Family celebrations come around often – birthdays, graduations, holidays, coming of age, driver’s license, and more. These events can go by in a usual way or take you by surprise or you can give them a fresh and loving approach. Here are a few ideas to get you started thinking about some low cost, high impact options.
- First, be clear about the event or person you want to celebrate or appreciate. What is your intention?
- Then, ask yourself at least 20 questions about your intention. Whether you are celebrating a milestone, an achievement, welcoming a new person, or any happening you don’t wish to let go by without pausing to reflect, you may be surprised how much you will learn.
- An interesting plan will emerge when you think through your intention with a focus on the meaning you’d like to bring forward. Think outside the box.
Bobby was ready to get his driver’s license. This was a huge deal for both his parents and Bobby. His parents took the time to think about what it was they wanted Bobby to consider as he moved into the important role of driver. They came up with an idea to gather a group of close friends and family to share what it means to have the freedom and responsibility of a driver.
Sitting in a circle, each person was asked to speak about the most important thing they’d learned about driving. Their stories were about their shock at learning about the cost of keeping up a car and paying for insurance. One of Bobby’s uncles told a story of how he learned it was his job as a driver to be responsible for any law-breaking passengers. Bobby’s cousin told a story about a near-miss because she was texting.
The air was filled with a mixture of laughter, surprise and a few tears. Hearing the cautionary and instructive tales from someone other than his parents may have helped Bobby consider the experiences of people who cared about him as welcome advice.
Carrie, the mother of six and eight year old Halloween trick or treaters, didn’t like the candy race that seemed to be overtaking her children. She gave some heavy thought to what troubled her and just how she’d like to switch out the celebration. Dressing in costumes was fun and creative, so that could stay.
It was the emphasis on getting as much candy as possible that she wanted to change. She decided that each child could pick four houses they’d like to visit. They all sat down and talked about the people they wanted to trick or treat. Several neighbors made the list. One family lived far out of the neighborhood. One didn’t have any family living nearby. One was in a retirement home. The three of them made their list and Mom was cast in the role of driver.
The children got fewer treats but they also took the time to connect with special people. They decided to try this plan for one year, and liked it so much, they make it a tradition. Some years they had fun bringing Halloween treats to their friends!
It’s a good thing to take the time to mark all those moments that have meaning and pass so quickly. When you know one is coming up, there needn’t be a big production involved. A simple structure or idea that carries meaning is enough. A candle, a symbol, some ribbon, a pile of stones that people place on a table while they say what they want to say. The field is wide open for your creativity and good intentions.