You probably heard the old adage, "be a parent to your child; not their friend. Otherwise it becomes very confusing when time for discipline." I know firsthand this statement is very true but like anything in one's life you cannot take it to the extreme. Too much parenting causes the child to shut off communication and turns your presence into a giant rule maker and not someone who listens or cares about their concerns--real or imagined. That's where stamp collecting comes into play.
As discussed previous in "fellowship" article, the parent/child relationship is strengthened in the area of trust when dealing with stamps. The child is allowed to learn from stamps by making their own decisions about what, how and where to collect. Each stamp session or lesson is another building block of fruitful memory the child carries the rest of their lives. Some of my finest memories of my father, may God rest his soul, revolve around stamp collecting. Our trips to New York stamp shows, the United Nations, pulling out the albums on unscheduled rainy days and just pouring hours into figuring out this and that about stamps and about each other. We were building great memories. My father was still my father but I felt deep down inside he figured out a way to be my friend for a few hours and that lightened the load for both of us considering our respective roles and responsibilities.
I think I got to be the grown-up by making decisions and my father got to be the kid again and sat back and enjoyed not having to direct every facet of every thing in the universe. I' m remembering what I learned then and applying it to my sons in the present day. I will never stop being a father since that role today is more critical than ever before but I will find ways to be his friend whenever possible and whenever it doesn't compromise my primary role. Stamp collecting is going to be another highly useful vehicle to communicate for all parties involved.
Another excellent stamp approach is to take the stamp collecting from the indoors of your home and bring it on the road. We went to museums (Navajo heritage), planetariums (space stamps), zoos (exotic animal stamps), stamp shows (United Nations), conventions (NYC), etc, etc. that spot-lighted the educational angle of stamps. These trips also built great memories that made stamp collecting an exciting adventure. It brought my father and I closer and suddenly made me realize how fortunate I was when other neighborhood kids complained how little they saw of their parents. Some of those kids went on to school problems, behavior problems and eventually legal problems. Neglect, in my opinion, is a form of abuse. Stay active, stay involved and your children will probably stay out of trouble. Stamps might just do the trick.