In our revolving-door home, we always have at least one kiddo here at the beginning of each school year. No matter who’s here, each child has Learner-Leader Day to celebrate the beginning of another school year. Natural children, international students, whoever! If a child moves in mid-term, he/she has Learner-Leader Day then.
What that means, in layman’s terms, is that, if you like this idea, you don’t have to wait until next school year. Do it now!
Early on in our parenting career, we knew we needed a systemic way to impart Biblical truth and infuse good character into our children. When we stumbled upon the Farrel’s book, The 10 Best Decisions Every Parent Can Make, we knew we’d hit paydirt.
They celebrate Learner-Leader Day with their three sons each school year. Well, they don’t anymore, I guess. Those boys are grown. At least one has children of his own.
I guess they could, though. I won’t judge them.
But, I digress.
On the nth day of nth grade (i.e. 5th day of 5th grade, 11th day of 11th grade, etc.), each child has a special day. On that day, he/she gets to choose what we have for dinner and a special dessert. Doing it this way allows for each child to have his/her own day, which is important when there are four in question.
On that day, he/she is given a certificate which outlines the new responsibilities and privileges he/she will assume for that school year. You know, washing the dishes and getting a cell phone, setting the table and taking dance lessons, feeding the beast and having the beast. The certificate also includes an appropriate character trait on which to focus for the year, with an accompanying Bible verse. Further, the certificate shares with the child a unique gift that God is revealing in him/her that year.
The certificate, which we design using MS Publisher (you don’t have to be that fancy), is discussed in the presence of the entire family at the dinner table, and both parents and the child in question sign it as a sealing of a covenant (our children clearly understand the concept of a covenant…do what you say you’ll do, read carefully before you sign). The certificate is then framed and hung in the child’s room as a reminder throughout the year. Further, the Bible verse is one which the child commits to memory. When the child displays the focused character trait throughout the year, he/she is celebrated, and the scriptures are remembered.
Because taking on new responsibilities may not be exciting for a child, the day is topped off with a gift. It’s like a mid-year birthday celebration, an annual rite of passage, in our home, and the children look forward to it with excitement rather than dread.
Aside: We celebrate all kinds of things in our house: birthdays, spiritual birthdays, Learner-Leader Day, Pumpkin Party. Likewise, we have several, recurring fairies and elves which visit us while we sleep: the Pumpkin Fairy, the Panty Fairy (hey, sometimes a Diva needs a visit from the Panty Fairy…do not judge her!), the Christmas Elf, the Winter Wear Fairy, blah, blah, blah. More on fairies in another post.
Now back to your regularly scheduled programming: Big Daddy and I think and pray long and hard about these certificates, as they will determine the course for that child for a year. Since we only get limited amounts of time with our children (18 years, max), each one is critical. Over the course of a child’s time with us, he/she rotates through all possible household chores so that, by the time he/she is emancipated, he/she will be adept at running a household.
The goal for them is independence, right?
Further, we have imparted scripture and infused character systematically, leaving nothing to chance. Always a good thing.
Here are some links to the book from which this idea came, the certificate format we use, and a story on the aforementioned beast, all equally important:
Happy Learner-Leader Day!