Digging Holes & Reading Books

Reading Books,
A Puppet Show, &
Digging Holes – oh my!

I recently returned home after spending 6 glorious days with my children and their children.   During the 10 hour road trip home I had a lot of time to reflect on family time spent together: what worked and what didn’t.

My two children do not live close to us; one lives in Kentucky and the other in Washington, D.C. Between them, they have blessed us with four grandchildren (#5 to arrive October), ranging in ages from 16 months to 5 years old.  When we get together, it is a gift. It is a choice that each person makes to invest time, money, and effort into our family.  Since I want us to get a great return on our investment, I pack intentionally for family vacations and I do so with one question in mind.  If you are a regular to the Fireflies Blog, you probably can guess what it is…

What should I pack that will create legacy moments
and develop communication skills
while growing my grandchildren’s
sense of wonder?

No, I didn’t think of these words specifically, but as I reflected on the past six days, I realized that everything I had packed, prompted an activity that fell under one of our three main Fireflies’ headings.  (At least I’m consistent with my passion & belief about developing the heart and mind of a young child!)

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Growing a child’s sense of wonder begins with a book.  Into a wicker basket, I packed 24 books to share with the children.  Most of them were recent Fireflies’ picks but some were old favorites and a few were new treasures.  What warmed my heart and still brings a tear to my eye is thinking about the pictures I have of the children piled on top of an adult’s lap, embraced in a reading hug, and with eyes glued to the pages of a chosen book.   Which adult?  Every adult…  From Uncle Mike to Uncle Jeremy to Mommies to Bumper (Grandpa) and Nana – each took their turn in the big leather chair, growing a sense of wonder in the cousins.   How blessed am I, to have four little ones who are being raised on great books?  Blessed indeed!

In the back of our vacation house was a little beach area.   Each day, the children would dig their hole – bigger and bigger.  And each day that hole would become a new adventure with cars or play people or twigs or stones.

Digging holes

At dusk one night a canoe was launched to a nearby island and lanterns were sent into the night sky.   There is just something magical about seeing those tissue paper lanterns float away while praying they won’t go astray and set a neighbor’s roof on fire!

Lantern

Exploring “secret” islands was also one of the legacy moments we were able to create for the children.   What is a legacy moment?   It’s one of those moments that when created, you know as a family, you will be talking about it way into the future…  And you even may see your children recreate a legacy moment from their childhood – because those moments hold such dear memories – memories that define “family”.

island

I packed books, shovels, and…a puppet theater.  Now I probably would have packed my puppet theater anyhow, but the fact that my 5-year-old grandson requested it so that “We can put on a show, Nana…” caused me to pack it fast and first!  I love that he associates family gatherings with a “show”.

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I love the hours we spent thinking about our show and deciding what part each of the cousins would have: who would give out the tickets and popcorn and where we would have everyone sit.   We didn’t actually pull off the official “Pout-Pout Fish” puppet show, but what fun we had planning it!   (There’s always Thanksgiving!)   We did get out the “Tell Me a Story” Box and hopefully I’ll be able to share that with you soon via a Chasing Fireflies Podcast.    Why did I pack the puppet theater and the TMAS box?   Because, with all my heart I believe that family is to cheer family on…encourage the creativity and imagination of its children.   I also believe that the most important skill we can develop in our children is the ability to communicate with confidence.   It begins in the living room with a puppet theater and the applause of family.

The end of this story is that I already have my Christmas shopping done…almost, and yes – it’s a book.   Each grandchild will receive a photo book illustrating our 2013 family legacy trip.   There will be pictures of holes being dug, books being read, and shows being planned.  My prayer is that years from now, wherever these four little ones are as adults, they will come across this book and be reminded of how we define “family”.

Deni Corbett
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Exciting news!
Chasing Fireflies Puppet Theaters
will be available in our STORE beginning October 10th!   

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