How many birthday parties have you planned for your children? If you’re like me, it has added up to quite a few. When the kids are very small, it’s pretty easy: just friends and cake. Later on, you can take your pick of whatever Disney character, popular toy, or favorite activity your child is obsessed with to focus on as a theme.
What about when they’re a little older? Once your child hits the upper elementary grades, middle and then high school, all bets are off. They may deem all your creative ideas as “uncool.” You begin to think that you have to resort to pizza and a movie for the rest of the birthdays you’re responsible for.
I was stuck in the same boat. My daughter Ashley’s sixteenth birthday was rapidly approaching. I wanted to try something different, something to create long-lasting memories for my special girl. I asked Ashley if there was anything she wanted to do.
“I don’t know, Mom. Just plan something fun.”
That wasn’t much help. Just when panic began to set in, I happened to watch the movie The Ultimate Gift. This wonderful film gave me the inspiration I needed.
What you’ve just read is from the intro to my book The Ultimate Gift of a Birthday. We tend to get into a rut when celebrating our children or anyone for that matter. Our goal as parents, friends or family isn’t to just hand others things and stuff for their birthdays. It should be to celebrate them and help them realize that the day they were born they became a part of something bigger. That something bigger is a God-given world that they can impact and change.
In the book The Ultimate Gift of a Birthday, I give parents ideas for celebrating their children, especially their teens, in different ways. We need to reach their heart and open them up to a world of serving others, yes, even on their birthday.
If you do everything for your child, then he/she will develop a notion of self esteem:”I am so important that everyone ought to do things for me.” If he/she learns to do it for himself, then he/she will develop a notion of self-confidence: “I can do it myself.” If he/she learns to do it for others then he/she will develop a notion of self-usefulness: “I can be helpful, and I am needed around here.
This paragraph came from a book called Teaching the Trivium by Harvey Bluedorn. It helped me to see that in order to impart a bigger picture of who my children are in this world, I need to set an example and give them opportunities to serve. What better day to learn to serve others then on their birthday?
This by no means implies that you can’t have fun on a teenager’s birthday. Just remember what your focus is when planning. Do you have activities planned that will ultimately touch their heart and not just give them something in their hands?
If you have a teenager whose birthday is approaching, pick up the book The Ultimate Gift of a Birthday, and let it do all your thinking for you or even inspire you to touch your teen’s heart in a way you never thought possible. Visit my website and stop my blog to read more about celebrating life.
I love to hear how others celebrate their loved ones. If you would like to share your stories of celebrating please feel free to do so at firstname.lastname@example.org Blessings to you as you celebrate those in your life!
Today’s post is a guest blog from our friend and author Cynthia Schrock. A few years ago, Jody used the ideas in her book to create the most AMAZING Sweet 16 party for Lexi! It was a truly beautiful day, full of surprises and memories that Lexi and her friends will have for a lifetime. Be sure to visit Cynthia’s blog, and pick up a copy of her book. You WON’T regret it!