Friday Five is a quick post of what has been top-of-mind for my family and I this week. Here we go!
- High School grades. If you’re a parent of teens, or have been through this stage, do you incentivize grades in your household? Do you pay for A’s, B’s, etc? Or do you take away privileges for low grades? How do you teach long-term value of education while focusing on the importance and long-term side effects of good/bad grades. My oldest child is now fourteen and freshman in High School. He’s incredibly smart and such a good kid, but doesn’t care about grades, only seeing a need to just pass his classes. My husband and I are not quite sure how to go about teaching that good grades will keep the windows and doors of opportunity open to him, no matter what he wants to do with his life in the future. It’s been a sticking point this week and I could sure use some insight from other parents who have been there. Here is a good article discussing the pros and cons of paying for good grades.
- I am just wrapping up preparing a couple of new traditions we will do this month of December to prepares for and focus on the meaning of Christmas for our family. For the last several years, we have done the 25 Days of Christ from New Traditions Crafts. It is a set of 25 ornaments and daily spiritual devotionals to focus on Jesus each day of December leading up to Christmas. I painted my set of ornaments gold and each night, a child would get to pull the ornament for that day from a gold bag and place it on the tree while we read the associated story from the scriptures, a short quote or story to go with it, and watched a brief video clip. The website has all the quick links for each day which made it simple for me to do each evening. This year, I am doing things a little differently. I have asked each of my four children what their favorite paintings are of the Savior, scenes from his life or the Nativity, and have printed these pictures to go in ornament frames I purchased from Pottery Barn. The ornaments are already hung on the tree, but I will have a child pick an ornament from the tree each night for us to talk about. I anticipate I will still use many of the links from the 25 Days of Christ website to support our brief devotionals together. It is a great compilation.
- Have you seen the Thrill of Hope Study Guide? It is from The Small Seed and is a 5-week study focusing on the themes of Advent and celebrating the 25 names of Christ. It has a brief daily study that runs each day from November 26-December 25. While celebrating Advent is not new to me, we haven’t formally done it as a family during the month of December. I have been to several different churches who do celebrate Advent with traditional readings, the wreath and candles, and have loved the beauty and symbolism of it. One treasured memory is seeing the very large Advent Wreath and candle lighting at York Minster. Another is being invited to a friend’s home for their Sunday Advent tradition. They had a specific meal planned for each week and I thought it was such a sweet and focused tradition to have in the home as well as at church. Do you celebrate Advent in your home with the wreath and candles? Do you eat certain foods each week? I am new to this and would love to begin this special tradition in our home.
- I have just finished reading The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg, and loved the weaving of true stories of individuals, organizations and communities, with truly applicable principles. This is a great read during this time of year as we naturally are evaluating the year that has passed and looking ahead to 2019 and thinking of goals or resolutions to become better. I love the focus on the psychology of habit and how we are truly in control and can make automatic the habits we desire to have and the ones we want to stop. I actually listed to this book on Scribd, which is a great resource for audiobooks, e-books, music and documents. I prefer this service to Audible because it’s half the price at $8.99, I get unlimited listening and reading, and don’t have to worry about purchases or credits each month. I highly recommend it!
- Rounding up this week’s Five is Matt’s promotion party last night! It felt anticlimactic in a way because he hasn’t had his official promotion ceremony just yet, but it was still a huge gathering of colleagues from across his nearly 15 years in the Air Force. I love standing at his side and seeing how well-respected and well-liked he is, and learning more about what exactly he has done in his career, because most of it is such a foreign world to me. Matt is promoting to Lt. Colonel in the USAF, which is a pretty big deal. His friends joked that I was just excited to see the pay increase, but I haven’t given that part of it much though, honestly. When he last promoted, we were living in England and the dollar fell literally right at our next paycheck that was supposed to see a big jump! We ended up making less in dollars than we had before, so there was no celebration of increased pay then. It makes me laugh now. Each of his promotions before, we have lived in places where there is relatively few military personnel, so we didn’t have requirements or expectations for the party that is traditionally held, for which I am grateful. Here, however, it’s tradition to pay for an open bar and food, so we did, and it was fun. It’s a tricky time of year to be promoting with everyone’s schedule so booked with holiday commitments. Even so, I am so grateful for Matt, his service, and especially his integrity in all that he does. He’s a good one, and while this military life is not easy, I love the adventure and our unique path. There is so much to be grateful for and to celebrate!
That’s my Friday Five for November 26-30! What has been on your mind this week?