Saturday, February 23, 2013

Celebrate Milestones!

When I think of celebrating milestones in a child's and family's lives I think of two things. First of all I think about the idea a child has made a decision or done something or grown to a point where a milestone in their life has been reached. These are truly important moments and worthy of being celebrated, but in far too many instances we are all too busy to stop and notice and celebrate. The second thing I think about is the family. A milestone in a child's life is also a milestone in a family's life as well. Often the family had a big part to "play"  in the child reaching their milestone so the celebration is one not only for the child, but also for the family as well. 

So, what milestones should we celebrate? How should we celebrate? How do we equip parents so they are not only the primary "equippers" and "trainers" walking alongside their child and helping them reach their milestones, but also helping parents take time to notice as their child reaches a milestone and then celebrate it with their child?

When you look in the Bible you see the people of Israel were "milestone celebrators"! They seemed to understand the significance of milestones and took the time to celebrate them! God often told His people to celebrate their milestones . . . for example, in Joshua 4:5-7, 20-24 we see when they crossed the Jordan River as they entered the Promise Land God told the people, "Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever. . . . In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’  For the LORD your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The LORD your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God. Milestones and celebrations help "cement" moments and decisions and serve as a "stone" of remembrance . . . they can help our children "remember" what God has done in their lives and help them "remember" God!

The passages we first think of when we consider the parent's God-given responsibility and joy of teaching and leading their children - Deuteronomy 6, Psalm 78 and Ephesians 6 tell us how important it is for parents to be the primary teachers of their children so the children grow up "remembering" God. We want our children to know and remember God - Psalm 78 shows us the tragedy of lives where they forgot God. We want our children to know and remember God . . . is this not why we are in children's ministry in the first place? Parents are to be the primary teachers of their children - they are to teach their children in every aspect of their lives . . . when we combine this teaching with celebrating as milestones are reached it will have a powerful and lasting effect on our children! Celebrating milestones help to reinforce the importance of decisions and growth in a child's life and are well worth the time it takes to celebrate well!

Last year I looked at the idea of celebrating milestones and shared several wonderful programs you could implement in your church to celebrate milestones and shared some specific resources you could use to develop a family ministry where milestones are celebrated! You will find these posts at the following links . . . 

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