Every year, starting at age 10, we celebrate our childrens’ birthdays by giving them the gift of a “Freedom”. The first part of their gift is a gushing letter from us letting them know how proud we are of them and what wonderful people that they are. In the letter we list all of the amazing ways we have seen them mature over the year. Then we reveal their new freedom and why we think they are ready for it.
Freedoms could include: Freedom of music; Freedom of money; Freedom of your bedroom; Freedom of driving (age 16); Freedom of food; Freedom of hair; Freedom of clothing; Freedom of bedtime/curfew…(stay tuned for full details in Part II) The list gets longer as we keep brainstorming more!
We decided to make the first freedom, given at age 10, a standard freedom that EVERYONE would receive at this age. This would be the FIRST time our children would receive a nice/expensive object to call their own. They would make the rules about its use and they would take on full responsibility for its care. We would be completely hands off.
This freedom didn’t have a great name, but it has slowly been dubbed, “The Freedom of Things”.
This means that we don’t give them nice/expensive objects as their own before they are 10. We have a FAMILY iPad, computer, video camera, and camera that they can use. But we reserve the right of ownership of these devices for children over 10. It is one of those privileges of growing up!
We kicked off the “Freedom to take care of a nice object” at K’s birthday. Here she is turning 10, reading the letter that we wrote her.
Then we presented her with her gift: a brand new digital camera. This was a HUGE deal!
We told her that it was hers to take care of. It is the FIRST gift that we told her that she didn’t have to share with anyone AND we recommended that she not let anyone use it who couldn’t afford to replace it. (Yes, I have borrowed it for trips before) We also suggested that she order a case for it with her money, and she immediately did that!
It has been almost 2 years since K earned this freedom/responsibility. Her camera is still working well for her. She keeps it charged and takes it on trips. She continued to be responsible in this area, so we bought her a kindle for Christmas in 2013.
Our second 10 year old was just as excited, even though she was pretty sure that she knew what was coming…
While the 10 year old freedom is “carved in stone”, the others aren’t. This means that is a fun guessing games as birthdays approach, “I wonder what freedom I will get!”
It is our desire is that we are communicating respect for each of our children as individuals and instilling joy and excitement about this decade of “growing up”.
Stay tuned tomorrow for more information on the Freedoms we have on our list!
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