I’m a parent (thank God). And one of my greatest desires in life is that when the kids are away from home they should be homesick.

Homesick means there’s something back home that’s so good, they feel absolutely sick without it. And that’s a good thing. (Don’t think too deeply about that.)

Call me crazy. But really, our job as parents is to create a home that rivals the Apple store at your nearest mall. You know it’s their favorite place, right? The Apple store is loaded with the coolest things ever, and they can try their hand at all of them. And there are chilled, friendly, knowledgeable people standing by to lend a hand when needed, answer a question, explain something, guide them to the right product for their lifestyle/budget/interest.

It’s a paradigm shift. Instead of running a house like a boot camp or a stress factory, make it a place that everyone loves to come home to.

Years ago my husband and I heard the words of a very wise man who spent half a lifetime in marketing, and then shifted gears to lecture on parenting and spreading positive values to the next generation.

Marketing Parenting Guru (Rabbi) said that as parents, we need to fill the virtual shelves of our home “store” with goods that rival what’s out on the streets. Happiness, acceptance, fun activities, warmth, joy, games, music, great food – the more homemade the better – and lots of opportunities for the kids to try new things and find their way in life with cool, laid back helpful and friendly guidance from mom and pop.

Stocking your shelves with kid-friendly goods is simple, really, and requires small shifts in everyday occurrences. It’s turning on music, smiling, laughing, offering the customer some fresh-baked goods and hot, tasty foods. It’s asking them what they’re looking for, what they’re interested in, and really listening.

Stocking your shelves with the high-demand products means putting the kids first when it counts, because it may seem like they’ll be teenagers forever, but they already have one foot out of your store and they’re checking out the competition to see if there’s something better out there. You and I know it, and deep down they do, too – there’s nothing better out there.

In our cozy little home we give the customers what they need – and what they want.

And when they’re away, they’ll wish there was a franchise they could visit to get some of those awesome goods.