alot of money (preferrably none at all). He has decided to go into dentistry after high school, so his career choice may be lucrative. However, I want him to learn that no amount of money can buy the quality of happiness that only quality time with self and loved ones can provide. I want to teach him that continuous strive for "more" will always lead to a loss of freedom...and that this lesson is priceless.

With that in mind, I am asking for input on other ideas and activities to add to my lesson plan.

Wed. Apr 9, 8:53am

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In the interest of your son going to college, maybe taking cooking lessons together as a family. I know you are looking for inexpensive ways or low-cost. So how about getting him some cookbooks and teaching him to make a few recipies? Explain to him that he will thank you when he impresses his first girlfriend with his cooking skills. And the time you spend together in the kitchen is priceless - some of my fondest memories in life come from cooking with friends and family.

Good luck! I think your attempt is nobel and to be admired!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008, 9:47 AM

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It sounds like you are a very conscientious parent and I like your idea of showing him happiness without money. Our world needs a lot more happiness and a lot less greed! My boys are young so I don't feel like I have much experience on my side but anything like taking a hike, playing tennis, going for a bike ride. If you wanted to have a dual purpose you could look at being outside and cleaning up an area (park, beach, ditch, etc). Or if he would also enjoy some quiet time the family could take turns reading a book out loud, putting together a family scrapbook (or one of all his highschool events) for lasting memories, or doing some family geneology (promote awareness of ancestors and reinforce relationships). I hope this helps spur on some ideas for you and that you enjoy and treasure this season with your son before he moves on to adulthood!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008, 9:53 AM

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Yay for you, OP. I have a young daughter and sometimes I feel in the minority by taking the same approach. I'd have a ton of ideas if your son were younger! Although, recently, there was one thing I did as an adult for the very first time and it brought such unanticipated joy - I flew a kite! My astute husband remembered my saying it was something I wanted to do before I died, so for our next wedding anniversary he surprised me with a kite and a picnic lunch at the park - it was awesome. Loved, loved, loved it.

How about a lesson plan on the gift of giving to others? Make volunteering a family event.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008, 10:02 AM

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OP here. I love the cooking idea! He does love food (what teenage boy doesn't) The other 2 posters, I think you're onto something with the volunteering. I will check out some options. Although he sees me giving (I often participate in communitty events and I volunteer weekly by being a reading tutor), I haven't pushed him to do the same. I guess I have never considered whether or not he wants to do that kinda stuff. :) smiles on the kite flying :)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008, 10:43 AM

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I am in a similar boat but my daughter is graduating NEXT June. We just signed her up for the SAT's and when I saw the schools she picked to report the scored to I just balled my eyes out. I am such an emotional wreck about it and am trying to spend more time with her before she goes. It's so true, you just can't imagine where that time has gone, I swear it was only yesterday she was born! We are planning a big Dinsey and beach vacation this year (normally we would just go to the beach and she gets bored there!). Also, my husband has finally agreed to start walking in the evenings with me and I'm pretty sure all of the kids will want to come along, I'm hoping at least. In the summer we do all go hiking together, pack a lunch and make a day of it. I just love these times, when they are all not arguing anyway! LOL!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008, 5:35 PM

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My daughter went to college last Sept. It was a very hard transition, but to the above will get through it! You'll be amazed when you look back this time next year.

As for quality time, through the years, i spent a lot of time with my daughter reading books together - from age 1 through about 6th grade. From there on, I read many of the books she did even tho they were children's books so we could discuss and share. We also spent many days cooking together, where she would pick out the recipes - anything goes, and we would try it. She played the oboe, and I played the flute back in high school, so I bought duet books and we played lots of duets. I will say, I spent lots of time watching her sports and practic, listening to concerts and earning money so she could do things too. For her activities I tried to be the volunteer mom so that I was not just watching, but helping (i.e. band mom). Those of you reading this probably realize I had little time for this and working too, so yes, I went through a big empty nest thing last year, but the closeness of me and my daughter is irreplaceable and I'm hoping will last my life time. I gave up all my own hobbies when she was born, since I was a working mom, and it was worth it.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008, 6:08 PM

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It's so strange at the end when you say you gave up all your own hobbies when your daughter was born. Up until that point I was thinking about how much fun it sounded like you had keeping up your old hobbies in a new way: reading, playing wind instruments, being a part of school band, etc. It was comforting to me as a 21 year old woman who wants a professional career, my hobbies, and motherhood. It's not that I would be a selfish mother (I would want to give my children the best of the best) but I always think I would find it terribly hard to prepare someone with all these wonderful life activities, when I myself wasn't getting that out of life. I also don't want to sacrifice my whole identity , and I wouldn't want my daughter to forget all those hours reading, those lessons, sports and activities I instilled in her once she's 25 either. Are these activities only meant for children then? I just don't get it.

The message to women considering children seems to be so clear: you have to lose yourself to do it right. Or is that just the message mother's want the world to hear for all the hard work they put in? I really hope it's the latter. Really really.

An artistically, academically, professionally, and motherly inclined female.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008, 8:01 PM

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8:01 Again

I'm sorry that my comment was off topic. I didn't mean to turn the thread towards something new or anything. I just got inspired to ask all these lovely and devoted mothers!

OP - I think your pursuit is a great one. I also agree with the cooking idea. I'm a college student and it took me a long time to realize that the type of food I was eating on my own was not healthy. I'm in third year, and 50 pounds later, i wish I knew what I knew now in first! Teach him the magic of fruit, veg, and whole grains - what better gift than health for your son?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008, 10:04 PM

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Hi 8:01 - I never thought of it that way, of enjoying my hobbies in a different way. In many ways that is so true. I did/do enjoy the things we did together, tremendously, regardless. I guess I gave up a few hobbies and shared some key ones by instilling the interest in her.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008, 10:13 PM

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While I am not at the graduation point yet, my oldest will start middle school next year. Along with the pressure of that she has a best friend who lives a very materialistic life. Never wanting or working for anything. I have been working hard to help her understand the value of time vs. money. It is a hard road, and I hope it will pay off for her as she grows.

I look forward to reading more ideas, thanks OP for this thread!

Thursday, April 10, 2008, 11:49 AM

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