Q: Our son is turning 10-years-old this month. Many of his friends have had super-extravagant birthday parties with some really pricey gifts. We’re not trying to go cheap, but we want to do something that focuses on celebrating him rather than fixating on over-the-top festivities and presents. Any suggestions?
A: That’s a great way to approach a birthday! Every year of life is a thing to celebrate. If you can direct the celebration toward your son, and not make it all about the party, you can make birthdays an opportunity to communicate special value to your child.
Please don’t misunderstand us –- we’re not against parties! Taking your son and a few friends to laser tag, a jungle gym, or other play places can be a fantastic way to make birthdays fun and memorable. But if his birthday is also a time when your son is reminded of his worth and is encouraged to make strides in character development, you can make an impression that may yield positive results for the rest of his life.
There are lots of simple things you can do toward this end. You may wish to write your son a letter describing his positive qualities and encouraging him to use those in serving others. You can even ask everyone in your family to write a letter about his good traits, then read those notes aloud.
You can choose a character trait that would be appropriate for your son to work on in the coming year of his life, and plan interesting and fun ways to encourage him in his development. Character traits may include responsibility, generosity, kindness –- the list is practically limitless.
Note: this is not the time to point out faults and flaws or try to “fix” your son. This is about giving encouragement and love with no strings attached. We’re sure it will be a memorable time of celebration and affirmation.
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