This week’s Facebook Live Broadcast included Oscar and Betty! I interview them about their experience in Scrooge, and they help me share some favorite Christmas books. You can watch the video here, or on Facebook.

We also talk about the Challenges Ralph left for each family member before he left on this mission. The idea came about as our summer in France was winding down. We were looking for a way to mark this transitional event in Ralph’s life, and our family’s life, and we brainstormed as a family what we could do. Should we create some sort of ceremonial action? Like dip our feet in the Seine and light a candle and sing a song? And then the idea of challenges came up.


Ralph would be progressing and trying new things regularly while he was on his mission, and he could issue challenges to each family member, to be accomplished during his absence, that would make sure the whole family was trying new things and progressing.

So Ralph took a couple of weeks to think on what the challenges would be for each person. And then, a few days before he left, we all went to out dinner, and Ralph issued the challenges. There were challenges for each individual family member (you can learn what they are on the video), and there were also two challenges for the family in general, which I didn’t mention on the video.

The first one is that the whole family should take sailing lessons, master the knots, and be confident sailing on The Bay. We talk often of taking a few months and spending it sailing from port to port somewhere in the world. We love the idea of having concentrated family time together! And we’ve done a little bit of sailing + lessons since we moved here, but we let lots of time pass between sailing adventures, and sometimes feel like we’re starting over each time. So this challenge is to help us really commit to learning to sail.

The second challenge is that the family should visit Yosemite National Park in all four seasons while Ralph is gone. Yosemite is a family favorite, and we all lament that we don’t get there enough. So this challenge is to ensure we are taking advantage of the beautiful places we have access to.

I really love the idea of a family member giving loving challenges to the rest of the family. I thought you might like the idea too and be able to use it for your own families! I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject, and I’ve been thinking of other life events that might be a good fit for issuing challenges. What’s your take?

P.S. — First weekly broadcast.