So, we have a new tradition in the Neal house. We started this the middle of last year but have only done it sporadically. Hopefully I can be more consistent w/ it this year.
Here's what we do. Saturday night I fix a big meal. We use nice dishes. We light candles and make it special. When dinner is over we have the certificate "ceremony." It's really not that big of a deal. I get on DLTK and print off a certificate for each of the girls. Throughout the week I am watching them and looking for excellent behavior. Especially behavior that goes above and beyond what is expected of them. There is an area on their "chore" charts for going the extra mile and that helps me keep track of this. So on Saturday I recall some of those good choice and find a corresponding Bible verse. Then I type up the certificate. Anyway, Billy reads the certificate out loud and calls that person "down" to receive it and we all clap and cheer. Then we brag on them and encourage them. When we finish w/ that we go over their "chore" charts and hand out allowance.
Like I said, it's really not that big of a deal, but I think it's a good thing. It helps me be looking for the good in my children and take special note of good choices. All to often I find myself focusing on all that they don't do so it's helpful for me to consciously be looking for the good. It's also helpful for the girls to be able to remind them that I'm looking for excellent behavior!! All during dinner they anticipate what their certificate will be for. Suzannah can usually guess what her's will be b/c she makes a conscious effort to go the extra mile. Molly B isn't quite there yet, but it will come. ;)
Some weeks it's harder to come up w/ good verses, but there's always something, I just have to really think. Here are some examples of some of the certificates we have given in the past:
"Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. James 5:13b"
Given to Molly Beth for the way that she spreads her joy through song. When she sings and is happy it makes those around her happy. We are proud that the joy from her heart spills over through her mouth in song and spreads joy to others.
"And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Hebrews 13:16"
Given to Suzannah for so generously sharing Scooter (her new build-a-bear) with her brother and sister. Even though he is special and brand new, she has joyfully allowed Molly Beth and Jack to play, hold, and even sleep with him. We are so proud of her sharing spirit.
And here's an example of a certificate we gave to Molly B when she didn't have the best week. Even if your kiddos have a bad week, there is always something good you can say about them! ;)
"...but always try to be kind to each other... 1 Thes. 5:15"
Given to Molly Beth for trying to be kind even when she wasn't feeling well. We are so proud of every effort to be kind to her brother and sister, especially when she is not feeling well.
I really feel like this is a good thing for our family. I also want to start going around the table and having everyone say something encouraging to the person receiving the certificate. I really want us to see the good in one another and acknowledge all efforts to do good.
K, there you have it, our Family Feast Night. Any tradition we have w/ our kids is beneficial. I would encourage you to make a conscious effort to come up w/ traditions for your family to help deepen and strengthen those roots! :)
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness." Heb 3:13