On the last day of the year, we set aside time to reflect on the year and give thanks to God for His Sovereign hand upon our lives. We remember the joys and trials of the year. We talk about the Providential hand of God moving in our life and marvel at His mercy and grace even amidst trials. We remember activities and projects we worked on, accomplishments, things most memorable, things that were hard, things most blessed, things that were sad and things that brought much laughter….It is a time of remembrance and thanksgiving for everyone in our entire family.
We have found that this little exercise is a great way to peak inside the hearts and minds of our children. When our children are able to write…even if that means in scratch…..we require them to pen some of their own thoughts on paper. First is a paper about reflections: “Write what you learned, experiences you had, things you did, things you are thankful for and other memories of this year.” Second is a paper about intentions: “Write a list of goals you would like to accomplish for the upcoming year.”
For those that can not write, we usually have them dictate to us (or an older sibling) their goals and we write them down for them. For those who do not yet talk coherently, we usually make up a goal they will be pursuing whether they like it or not (i.e. potty training, learning how to sit on a blanket during family worship time and church, etc…). How wonderful it is to look back over the years and see goals set by our oldest children, like “I want to learn how to read”, and compare that to where they are now or to see their memory goals and hear them recite chapters in the Bible they have learned!
We each work on our reflections and goals in preparation for our time of celebration on New Year’s Eve.
Our 10 year old completed his list of 2007 reflections today. I will for brevity sake only highlight a few of his page long most memorable reflections. He states:
- In 2007, we bought our cow named Bonnie Blue and we also moved to the farm.
- In 2007, I caught my first coon!
- I grew my first crop of corn and my brothers and dad and I got to castrate a pig.
- My brother and I raised a 40 lb turkey and we learned how to breed rabbits.
- I also learned how to milk a cow and I did more school work this year too. Everybody turned 1 year older.
- In 2007, I did more work for less pay.
He wrote in all seriousness and after he was finished, he handed it to me to see if he had written enough. I agreed it was sufficient all the while chuckling to myself about the “more work for less pay” reflection. I did notice on his goal’s paper he had a plan to make $500 this year. Such are the lessons learned by a 10 year old from serious reflections on his past year of life.
Our 7 year old’s list of reflections was highly entertaining and enlightening. As with all the children, the impacting influence of farm life was highly evident….more than I realized. A few of the (newly turned) 7 year old’s reflections were:
- I helped work on the milk barn.
- I started learning how to read.
- I learned that a chicken will die without water.
- I learned NEVER to put a chicken in with a dog cus’ the chicken gets killed.
- I learned that a castrated cow won’t breed with a milk cow.
And I learned that moving to a farm teaches children way more than you will ever think they will learn and it is only through teaching them to reflect and remember things in their life, even from a young age, that you find out some of those little known facts that were bouncing around in their little heads.