What kind of things do you celebrate at your house? Most people celebrate holidays, birthdays, etc. Others have a little celebration or give rewards when their kids make good grades. It’s fun to plan and make these days special for our family.
When our kids were young, my husband and I decided that we wanted to put special emphasis on the importance of our kids’ spiritual growth and godly character. We felt it was even MORE important to celebrate those accomplishments than the other customary ones.
These celebrations would serve two purposes. One, it would encourage our kids to work at growing in these areas. Second, it would make them realize the value and importance we placed on their spiritual growth and character. We were purposefully choosing to celebrate things that really matter.
Over the years we’ve enjoyed some unusual, but very special celebrations with our kids. I’m going to share the two main celebrations that we really enjoyed as a family.
1. Bible Reading Celebrations
When my oldest two daughters were 8 and 10, we encouraged them to read the Bible all the way through. I told them that when they finished we would have a celebration, because that is a BIG accomplishment.
I didn’t tell them any of my plans though, which made them all the more excited about this big day. They both finished reading their Bible through in less than a year, and as soon as they did, we chose a date to celebrate.
The first thing we did was go out to eat at their favorite restaurant. We were able to use the banquet room, which made it even more special. We invited adopted “Grandma Mayers” to go along and be part of this exciting celebration. (She was as excited as the rest of us were about it!) After everyone finished their meal, we made them wait for dessert, so we could have the first part of our celebration.
Without it being known to my girls, I had asked ten or twelve people to write them a note congratulating them and encouraging them to continue to be faithful in their Bible reading. These were from our pastor, the associate pastor, one of the deacons, some of their Sunday school and church-time teachers, and relatives. I purposely chose people whom they looked up to, and who were special to them.
We gave the girls these notes one at a time, and they read them out loud. My heart was touched as they read them, and my eyes filled with tears of gratitude for the adults who were willing to help stress the importance of this accomplishment. The girls were touched too. They couldn’t believe all the people who took time to write them a personal note.
After dessert, we had another big surprise for them. . Both girls were presented with a beautiful plaque, with an open Bible, and the lamp of learning. The inscription had their name, the date, and said “Faithfulness in Bible Reading”. Of course, they were delighted with these!
We also made an award certificate on parchment paper. On it there were 5 open Bibles, and on the first one we wrote the date they finished. (leaving 4 other Bibles for future celebrations)
Needless to say, this was all very special and exciting to our girls. It was also motivating. After it was all done, they said they were going to read their Bible all the way through again. This time their younger brother got interested, and he began a plan to read his Bible all the way through.
The truth is that our kids get excited about what WE get excited about! Reading the Bible is SO important, and we wanted them to feel the excitement of it.
2. Character Growth Celebrations
Every two or three weeks we would have a small celebration for another area of spiritual accomplishment – growth in godly character.
I made a chart called “Excellence in Character”, and listed character qualities down the side. Throughout the week, my husband and I watched for good character, and gave them a little tally mark under their name beside the trait they showed. It made them watch for opportunities to show good character, and it made me look for the GOOD in them, rather than just noticing the bad, as I was prone to do!
At the end of the set time, we would give the winner a small prize (from the dollar store), and a ribbon which said “Excellence in Character: Let us not be weary in well doing.” Then we would all have a special treat, like ice cream or cookies. The kids worked really hard to show diligence, initiative, obedience, etc. because of this.
Why did we go to that effort? Because we wanted to encourage our kids to develop godly character, and to choose on purpose to do things that showed good character.
Think about your celebrations as a family. Rather than celebrating just the normal occasions, why not make special plans for some celebrations that will encourage spiritual growth in the things that God says are important.
Let’s help our kids realize what really matters!