For the coming year, we have settled on a different idea. Instead of just one word or main theme, we are going to choose twelve different catch phrases or “jingles.” Sometimes when we have chosen just a single idea it tends to get lost in our day-to-day life.
Choosing a new focus for each month holds the potential to learn twelve different life lessons and apply them with more effectiveness. Also, we have such varying ages in our home now that this will provide a way even for the little ones to be able to understand and shoot for targets nearer to their age range and attention span. Much prayer has already been applied to our new approach and I am excited and anxiously awaiting to see what God is going to do through this new endeavor!
January: Leave it better than you found it
The focus in January will be cleanliness and improvements. Whether it is the restaurant we eat at or the basketball game we attend, we not only clean up what we leave behind, but we should also look for ways to go the extra mile and make the situation better for those who come behind us. This will be an emphasis in our home as well in areas like the kitchen, bathroom, living room, and even the family automobile.
May: It isn’t how you start but how you finish that matters
Wrapping up the school year, including all the projects and exams, can be overwhelming when you are already daydreaming of days by the pool or sand between your toes. This theme will spur us on to do our best and put extra effort into those last assignments. It will also remind us that quitting or slacking off is never an option!
June: Life is not all about you
Working fulltime as a teacher makes it very challenging to minister to our neighbors during the school year. I usually take the month of June and make meals, take small gifts, and just pay a visit to those that live around us. I already have a few ideas for little projects and ways to get my children involved in our own personal community outreach. This will turn the summer me-centered attitude into an others-centered agenda.
August: Be willing to swim upstream
With the start of a new school year, the need to take a stand and do the right thing, no matter what the crowd may be doing, is a very important message. New classmates, older grade levels, and more freedom all come with the need to be grounded in character and courage. The book Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris, as well as heroes of the Old Testament, will be part of our family devotions.
September: Be a blessing not a burden
This will be a month of service to our family members. Helping someone with their chores, doing tasks before they are required, or even making a sibling’s lunch are all ways we can help carry the load for another person. If they really want to go the extra mile, they could offer to match all the socks in our sock bucket...talk about being a blessing!
November: Have an attitude of gratitude
This is a traditional focus as we set our hearts towards praise and the Thanksgiving holiday. Count your blessings journals and a jar of praise verses to be read at dinner are a couple of ideas for this theme.
December: What can I give Him?
This theme is taken from the words of Christina Rossetti’s poem, “In the Bleak Midwinter.” When every Christmas seems packed full of all things commercial and materialistic, we need to focus on giving back to the One who gave us everything. Taking donations to the local Salvation Army, making a list of what we can do without so others can have gifts, and wrapping a present for Jesus with a commitment to give Him our heart for the upcoming year will be activities to bring the reality home.
Each of these themes has plenty of Scripture to back them up. God’s Word is a treasure trove of one-liners and catchy phrases that can teach us tremendous truth. I’ve found that even my older kids use the same spiritual one-liners and catchy phrases they learned at a young age when dealing with their younger siblings.
I am looking forward to turning the page on this year and heading into the next with renewed purpose to invest life lessons in the next generation.
Happy New Year!
Have you thought about what your word for the new year will be?
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