The Habit of Celebration

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“Make sure that the good ground of you home includes an abundance of laughter, parties, celebrations, presents, candles, Christmas trees, gifts, surprises, rocky road ice cream, jokes, backyard picnics, vacations, mountain bikes, bike rides, swimming, fishing and games.  At the various houses in which our family has lived, we have had things like a swing set, a tree house, a tent, sleeping bags, a basketball hoop, baseballs, gloves and bats.”  Seven Habits of a Healthy Home

The Guire family was  prepping for a double birthday party when a horrendous summer storm hit. Water seeped into the garage and came showering out of the foyer light. The pool quickly filled with debris. I felt like cancelling and sending everyone home. Instead my extended family pitched in and we cleaned up water, son Damian fished the branches out of the pool. My brother found the source of foyer shower, the huge picture window in my bedroom.

Celebration is a choice.  If our family had waited until all the circumstances were perfect before we celebrated life, we never would.

Ecclesiastes 11:4 (Amplified Bible)

He who observes the wind [and waits for all conditions to be favorable] will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.

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This scripture puts it plainly.  If I wait for conditions to be favorable, or for everything to be perfect, than I will never sow, nor will I reap.  If I want to reap a harvest of memories with my children, then I must sow the habit of celebration over and over again.  I never know which memories will stick.  Every once and awhile, my children will speak of a bad memory from their past, but more often than not, they share good family memories.  “Remember when we went hiking at Cooper’s Rock?”  “Remember when we made cards at my birthday party?”  “Remember when we roller bladed up and down the boardwalk at the beach?”  Each one of these memories were probably preceded by unfavorable conditions.  

While speaking to the Mom to Mom group at church, I was asked the question, “Well, what if I plan a fun activity, such as making cookies and my kid says she doesn’t want to do it?”  My answer?  “Do it anyway!”  I have found that no matter what ‘fun’ thing you have planned, there will be naysayers.  The naysayers may drag their feet and complain, but years from now, it may be a fond memory.  I am often surprised when my kids mention one of these events as a favorite memory when I remember during the actual event he/she didn’t want to participate.  Sometimes hurt children are afraid to participate.  If the situation is a new scenario for them, they may feel out of control.  If the event has a history and the child has bad memories, he may think that it will end up the same way.  An example from my life is long car trips.  In my childhood these were scary times for me.  My father would become tense and angry as soon as we got in the car.  I began to associate trips with anger.  I didn’t want to get in the car and go to the mountains or the beach or anywhere.  Even today, in my adult life, I must remind myself  that trips are not bad things.

In her article “Hopes and Prayers”,  Joyce Maynard describes what happens to many of us.  “We’re so consumed with the feeding, the dressing, the buckling into our car seats, the finding of bathrooms, and the counting of heads,” she says, “that we sometimes forget that there is any greater mission to raising children than making sure the crusts are cut off the sandwiches and that everybody gets a balloon.”  Joyce Maynard, Parenting, May 1994: pg. 51

 It is easy to get stuck in the rut of feeding and clothing children and trying to deal with each phobia or medical issues, reading articles on attachment, talking to other  parents about what to do, etc..  It becomes exhausting and overwhelming.  All the joy is sucked  out of life when there is no celebration.  

Celebration can be simple.  It doesn’t have to cost money. It can be a trip to the park. A ride on the trail. A hike to the creek to build a dam. A swim day with friends. What can you do to celebrate today?

The Whole House Team recorded a podcast on this subject!

Find it on iTunes here.

Find it on Podomatic here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Whole House Craft and Cookie Day

The Whole House Craft and Cookie Day! It’s today! We are making cookies and doing some Christmas 🎄 crafts! It will be loud and crazy. Lots of kids and moms and sugar! Do you do a Christmas Craft Day?

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Maybe you’re reading this and thinking, yeah, right? I couldn’t do this! My kids would whine, fight and that would be the end of it.

Can I tell you something? You’re probably right. Your kids may whine. Some of them may not want to do every craft or cookie. Things might go wrong. It won’t be perfect.  Do it anyway.

WHAT?! Yes, do it anyway! Forming a habit of celebration means things won’t be exactly the way you picture them. It will be worth it in the long run. Every time you practice the habit of celebration, you build a memory. Every time you build a memory with your child, you are reinforcing connection.

I have had some cookie days gone wrong, so I speak from experience. I’m preaching to the Guire here. I have four boys who liked to make cookie mounds and messes on cookie days. This totally messed with perfectionist Mama until I changed my attitude. And it was hard to change my attitude. I wanted perfectly decorated cookies like you see on the Instagram accounts and Pinterest.

One year, I drove to my daughter’s house in another state and left my cookie dough at home. Everyone thought I would have tons of cookie dough, so no one else made any.  Daughter Audrey ran out to get some. We used store bought that year (perfectionist me loses again). And…we had a blast!

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When we remember the goal and purpose of the habit of celebration, it makes it easier to practice it. When we expect the celebration to be perfect, we are less likely to practice the habit.

The goal of celebration is time spend together, celebrating people, not things. The purpose of celebration is connection. We connect with our children, family and friends. We when participate in celebration with a light, joyful attitude, the connection grows. When we expect perfect circumstances and perfectly behaved children, we will be disappointed and our attitudes will sour (been there, done that).

Let’s build some memories this year! Plan a cookie and craft day. Don’t stress about it looking like Pinterest Perfect Posts. Make it real and fun. Practice the habit of celebration and build some memories!