3 POWERFUL Back to School Traditions

Friday, September 9th, 2016

It is back to school season. Your kids or grandkids might be enjoying the fun of grandkids-back-to-schoolnew school supplies, cool new backpacks, lunch boxes and water bottles or maybe feeling the thrill of that fun new back to school outfit or uniform. But you, as parents, might be excited for back to school time for an entirely different reason!

 

In our books for parents (10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make, 10 Questions Kids Ask About Sex, Got Teens? and Raising a Modern Day Princess) we encourage parents to leave their TradeMark  [TM] o their kids and grandkids with

Traditions: Those yearly look forward to moments or activities

Memories: Those once in a lifetime experiences or Rites of Passages

Here are 3 powerful  ideas to consider and implement as your kiddos head back to school:

  1. Create Character: Our Back to School tradition was the yearly “Learner and Leader” Day. It was a day we set aside to negotiate privileges and responsibilities for each child. We also selected ONEtm-sons-10bp character quality to focus on for each child, each year and selected a verse to pray over that child connected to that leadership trait we would be reinforcing all year. You can read more about our “Learn, Leaders who Love God” parenting plan in our book 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make. Our goal with Learner & Leader Day was to create a system for solidly placing the baton of faith, values and character to the next generation. (It is fun to now watch our grown children create their own version of Learn and Leader Day and their own Back to School Traditions. (Download a copy of the Learner and Leader chart for your child, or pick up a copy of 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make and get the list of “What Chores Kids Can Do at Each Age and Stage”)

For you created my inmost being;  you knit me together in my mother’s womb. (Psalms 139:13)

 

If you asked us the three best choices we made in raising our kids, it will include:

(A) Faith – Pray for your kids and teach them how to have their OWN relationship with God.

(B) Family Create a family identity by using traditions like Learner and Leader Day, Rites of Passage, and shared meals, and memory making experieinces etc.

(C) Fun– Weave activities your kids love into all of this. Reward church attendance with paying for them to go to an enjoyable youth camp; Make family devotions a creative hands-on experience; Schedule fun memory making activities. (Yes, let the kids pick and plan some of these!)

 

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,  I know that full well. (Psalms 139:14)

 

  1. Prepare the Plan: Our friends Deanna and Jon Ramsey take a night out with their children and host a goal setting session. Deanna shares, “I love seeing them dream and plan and look forward with anticipation of a great year to come!”

After the children are done with writing their individual goals, the family then has a conversation about how they can help each other achieve those goals.

ramsay-kids-goals-back-to-school-learner-leader

You might recognize Deanna and Jon because they have also been the musicians at some of our marriage events, and they are frequent hosts at Forest Home Family and marriage camps. Deanna is also a popular speaker  and musician for women’s conferences as she shares with hope and humor how their family kept making the next brave and right choice when husband, Jon, was stricken with a life threatening illness.

The Ramsay’s thrived during this difficult season because they maintained routines, rhythms, and faith traditions despite the hardship.  Deanna’s parents held a similar goal-setting night for their children while growing up, now Deanna and Jon are building on that foundation of faith with their children. At the goal-setting night, the Ramsey’s also created and shared with the kids,  a “So You Have Free Time?” –a list of healthy, quality activities for kids other than being on media. And a “So You Wanna Make Some Money?” –A list of chores kids can do to earn extra money.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place,  when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. (Psalms 139:15)

 

  1. Celebrate Their Uniqueness: Our friends, Tammy and Chris Morgan are the leaders for Fellowship of Christian Athletes at University of Louisville. When their daughters head back to school, they celebrate theback-to-school-morgan-cake day with baking a cake, and it often reflects a love of that girl. In our years serving in youth ministry and our own parenting experience, we observed that celebrating a child’s unique talents, strengths and loves gives them a strong sense of understanding who God made them to become and what God what God would be calling them to do. A cake is a simple and affordable celebration and because it is a rare treat to have sugar in a family that is very athletic, healthy and eats clean, it is rare, so it makes the celebration uniquely special too.

 

Your eyes saw my unformed body;  all the days ordained for me were written in your book, before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God!  How vast is the sum of them! (Psalms 139:16-17)

 

Find (or create) traditions that resonate with you or your family– then live and love them year after happy year!

 

pam-bill-red-umbrella-rebecca-closePam and Bill Farrel are international speakers, Co-directors of Love-Wise and authors of 45 books including bestselling Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti 

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Parenting Plan Can Bless your Kids and Your Marriage!

Monday, August 27th, 2012

 

So much marital stress is caused because the husband and wife are not on the same page
in the way they deal with their children. One way our marriage has been protected is through the “Learner and Leader” day we do each fall (We do this family tradition from age 4 until our children are age 20 or get engaged for marriage- whichever comes first).

Years ago,when Bill was a youth pastor and Brock was a baby, I looked around the youth group we were running and then looked at this precious baby in my arms and prayed, “Lord, there seem to be kids that soar and succeed at 18 and others that stumble and fall” What traits, what skills, what leadership character qualities do we need to
train and pass on so that our sons can soar by age 18? Then I set about creating along list of traits and skills (the list (and many other tools) are in our book: 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make).

The list seemed so long that I was a bit overwhelmed so I showed the list to Bill and he said, “Pam, seems like there are really three main categories here. We want our kids to be:

 

  1. Learners—have a teachable attitude
  2. Leaders- be influencers in their own unique God given style instead of followers
  3. Love God—we want them to own their own faith.”

We prayed and I asked God to show a fun way to instill the values (because kids respond to fun!) So we decided to
have a Learner and Leader Day each fall and on that day we’d negotiate privileges and responsibilities for the year. (We did this for 20+ years- now we are DONE! becuse our kids are all grown and all leaders! So it works!)

We also select one trait off the list and focus on training and equipping in that area for that particular child that year. And we select a verse to pray over that child which had something to do with the trait we have selected (as the kids entered second grade we taught them how to select their own verse). Then we give a gift (because we wanted it to fee like Christmas!) The gift would be one that would build into their God given passion or calling as
the Lord was revealing their strengths year by year.

We have a set of criteria in choosing the gift:

It must be practical, something I might have to buy anyway.

It must be personal. The child should be able to tell I thought about the gift.

It must be prophetic, meaning that it speaks the truth about the uniqueness, the calling, or the strength we see God building into each child.

The Learner and Leader privileges and responsibilities chart is also in our book, along with other tools like a list of what children can be responsible for at what ages (chore ideas) , plus a teen relationship contract,
driving contract, education contract, and a set of  Freshman Foundation questions to use with college students or career age young adults. We have our children sign the contracts, and included in each are the
consequences they will receive if they do not follow through with their
commitment. As the children get older (early in elementary school),  we have them create their own consequences
ahead of time so they know exactly what their punishment will be if they drop the ball on their commitments.

By spelling everything out ahead of time, year after year, and having everyone sign off on it (both parents and the children), there is little arguing in our home and the children have never been able to “play one parent against the other” in our home, thus protecting our marital harmony as well. And because there is a built in relationship time, a fun family activity on Learner and Leader Day, the kids have always been motivated to complete the small yearly assignment (the chart), and because it also has a built in incentive plan (the Learner and Leader gift that applauds the child’s unique strengths), the child is easier to live with all year!

The less child-created stress a marriage has, the more everyone enjoys being in the family. And because we delegate work to our children as they grow, Mom and Dad actually have time to date and stay in love—which is the best gift that any set of parents can give their children. And because we are deliberately trying to help our children/ teens take on more and more responsibility year after year, by college (or for sure age 21), our children and yours have the opportunity to be leaders owning their own lives and leading others in a positive way!  Having responsible adult children is also a great blessing to your marriage! (And your future in laws will thank you too!Our daughter inlaws love us and so do their parents!)

            So this year, before you run to the store for new school clothes and pencils, pens, notebooks, backpacks and
lunchboxes, take time to hold your own Learner and Leader Day.  I you have college kids, set aside 5 nights to go over the Freshan Foundation  Dinner and Dialogue questions, and maybe this year, you might even get in a few dates to stay in love!

Parentng resources:

10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make, Got Teens? Learner and Leader Chart, Freshman Foundation are all found at www.Love-Wise.com

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