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  • Writer's pictureStacy Barrett

The Four - Pack

When my oldest was in preschool we changed schools after a spring conference with his teacher. At that conference this teacher said a lot of odd things, but the one that really got me? She told us Jared needed to play with his younger brother LESS so he could learn to engage with kids his own age better. (mind you - these 2 are 19 months apart). The vibe at that conference was so odd that we literally pulled him out of that school and never went back (after a lot of prayer, a good cry, and some wise counsel).

That teacher said a lot of things at that conference, but what struck me with that one about playing with this brother less gave us a huge clue that this woman had NO IDEA about the family and culture we were trying to create. Can I be real? I could care less about his relationship with those 15 - 4 years olds in comparison to the relationships I was trying to cultivate between my own kids in our home. That’s not to say I didn’t do play dates and all the things - but at the beginning and end of each day … it’s the 4-pack.

That’s why our extended summers away have been so intentional and meaningful. It’s the 4-pack.

My oldest has always been our sports guy. His next youngest brother, Will, was not - and we didn’t push it. I have a sign I’ve hung in the boys’ shared room that reads…

brother (bre -ther)n. 1. A best friend for life. 2. A builder of forts. 3. Teller of stories in the dark. 4. Player of catch and shooter of hoops.

It always made me a little sad that these two weren’t aligned in the love of sports. There was no shooting of hoops, but this past year that’s shifted and it’s brought so much joy. Together, they “bulk” and eat all the protein and complex carbs - showing great appreciation for my food prep. Together, they make protein shakes, mix BCAA’s, ride to workouts and practices and coaching sessions, and lift in our garage gym they built together. Together, they hoop.

For a lot of summers it was hours and hours of creative play in nature building forts, digging in the dirt, making complex cities for giant ants, and drum circles out of sticks and rocks and stumps of trees.

Now, it’s still a little of that, but mostly it’s this and my heart is SO full. Even 12-year-old Caleb is getting in on the action, lifting and going to workouts with their trainer and learning alongside them with their rough and tumble brother “mentoring” and I am just so grateful for it all.

Hang in there, mamas. Stay the course with the culture and family and values that YOU want to see in your home. If I can be real, I even hesitate to post because raising these kids is not over and I don’t want to ever presume to spike the ball early, but I think it’s important to share because these early years and these times are SO important. Quantity time, hanging the values on the wall you want to see flourish in your family, being in alignment with your spouse and truly creating the family and the life that you love - on purpose.


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