I love family traditions.
I love learning about celebrations other families have,
and I love coming up with and implementing traditions of our own.
I firmly believe that family traditions and celebrations bring family identity, unity, and solidarity.
And I dream of creating events that our children will look back on with happiness.
So when I heard about some families' tradition of having a back-to-school feast or celebration,
I knew I wanted to do something along those lines.
Early last week, we made our own individual pizzas with a variety of toppings.
While they cooked, we colored with markers on the brown craft paper that covered the table in the backyard with a mason jar full of freshly snipped sunflowers in the middle and a canopy of white Christmas lights strung in the tree branches above us.
We ate our pizza in that magical setting as the sun went down,
and then we started a fire.
As we watched the dancing flames,
the kids unwrapped new books
and we unveiled our family theme for the year:
"Lift up the hands that hang down."
Throughout the year, we will be repeating this theme in our weekly Family Home Evenings,
and we will be incorporating the message of lifting the burdens of others.
Our goal is to make each year's theme especially applicable
to the challenges and situations our children may face.
It was so gratifying to hear their enthusiastically offered ideas
about how they would lift others.
Oh, how I wish they could always have such enthusiasm for life and the principles we try to teach them!
After our short lesson,
we concluded the night with s'mores.
And as we prepared those little children for bed,
they expressed gratitude in their prayers for our celebration,
and we tucked them into bed with smiles on their faces.
And I had a smile to match.