It's birthday party day at the Fairchild house. In just a few hours our house will be transformed into the magical world of Narnia for my oldest's ninth birthday party. She and her best friend will both celebrate their birthdays with a sleepover at our house. Pizza, a scavenger hunt, movies and giggles are all on the agenda.
I love to plan birthday parties. My mom thinks that I like planning the parties more than the kids like having them. It's my way of letting my girls know they're special. We've had Star Wars parties, racing parties, American Girl parties and princess parties over the years. I try to tailor each party to my girls' interests and needs.
Birthdays are a great time to remind your kids that they are special -- in your eyes and God's eyes. Birthday parties are my way of saying to my kids, "You're special, and I love you," but you may have a different way. The important thing is that no matter where you are or what you are doing on their birthday, make sure your child knows that the day they were born is a day to celebrate.
A lot of years, we're on vacation on my oldest daughter's birthday. That makes it tough sometimes to make the day special. We always try to set aside some time just to celebrate with her. Some years that means I make a birthday cake in a teeny-tiny kitchen at a campground. But, we always make the effort because it's important for our kids to know that we value them.
Think about what traditions you can create around your child's birthday. Make it a point to have some of those traditions remind your child that they are special to you and to God. They don't have to big or expensive -- they just have to remind your child of his or her value. So much that our kids encounter in the world tells them that they are not valuable. The world tells them they need to be just like everyone else. The truth is that God made each of us to fill a special purpose in His kingdom. We are valuable to God, just as He made us.
Use some of these ideas to reinforce that truth to your kids and to make their birthdays special:
1. Before your child blows out the candles on her cake, have each person in the family say one thing that they think is special about the birthday child. Go around until you have mentioned a quality for each candle on the cake.
2. Write your child a letter each year on his birthday. Tell your child how much you love him and the good qualities that you see in him. Be sure to mention ways that you see how God uses those positive character traits in his life. The great thing about writing a letter is that your kids can read it over and over again and be reminded of how much you love them and how much God loves them.
3. Break out the china for the birthday dinner. Many of us don't like to let our kids use the fine china -- they might break it. You know what? That's ok. If it gets broken, it can be replaced. Using the china for her birthday dinner lets her know that you value her enough to offer her the best on her birthday. It's a tangible way to show your child how much you think she is worth.
4. Have a birthday conversation each year. Sit down with your child and talk to him about all the good qualities you see. Talk about how you see God working in his life. Let your child tell you what he thinks about the year just passed and ask him to share what he would like to see happen in the next year.
Use any of these ideas or come up with your own. As long as your child feels valued and special, you've done a good job. Remember to incorporate some scripture into your conversation. Some good ones to start with are Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" and Psalm 139.
Whatever you choose to do for your children on their birthdays, do it with an eye toward building them up into the men and women God wants them to be. Wish me luck -- I'm off to build a wardrobe.