THERE ARE FOUR WORDS that I probably heard my parents say a million times when I was growing up. And strangely, they were four words that usually didn’t really mean what they should have meant. I’m guessing you’ve probably heard these words before. Just. One. More. Thing.
It seemed like my parents always had just one more thing for me to hear.
“Oh David, just one more thing before you go. Can you take the trash bag from the kitchen out to the garbage on your way out? … And be sure to put gas in the car on your way home later. I won’t have time to get it in the morning… And don’t forget your coat!”
Those four words used to drive me crazy. But then I became a parent and finally understood that there are a ton of things involved in raising kids. It amazes me sometimes that God even gives us the responsibility to do it! So many things to think about and to keep track of and to do. Helping your kids grow up to be safe and happy and prepared to live a productive life on their own is not easy. So we give it our best shot.
As our oldest son, Brent, reached his mid high school years and started checking out colleges, we realized just how quickly those “18 years of child raising” were going by. And they were almost over! Pretty soon Brent would be out on his own. Had we done enough? Had we done it right? Was he ready?
We began praying about how to find that out.
Bernice and I are both list people. When we’re trying to figure something out, or when we’re planning something, we make lists. So we decided to make a list of the big things that we wanted to make sure Brent had gotten over the years. From our example, the Bible, life experiences, books we had read, or whatever. If we were to stop him on his way out the door to college and say “Oh wait Brent, just one more thing…” what would those things be? Had his training in this list of important things stuck? Had he really gotten it?
So we came up with our list, but we didn’t want to lecture him on those things. We were pretty sure he wouldn’t be crazy about that idea. So we decided to put together a binder with a short chapter on each of the topics from our list. Each chapter had some basic information and then some questions or Bible verses to think about.
Then I approached Brent with the bribe… I mean plan. If he was willing, the two of us would each do a chapter on our own every couple of weeks and then we’d go out to a late breakfast on a Saturday together and discuss the topic. He was willing. So every couple weeks during Brent’s senior year we went out for breakfast with our binders and we sat and talked about stuff… like the topics found in Just One More Thing.
We had some great Saturday breakfasts together, so much so that I ended up doing the same thing with our other two children during their senior years. In all three of their lives, the end result was the same. Each left home better prepared and with greater confidence for what lay ahead. And we as parents felt better about letting them go!
If you’re a parent of high school students and you’re reading this, I’d encourage you to make your own list. What are the important things you want to make sure your kids understand before they leave home? And hopefully our new book Just One More Thing can also be a valuable resource for you to use to help initiate some great conversations with your kids to help prepare them for life on their own.
If you’re a student getting ready to head out on your own in the near future, I’d encourage you to get a copy of Just One More Thing to help you be as prepared as possible for the adventures and challenges that are up ahead for you. If you have a parent that you can go through it with, that would be awesome. Not only can you get some great free breakfasts, but they can share some of their own life experiences that can be helpful for you.
By David Gudgel