Monday, August 2, 2010

Thoughts on Cookie Baking Night

Tonight is an off night for Cookie Baking with the nieces and nephews, so I thought I'd share with you some of my thoughts on this event.

I'll give a short explanation of Cookie Baking night for the benefit of those who may be new to the blog: Cookie Baking Night happens every other Monday evening from 5:00 pm until 8:00 pm. Our nieces and nephews come over to the house (from both sides of the family). We have supper together (Greg always joins us for supper, and I enjoy having him as part of the experience as well) and then we make some kind of treat in the kitchen (sometimes cookies but it can be a variety of items). Once a niece or nephew turns 3 years old, they are invited to join us on Cookie Baking Nights. Each Cookie Baking Night we read a Bible lesson. We're currently working through Leading Little Ones to God by Marian Schoolland. I read the lesson and now that some of the kids are old enough to read, they take turns reading the passage (that accompanies the lesson) from the Bible. We also play board games, go for walks, and occasionally watch a video.

I started this practice 7 years ago. My oldest nephew, Joe, has since graduated (from Cookie Baking Night and from high school) but he held on in attendance until he was 16 years old. I was surprised he lasted that long but enjoyed it while it lasted. In the last few months before he ended his time with us, he was having a hard time telling me that he might be out growing Cookie Baking Night (his dad, my brother, broke the news to me so I could address it with Joe). I assured Joe that though I enjoyed having him here and would miss him when he was gone, what he was eperiencing was a sign of maturity. (I also told him I would be a little concerned if he was 25 years old and still wanted to attend Cookie Baking Nights with the little kids).

My niece, Emily, is 9 years old and has been coming since she was 2 (we didn't have age rules back then). This is a part of life for her.

Part of the Cookie Baking Night tradition includes birthday celebrations. On the Cookie Baking Night closest to the child's birthday, they get to choose what we have for supper that night and they get to choose the cookie we bake that evening. As the kids get older, they take delight in choosing these items. Carissa just turned 5 years old at the begining of July, and that's the age the children really start to engage in the process of picking what we eat and bake that night. She had it planned out in detail. She chose macaroni and cheese ("the cheesiest kind" please), french fries, and strawberries. For the cookie, she asked to make M&M cookies. Oddly enough, french fries appear at every birthday meal. I've seen the request for spaghetti and french fries, pizza and french fries, macaroni and cheese and french fries.....whatever the main dish, french fries accompany it.

I thoroughly enjoy Cookie Baking Nights, and I'm grateful God has allowed me this opportunity to be involved in the lives of my nieces and nephews. It affords me a relationship with them that I'm not sure I would have otherwise, and it allows me the opportunity to model consistency for them.

I encourage you to consider some kind of relationship-buidling activity with your own nieces and nephews or other children in your lives (if not an every-other-week event, then consider a once-a-month or once-a-year tradition).

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