InspirEmail No 215 - September 5th, 2011 - The Toast
'Inspirational messages to refresh the spirit and boost the emotional bank account'

The Toast

What do you suppose is the biggest regret people feel at the funeral of someone they love? The answer is that too many people regret not telling their loved one how much they meant to them while they were alive.

Far too often funerals are full of people who 'wished' they had told them. For two decades my family has carried on a ritual that is performed at birthday dinners by each family member. It is known simply as 'The Toast.'

While each tribute is generally just a few minutes, it becomes the true focal point for our birthdays.

Each family member verbally honours what we like about the person who is celebrating their birthday. The Toast also covers (but is not exclusive to) things that we admire and respect, how they have impacted or inspired us since their last birthday, what we've learned from them and fun memories of things you have done together.

The benefits to kids are abundant:

1. They will know how important they are to you.

2. They will understand why the family respects and honours them.

3. If two siblings are not getting along, the toast offers a new perspective to hear the wonderful attributes that others see and it often helps to influence a better relationship.

4. When one parent is honouring another, it is music to child's ears. When they hear parents proclaiming their admiration for one another, there is no better way to give your kids a feeling of security and confidence in their family unit.

And for any woman who has ever asked her partner why he likes her and then watched as he squirmed and stumbled as if he was being asked to give up a kidney, she will no longer have to beg or plead to find out! After all, she gets one birthday each year!

Our tributes are not limited to speeches. We have used rap to sing our praises, poetry, personalized scrap book and photo albums, and video as ways to recognize the people we love. The Toast has been a fast track for me to the wonderful feeling of self-assurance I now have and I never have any doubts about how my family feels about me.

Best of all, I will have no regrets that I didn't tell the people I love so dearly, how much they have meant to me.

Written by Monique Howat - Youth Motivator
A story taken from Monique's book 'How to Raise Confident and Motivated Kids - super simple strategies.' 

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To my grown-up child

My hands were busy through the day,
I didn't have much time to play,
The little games you asked me to,
I didn't have much time for you.

I'd wash your clothes, I'd sew and cook,
But when you'd bring your picture book,
And ask me please, to share your fun,
I'd say, 'A little later son.'

I'd tuck you in all safe at night,
And hear your prayers, turn out the light,
Then tiptoe softly out the door,
I wish I'd stayed a minute more.

For life is short, the years rush past,
A little child grows up so fast,
No longer are they at your side,
Their precious secrets to confide.

The picture books are put away
There are no children's games to play.
No goodnight kiss, no prayers to hear,
That all belongs to yesteryear.

My hands once busy, now lay still.
The days are long and hard to fill.
I wish I might go back and do,
The little things you asked me to.

Written by Alice E. Chase

Submitted by Monique Howat for this issue of InspirEmail along with her story 'The Toast'

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It's not what we leave our kids; it's what we leave within them that counts
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