I believe that celebration needs to be an important part of our life. In fact, it is one of our family’s core values. It is intrinsic to who we are as a family. We celebrate our birthdays every year with a party. Some would say it is ‘over the top’. Hubby wanted our kids to have a birthday party every year so that they would realise that their life is a celebration. This comes, unfortunately, from the fact that he never had a birthday party growing up. In fact, he hardly ever had a birthday cake to blow out the candles on his birthday. My family was poor too but we were able to select what favourite meal we would like mum to cook for tea plus mum always made one of her special cream filled sponge cakes and a pavlova with strawberries and cream on top.
My kids love celebrating. They would celebrate anything if they could. Sometimes I don’t know if it is the great meal we have that they like or whether it is the actual event they remember. I have a sneaking suspicion it is both. It is a huge source of comfort to them, a reassuredness that everything is going to be alright. The future is o’kay.
This week we are celebrating. In the huge project of ‘Books 4 Cambodia’ we have reached the milestone of 10,000 books sorted and packed. It is only about half way, but since it is a huge project and is consuming a lot of our family’s time, we feel it is right to celebrate this achievement so far. We will have a bigger celebration once the container is fully loaded and left to go to the docks.
A friend was sharing with me last week how they have a special night mid year and end of year and present the kids with a book voucher and a certificate listing the things they have accomplished in the previous 6 months. These things are not only academic achievements but character growth, physical achievements, emotional achievements and things like mastering tying shoelaces, being able to cook cupcakes on their own, etc.
I write special birthday and Christmas cards each year for the kids with their character growth, interests and achievements listed on them but I love this idea of having a special night set aside to celebrate growth. I am going to also get the kids to make up a list of things that they have seen hubby and myself grow in over the previous 6 months. Kids are brutally honest!!
When friends share with me something significant they have accomplished, I always find myself asking them how they celebrated the achievement. Celebration is so much part of our family life that it is a given value. I am not talking about going over the top and being a parent who helps create a false sense of self worth in their kids by praising everything they do. I’m talking about creating space, even if it is only to sit down and have a drink or give a ‘high 5’ to each other, so as to stop and say, “Yeah. I did it. It was worth the effort.”
It is not about the money and how much you spend to celebrate. You can actually find really cheap ways of celebrating that are meaningful. It may be an eye opener for you to ask your kids what sort of things they would like to celebrate and how.
Milestones are important. They are great times to stop, reflect and see just where we have been. They give confidence in the future. God commanded the Israelites to set up memorial stones. To share what God had done in the past and what He will continue to do. As a family, we celebrate the kids’ spiritual birthdays, when they chose to become a Christian and ask Jesus Christ to come into their life to be Saviour and Lord of themself. We also celebrate the day that they both were baptised. They love hearing the story of the events that took place.
These stories need to be heard over and over and imprinted on their minds. It helps them in their process of working out who they are becoming. It gives them hope for the future. When you hear stories of how God has worked in the past, it gives you confidence of the fact that He will come through again. It will probably not be in a similar manner but He will show up and do what needs to be done in His way. In this world that has a lot of hopelessness, that is one thing they can depend on.
What things do you celebrate in your family and how do you celebrate them? Are there some other things you need to start celebrating? Is it a core value that you hold dear to? I encourage to make time this week to chat with your kids about things they would like to celebrate as a family and how they would like to celebrate them. I would also love to hear about ways you celebrate in your family. Feel free to comment below.