It takes a village of column readers

Dear Reader, thank you from the bottom of my ambitious, teen-parenting heart.

I asked and you delivered. My simple request came in the middle of my Mother’s Day meltdown. I asked, “What kind of life skills do my teens need to know before I launch them from the nest?”

You, ahead of me on the timeline parents, certainly have some strong opinions. Most of your advice boils down to two words: money laundering.

Oops, I’m not looking to raise white-collar criminals, so let’s make that, “Money” and “Laundry.”

Knowing how to wash clothes was on just about everyone’s list.

“Start to finish,” Carolyn stressed.

“Make sure they know how to get the dryer lint out of the screen,” Jo Ann threw in.

As for money, Nancy believes “budgeting and financial responsibility would be the greatest gift one can give their children.”

Shirley adds that includes knowing how to write a check, not using only a debit or credit card. How retro!

Christine taught her kids comparison shopping, which includes her “rule of three” for a car, house or any major purchase.

I found myself nodding to many on Karen’s list, which include making and keeping their own dentist, doctor, hair appointments, making conversation with someone a generation or two older and visiting someone in the hospital.

By far my favorite tip was what you are reading right now: “They need to know how to write a ‘Thank You’ note,” Amanda pointed out.

Emphasis on write. Not email, text, Instagram, or Snapchat. Put pen to paper and express of gratitude.

And so, I’m setting the example of just how important this is by penning my “Thank You” note to you. The way you take time out of your day to drop me a line, to share your wisdom, your encouragement, your laughs.

Well, you have no idea just how much you make my day.

I’m not going to compile a final list, as I think this will be an ongoing, growing list, one that’s not really ever done.

With that in mind, a special thanks to Gwen who tells me to, “Take heart because you will never think of everything, and you’re not supposed to. Part of growing up is figuring stuff out, plus gives them a reason to call you!

That’s right, the next phase when they’re not under my roof will be here way too soon. So, don’t go far, Dear Reader, I’m going to need you then even more.

Much gratitude for all that you do,


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Daryn Kagan is the author of “What’s Possible! 50 True Stories of People Who Dared To Dream They Could Make a Difference.” Email her at