I feel that one purpose of summer is to encourage children - to build them up. School is rewarding, enriching, and edifying, but school can also be taxing, lonely, and humiliating. A child's self-worth can really take a beating. When summer rolls around, I try to sprinkle in some experiences that nurture and invigorate my children's self-esteem. I want to build their character and help them remember just how special they truly are.
Last week, our family participated in what I called, I Am a Child of God week. Each morning we had a family devotional addressing one aspect of this important truth. On some days, we also participated in an activity to reinforce that day's topic. I am happy to report that it was an uplifting week. Just what I hoped for!
Here is the complete outline of our week including all the quotes and materials I used. Below is a brief summary of what we did each day.
Monday: Introduction to I Am a Child of God Week
Each of my children woke up to a surprise outside their bedroom door. They found an I Am a Child of God printable, journal, and confetti. When finding the surprise, they naturally raced to find me because they were so anxious to find out what was going on. We had a special breakfast of tie dye waffles and I introduced the week to them. Over breakfast, we read different quotes testifying of our divine worth. After each quote, we discussed what truths we just read. We then talked about two ways to help us remember that we are children of God. One way is to record the daily miracles we see in our lives. (Remember the notebook that was set outside their bedroom doors.) Some daily miracles include: My prayer was answered today. Someone invited me to sit with them at lunch. A friend smiled at me in the hall. My dad and I worked on a project together. My mom made me a delicious dinner. The little things in life aren't so little. They are blessings and evidences that you are loved especially by your Father in Heaven.
I found the I Am a Child of God printable here. My kids have their printables posted by their beds. Hopefully, they'll read it each morning when getting up and again each night when falling asleep.
Tuesday: I Have Talents
We started the morning by talking about each of our talents. Some talents are obvious: singing, dancing, sports, intelligence, etc. Some talents are not as obvious, but just as important: a good listener, friendly, self-less, confident public speaker, etc. I then told my kids that today we are going on a picnic and will hopefully gain some new knowledge to help us develop new or old talents. We went to a nearby wildlife park and ate our picnic lunch before exploring the park. I told my kids that they all had to learn something new.
I had a lot of fun making their picnic lunches. I went a little overboard with the packaging, but it was a special week and I wanted the picnic to feel different. I was surprised by how much my kids appreciated these lunches. They really were excited to open them!
Our sacks were brown gift bags. I used chalkboard stickers to label everyone's bag and tied the top with red and white baker's twine.
I wrapped their croissant sandwiches in wax paper and used a toothpick to hold the wrapping in place. Once they unwrapped their sandwiches, they had a sheet of wax paper to use as a place mat during the picnic.
I put their cookies in colorful paper sacks.
I found these chicken pot pie tins for our fruit at the grocery store. I think everything tastes better in cute packaging :) Our lunch also included carrot sticks with ranch and potato chips.
Wednesday: Don't Be a Dipper, Be a Filler
Our discussion focused on being a "filler" not a "dipper." I read an excerpt from Mary Ellen Edmunds' book, MEE Speaks. We talked about filling people's buckets with kind words and actions. We don't ever want to dip into someone's bucket and make them feel any less than who they really are: a child of God.
As a surprise, I gave each of my children a small bucket filled with a few of their favorite things.
Thursday: Service Helps Us Remember Our Divine Worth
This morning I surprised my kids by telling them that we are going to do a service project. But, before we got to work, we talked about the importance of service. We discussed two points: Through service, we can help others feel God's love for them. And, service helps us remember God's love for us. Our service project was going to our neighbor's home and pulling their front yard weeds. Our neighbors recently had a baby and haven't had the time to do yard work. We sneaked over there first thing in the morning and pulled their weeds without getting caught!
Helps Me Remember Eternal Truths Temple
We read from Elder Quentin L. Cook's talk, See Yourself in the Temple. I then gave each of my children a framed printable with Elder Cook's message. I found the printable here. Also, the frames were each under $2 at Wal-mart. My children have each of their frames displayed in their rooms. What a great reminder!
It truly was a great week! You can also do these devotionals as weekly family home evening lessons. Have fun with it and build each other up!