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Spark Campfire

Spark Campfire
This entry is part 34 of 70 in the series Spark

A book* in a month, together with a kid, and enhance your relationship.

A few days ago, I let slip what I was giving my nieces for Christmas. What we’re offering is an experience. Except that rather than going to New Hampshire for the weekend together, we’re going to create something together.

* The asterisk for “book” up there in the subtitle is there because we can define book rather loosely. It might be a short story or a novella. Maybe it’s a full-length thriller or a brief nonfiction how-to book. I don’t know, a poem? The word “book” might be intimidating, so we can go with short story if that makes it more palatable.


In case you’re new around here, I wrote a book together with my two boys in 2014 when they were 8 and 10. The experience changed my life–and possibly changed theirs.

We created something together. It wasn’t that I wrote a book and they wrote a book and then we talked about the books we wrote together. We wrote it together.

Ever since then, I get comments from parents (and uncles and neighbors who don’t even have kids) asking about how they do something like it together with their kids.

So I wrote a book. It tells our story as well as the story of another dozen families and what they did.

But what I hear from parents is they want more. They want a more concrete, “hand-holding” workshop, something with a fixed beginning and end with checklists and accountability and a “guaranteed” outcome.

I’m working on an online course called Spark Camp. You can log in and watch the videos and download the checklists and infographics. It’ll be great.

But people want community. They want accountability. They want to do it together in a group and start on a date and finish on a date. They want to share notes of successes and disasters. They want to see how others are doing it, what’s working and what’s not.

  • “How did you get your 8-year-old boy to sit still for half an hour?”
  • “When did you get the feeling that the kids were really into it? When and how did that switch happen?”
  • “When was the moment when you knew this would change your relationship with your child forever?”

Whoa. That last one is the one that gets me.

Baking cookies with your niece is great. Going to the movies with your grandson is super fun.

But what happens when you share your time, listen to a child’s imagination, tap into your own fantasy, and become a part of something bigger than yourself?

You see, dear parent friend, I don’t really care about “the book” we’re creating. This is very much “it’s the journey, not the destination.” Yes, we’ll create a book in a month. Yes, it might be terrible. But we’ll have something we can hold in our hands (and dare I say, hold in our hearts) that we did together with them.

The benefits might not be apparent immediately. In fact, it might be when little Billy is 32 and he turns to you and says:

“You know when I was 11 and you made me write that stupid book with you? I didn’t realize it then–and even if I did, I never would have admitted it to you–but it opened up a floodgate of my imagination I might have never experienced otherwise. It also showed me that you took me seriously and valued my ideas–as dumb as they probably were–and that you cared about what I had to say. It meant a lot to me, mom, and I’m glad we did that together.”

Billy, 32-years old

Am I reaching here? Might this not happen? Here’s the thing: the chance of it happening is infinitely larger if we do the thing now than if we don’t do the thing now.

I need to stop writing now. It’s Christmas morning (well, it’s crazy early, I’m still really jetlagged) and the kids will be up soon. Hey, I also have presents to give.

But this is my plan for 2019. You’re more than welcome to join me. At the moment, we have “Spark Campfire” workshops planned for:

  • February 2019 ($100)
  • April 2019 ($200)
  • June 2019 ($300)
  • September 2019 ($400)
  • November 2019 ($500)

What are your plans for 2019?

Spark Campfire
Spark Campfire [Photo by Kevin Erdvig on Unsplash]
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