Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Back-to-School Family Theme

Oh, man, it's the night before the first day of school for us, and as I said before, we've just had a wonderful summer together.  That wasn't really the case last summer.  And the last two years of moving, growing, and adjusting to our new lives hasn't been easy, so this summer was a welcome break from the stressful times and a time to heal and relax a little and just feel like "us" again...but a new and improved us I'm sure! :)

Anyhow, I ran most of my errands yesterday, so I could block out today for family time only!  I've decided that the last day of summer *at the pool* is my favorite day.  I love how the children are so confident in their swimming by then and how they want to show me all of the tricks they've mastered over the summer months.  That is what we were up to today.  And it was glorious.

But I had at least one more thing I wanted to do before I sent them back to school, and that was to share this quote with them that I read in a General Conference talk by Bishop Gerald Causse called "It's All About People".

Here is the longer version of the quote:

"We take the Church with us wherever we go: to work, to school, on vacation, and especially in our homes.  Our very presence and influence can be enough to make wherever we find ourselves a holy place."

I heard the quote while listening to Conference and then again in a Relief Society lesson, and I thought, "I need to teach this idea to my children.  We should make it our family theme for back to school."

So today, I wrote it on my kitchen chalkboard and my daughter provided the illustrations.  And tonight, while we were eating dinner way too late, I read them the quote and we discussed different ways that they could make the place they are in holy by their choices, by how they treat people, by keeping their covenants, etc.  

We then talked about scenarios they might face tomorrow as they enter a new classroom, meet their new teachers, and interact with new potential friends.  It was really fun to role-play.  I think that put them at ease and helped them feel empowered instead of nervous about their first day at school.

I smiled to myself as I looked around the table seeing the happy interaction we were having.  Everyone was laughing and sharing and learning together and encouraging one another and being silly.  And Steve and I were counseling each child.  I thought, oh, this is family home evening (just not on a Monday night)...And I thought how neat it is that our Monday night ritual has morphed into an every night thing that we just do pretty naturally (mostly!).

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is amazing.  It does transform lives and heal hearts. It does strengthen families.  I know that it is the Lord and his inspired programs that are part of His Church that have supported us and helped us make it through the hard parts of the last two years. And I know that He will continue to do so.

And that knowledge and testimony is enough to get us not just back to school, but back to everything else we want to do in life.

Besides starting a new tradition of a "back to school theme" we accidentally started another new tradition.

Because it was so late when we were eating dinner, I attempted to calm everyone by eating by candlelight.  My two-year old Val spent the whole dinner attempting to blow out the candles--his favorite thing to do!  We made it to the very end of dinner and I said, "OK, now we're ALL going to make a wish for our first day of school, and then we'll all blow out the candles at once."  Of course, all three Yankee candle tumblers were blown out at once and my daughter exclaimed to me, "We did it!  It's a miracle, Mom!"  It was a bit magical, and I'm sure next year they'll be asking to do that again.

Well, that's all, folks.  Tomorrow, I will send my babies out into the world again.  There will be tears, but not from them, I'm sure!


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