As parents, it’s our responsibility to prepare and disciple these little people into adulthood. It’s not too intimidating in the toddler years when nursery songs, hide-n-seek, and filling coloring books with unrecognizable masterpieces consumes the bulk of our days. But as they get older and choices, opinions, and discipline become more complicated you realize two things; how important those younger years were for building a foundation, and how ginormous of a task lies before us.
Turning twelve marks the beginning of a milestone year in our family. As our boys approached the pre-teen years we realized the importance of intentionally training them to become young men sooner rather than later (we didn’t want to wait until they were sixteen or eighteen and only had a few years left at home to address important topics, values, character issues, and worldly temptations).
On their twelfth birthdays dad took the boys on a special get-away to kickoff a year of Bible study and conversations about life, purpose, budgeting, relationships, etc. On their thirteenth birthdays they celebrated the year with another trip and we gifted them pocket knives and opened their first bank accounts.
Last week when this girl turned twelve, we packed our bags and snuck away to begin her ascent from childhood. We enjoyed tasty food, our favorite TV show, talked about life and Godliness, prayed, and began a Bible study together.
In a family of ten, this tradition is especially significant and provides the space for quality and intentional time for each of our kiddos. Darci and I will sit together each week to go through our study, and (as suggested by my Aunt) I’ll present her with a purity ring along with her first bank account on her thirteenth birthday.
Your traditions don’t have to look like ours, but having traditions tied to intentionally preparing your children for adulthood is important.
Your traditions can be:
- Related to milestones
Your traditions can include:
- Significant movies, books, or studies
- Special food/meals
- A trip
- Hiking, camping, or other outdoor activities
- Making videos or picture books together
- Playing a sport together
Topics you may want to cover:
- Significant family values
- Religious beliefs; who is God, who am I, righteousness, daily devotions and practices
- Integrity and reputation
- Stewardship and contentment
- Dealing with emotions
- Purity and sexuality
- Being a leader among peers
- Leaving home
- Finding a community
- Worldly temptations
- School, work, and career
- Finances and budgeting
- Purpose and goals