Every Monday, my little ladies sit at the table of one Kristie Horn, an instructor in the gifted program at a local public school here in Georgia. I sought her out last year when my Mari needed a little extra help in math; eventually, Kristie’s incredible instruction not only got my daughter’s ‘rithmatic up to speed, but helped her earn one of the highest standardized test math scores in her grade (that’s my baby!). And now, rather than tutor her, Kristie gives both Mari and Lila what we like to call math “enrichment”—the kind of instruction that will make my little girls beasts in a subject girls are traditionally steered away from. Kristie treats my daughters as if they are the most brilliant little children she’s ever met, and has become one of my closest confidants when it comes to the education of my daughters.
But this is only one reason why my family adores Kristie.
In addition to her kid-math prowess, she’s become quite a friend to our family; Kristie is a fantastic mother to her three beautiful children, a terrific wife to her husband—kind, intelligent, passionate, honest, and devoted to God first, and family a close second. And she’s always encouraging us to remember the importance of embracing all that’s sacred when it comes to raising up our little ones—invest heavily in their education, spend plenty of time with them, give them space to be kids, and love them with abandon.
To that end, Kristie gave us an incredibly meaningful gift this Christmas—one cleverly designed to bring our family closer together. It’s called “The Millner-Chiles Family Game,” and Kristie designed it all by herself. It’s a small vase simply decorated with ribbon, and filled with questions meant to inspire discussion between me, my husband, and our children. Some of the questions are introspective (“What makes a house a home?” “What does it mean to be honest?”), while some of the questions are meant to be revealing (“Name three things (besides people) that you wouldn’t want to live without,” “What would you like to be famous for?” “What is one thing about your family you would like to change?”). Others are just plain fun (“What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten?” “What color makes you feel happy?”).
All of the questions are incredibly illuminating, and while we haven’t had the chance to play just yet, we’re looking forward to it, for sure. I mean, I really want to know what the 6-year-old has to say about our annoying habits, and what about our family the 9-year-old would like to change, and especially what the 16-year-old thinks is the best age to be. I can only imagine that all kinds of interesting conversation will be sparked—all kinds of insights will come to light. And we’ll feel more connected because of it.
And to think that this gift cost Kristie practically nothing; she put the questions in a cute little vase you can pick up at Michael’s for, like, $2, wrapped a pretty ribbon around it, and printed the questions out on heavy card stock.
But the benefits of her inexpensive but incredibly thoughtful gift are priceless.
Thank you, Kristie, for being such a blessing to this family. We love you madly.