Expose your child, grandchild, or nephew/niece to a variety of things

The more places and experiences young people can experience and feel comfortable in- the better. Why not have them experience: the opera, a dive bar, back-packing, an expensive restaurant, a hockey game, a country club, a middle-eastern restaurant, the subway, a rodeo, Nascar, a wine list, other countries, a Native American Pow-wow, golf, a construction site, a blue-grass festival, an art museum, skiing, and a Bar Mitzvah. And while your there, take the time to show them how those experiences work. Help them find something about that experience that they can enjoy and relate to.

Exposure to different things may be the greatest gift you can give a young person.

And... as they get older, why not expose them to variety of faiths and followers: Catholics, Buddhists, Methodists, Universal Unitarians, Hindus, Jews, Pagans, Atheists, Mormons, Baptists, and Muslims.

Do you trust them to make up their own mind and find what works for them?

That's expensive you say... yes.  That takes a lot of time... uh huh. And some of that stuff, you have not experienced yourself and is way out of your comfort zone... I know.

Do you want their world to be large or small?

When they get invited to meet their boyfriend/girlfriend's family at the country club, do you want them to feel poised and comfortable- or frightened and uneasy? Do they have the experience and skills to interact in that world. Do they know which fork to use?

Or do you want to keep them sheltered- so they are frightened as soon as they step outside of your social familiar? Do you want them to go wild when they leave home and have to use alcohol and substances to get beyond their fear and inhibition in order to explore the world. Or worse yet, do you want them to stay in their family's little world?

Do you want them to find themselves- or do you want them to be like you?

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