Three Buckets of Encouragement for a New School Year – Part Three

Bucket #3: Remembering to celebrate transitions as they arise in each family member’s life.

Yesterday’s encouragement weaves into today’s. When you’re meeting regularly and intentionally as a family you’ll be aware of transitions and achievements in your children’s lives. You’ll be ready to celebrate!

The question then becomes what should I celebrate and how?

There are the obvious things such as birthdays, teeth falling out, starting a new school year, ending a school year, religious milestones such as first communion, performances and recitals, and successfully completing a sports season. With a decent calendar and a bit of creativity, you’ve got those covered.

But I encourage you to pay attention to more subtle transitions. Walking into school alone for the first time, making an apology, admitting a mistake, befriending a lonely person, cleaning up someone else’s mess, persevering to achieve a tough goal – these experiences are the foundation of a strong character and deserve the limelight.

But how to celebrate them?

One idea that worked well for us was the Gotcha Jar. I labelled a big mason jar and had a stash of colorful puff balls in the kitchen. When a family member “got caught” doing something noteworthy, one of us would say, “Gotcha!” and the person caught in the act got to put a puff ball in the jar. When the jar was filled, each child got to choose a special place to have dinner or a fun family activity.

The Gotcha Jar is more than a fun way to celebrate growth. It teaches that when we see the good in each other and call it out, everyone wins.