Filling your child with love, by Jon Vaughn.
I write words. No one pays me and I don’t blame them.
The most meaningful things I’ve written, or what I’ve created, have no meaning to you. They’re so important that I put them next to salami sandwiches, bags of chips, and Handi-Snacks. These priceless collections of messages and images are sent secure and private. Even if you were to breach security, you’d have no use. The NSA spy program has nothing on me. Okay, they probably do.
Over the years I’ve randomly posted pictures of the lunch notes I’d send with my daughter’s lunches. Today was one of those days and I received a message from a Full-Time Daddy fan to help her come up with new ideas. As an alternative, I wrote a small list of inspirations. Ultimately, it’s up to you. You know him or her better than anyone else, I hope. And whether you’re a Lunchable type of parent, or you’re sending them with five course meals, I hope you’re packing a little extra. This is the real stuff that satisfies hunger.
Poetry. It’s really easy to rhyme if you give it some time. Write about their friend Bill, or their Uncle Ted; thank them for cleaning their room, or for not wetting the bed. The good ones are written on the quickest of whims; the best ones are ones that get shared with their friends.
Creative. The message doesn’t always have to be words. It can be the process in getting to the words in the first place. Remember those folded “secret” notes we’d pass in grade school? Have you ever glued the edges of a note so it has to rip in order to open? Think of how, not just what, you’re going to say.
Educational. There is no such thing as too much education. Depending on what grade they’re in, find articles or stories you can print from the Internet and include it with their Snack Pack. Try to find something they’re genuinely interested in, unless it’s Justin Bieber’s latest escapade.
Draw. Give your best shot at a self-portrait, or of a tree with a donkey on top eating pickles. It doesn’t really matter. Use a pencil, crayons, or mom’s eyeliner — anything will do. Whatever you create will be an original. If it has any value, it could possibly be traded for a Ho Ho or Twinkies.
Jokes. We all love a good joke and kids love adding new ones to their arsenal. From one-liners to knock-knock, you will be the life of the cafeteria party with a new joke. Not only will you make your child laugh outside of your presence, it’s very likely they’ll want to share the humor with their friends. I highly suggest kid-friendly jokes unless you want a phone call from the school.
Reminders. Children need reminders about everything, all the time, over and over again. And even after that, they still forget. If they play a sport or an instrument, remind them about practice that afternoon or give them the sheet music of the song they’re learning.
Love. When all else fails, or you simply don’t have time, rely on what the Beatles have suggested because deep down, all we need is love, and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.
Today I decided on a knock-knock joke but I was only half-kidding:
And you always know you’re doing it right when they respond:
This article originally appeared on The Huffington Post.
Photo credit: eyeliam/flickr