My dear first born turned 8 today and so I thought it would be appropriate to write about birthdays for children. We all have them in our family calendars, and they seem to come back every year. Having this little one so close to Christmas has made it extremely tricky. But here are my thoughts on birthdays.
Children in our family are treated with honor and attention on their birthday. We hang banners, streamers, and balloons to set aside the day as special. And the birthday person’s chair is wrapped in decorations as well, a simple throne of sorts to make them feel special. They pick some of the food we eat and hear words of encouragement all day long. Our goal is to let the birthday person know that we are all glad they were born and that God gave them as a gift to our family. We tell them about the things God has gifted them with and what they do well. God made them special and with talents that they can choose to use for His purposes. It is, in part, our job as their family members to help them see how God can use them and what job they could do well some day. This should be happening all year long but on their birthday we are purposeful to mention their gifts and even give gifts that encourage it. My task as a parent is not to give them all their immediate wants that will pass away in a month or two (although there certainly is a little of that). My task is to help that child discover who God made them to be little by little, and show them how they can use their specific talents to make God look beautiful if they so choose to do so…and it is my daily prayer that they do.
Gifts like books, art, and music are essential to their creativity and make God’s creative world come alive. Lessons or classes in a subject they love and trips to see God’s creation at work are great adventures for a curious mind and perfect gifts. Toys that encourage pretending and imagination, or games to encourage interaction with friends and family are also loved. What other gifts have you given or what things have you done to let your child know that they are created by God with unique talents?