Celebrate

I love to throw a party. I love creating a theme, planning the decorations, food and games, and I love the looks on my kids' faces when they see the house decorated for the first time.

We throw parties around here all year long. We've had a spy sleepover for no good reason. We're having a traditional Halloween party in a couple weeks. We have big birthday parties, and every year we have a cookie decorating party at Christmas.

Those parties are a lot of work, but they are worth it. They bring the laughter and voices of my girls' friends into my home for an hour and a half. The kids spend that time enjoying each others' company, laughing and playing.

Yet, as many parties as we have during the year, it's only a few days out of 365. While we're really good at celebrating the big milestones -- birthdays and holidays -- we're not as focused on celebrating the everyday moments and accomplishments.

God wants our lives to be filled with joy. He wants us to let the joy of knowing Him bubble over into our everyday lives. That joy should help us celebrate and encourage our children. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." There's no better way to encourage our kids than to celebrate the little things.

When we encourage our kids by celebrating their accomplishments -- both large and small -- we make home a haven for them. Our homes become a place where they know they are loved and cherished.

I'm not saying you should puff your child up and give them an inflated sense of self-worth because that only leads to a prideful attitude. What I am saying is the world constantly tells our kids they aren't pretty enough, rich enough, smart enough or cool enough, and it's our job to counteract that with encouragement. Choose legitimate accomplishments to celebrate with your kids.

My oldest daughter struggles with spelling. She simply isn't the world's best speller. We make a big deal out of 100 percent on a spelling test with her. It's a small accomplishment, but one that requires a lot of studying on her part to get it right. Her perfect tests hang on the refrigerator, and we make sure she gets lots of praise for it.

Both my girls play sports. We celebrate goals and great play with ice cream after the game. It's not a reward for scoring; it's a celebration of a game well-played.

Look for opportunities to encourage your kids by celebrating the little things.

  • Celebrate report cards. Don't have all A's? Celebrate the improvement from a C to a B. Celebrate improved behavior scores.
  • Celebrate the fun days on the calendar. Did you know there's a National Ice Cream Day, a National Donut Day and a National Clown Week? Have fun with your kids and celebrate those days together.
  • Celebrate good behavior. If your child is struggling with a particular behavior, catch her doing what she should and celebrate it. Let her pick dinner or dessert. Add an extra 15 minutes to her bedtime.

By celebrating the everyday moments and successes in your children's lives, you offer them encouragement and joy. And who doesn't want to live in a home filled with encouragement and joy?

Find something to celebrate today.