Rules of the Fort
From the humblest blanket forts to epic tree houses, fort building is a quintessential part of growing up.
Many parents will tell you how much their kids love playing in cardboard boxes, but Bethany’s kids took the classic box fort to a new level. They built a whole kingdom, government included.
“Back in 2003 we put a big addition on our house. We basically ripped half of our house down!” Bethany said. “It was this whole big, long, torturous process.” When the appliances were delivered, the kids hauled the giant boxes into the backyard along with forty pounds of duct tape. “The refrigerator box was the biggest, so they made that the main room,” Bethany recalled. “They used cabinet boxes as hallways. It was an absolute maze.”
Eventually, a storm rolled through, reducing the fort to a soggy mess. Bethany and her husband were picking up the remnants when they made a discovery worthy of Indiana Jones.
Rules of the Fort
1. Don't ever break the club even if you are mad.
2. No yelling, swaring, hitting, kicking, mocking,
drawing on people, pushing and pulling hair.
3. Be nice.
4. Try not to fight with others.
5. No saying bad/mean things.
6. Always remember how much fun we had
making the club.
7. Always be loveing.
8. Always listen to what people have to say.
9. Never lay down unless people let you.
Lizzy C. - Joe C. - Emma C. - Matt C.
HAVE FUN !
Bethany immediately thought, “I’m gonna save this, and someday it'll be really cool to show them.” She stashed it in the basement and forgot about it. She recently rediscovered it and decided to preserve it.
“Every time I see it I crack up,” Bethany said. “I mean, having rules that say, ‘No mocking’?! What little kid even knows that word? My husband and I absolutely died laughing.”
Last December, Bethany decided to surprise her kids. She framed and wrapped the fort rules, and tucked it under the tree. “It had all their names on it, which really built up the excitement,” Bethany said. “The kids were like, ‘What in the world?! Is it a new TV? What is this?’ I wish I had filmed their reaction when they opened the box—the looks on their faces! They sat around and read off all the rules. They were crying and laughing.”
Bethany’s kids are all grown up. The youngest is in college, one recently graduated, and one is working. The rules of the fort brought them back to that summer, so many years ago. “We wanted them to be able to look back at a moment in a summer that meant something to them. It ties together what they remember as one of the greatest summers of their life. To have this framed really allowed us as a family to capture something they felt.”
“You can buy your kids Apple watches. You can spend hundreds of dollars—thousands of dollars. And this silly piece of cardboard brought genuine laughs, and stories, and tears, and reminiscing.”
This story is a favorite of our Founder and CEO Susan Tynan. Hear her take in NPR’s How I Built This with Guy Raz.