* THIS POST CONTAINS BOTH AFFILIATE AND PRODUCT LINKS. *
Last week we started a discussion about Family Discipleship. What is family discipleship? In their book, Family Discipleship, Matt and Adam define Family Discipleship is leading your home by doing whatever you can whenever you can to help your family become friends and followers of Jesus Christ." (Family Discipleship, page 30.)
The idea of raising up our kids to love Jesus and chase after him with their lives has been one of our greatest goals. In fact, it might be our greatest goal. Good in school? Yes. Important. Good in sports. Sure. Important. Kind to others. Absolutely. Responsible? Definitely. Financially secure and successful? We hope. But in a personal relationship with the God and Creator of the universe, Yes, yes, YES!
Recently, our oldest turned 24 years old. 24 years old! That means we have been parents for 24 years. And in those 24 years, we have produce 4 more kids totally 5. 5 unique, individual, dramatically different kids. Not one is like the other. Yes, they might share similar interests and activities, but each one is unique to themselves. And with that, the responsibility to train them up to know, love, and follow Jesus.
As we said in our initial post, Let's Talk About Family Discipleship, we're looking at a book co-written by Matt Chandler and Adam Griffin, as our guide in this discussion of what family discipleship looks like. Family Discipleship, Leading Your Home Through Time, Moments, & Milestones, has been a huge help for us as we think about how we disciple our kids.
Now, let's be honest. We have 5 kids. Our oldest is 24, our youngest is 13. Our number 1 and number 2 are out of the house and leaving on their own. Of the three who are still living with us, number 3 is almost 20 years old and working to become independent and self-supporting. Numbers 4 & 5, are teenagers. Clearly, we are in the latter days of our child rearing. Isn't it a little late to be thinking about family discipleship?
No, and that's the point! It's not too late! In fact, whatever your stage of family life and child raising, now it the perfect time to start your journey with Family Discipleship. Let's start with a quick definition of modeling, according to Family Discipleship, by Matt Chandler and Adam Griffin.
Modeling: Serving as a godly example for your family, living out your genuine walk with God, and demonstrating true repentance where and when you fall short. (Definition provided in Family Discipleship, page 43.)
Pastor Matt, gives a great message on Modeling. Take a few minutes to watch the sermon. When you finish, consider the following questions and thoughts.
How are you modeling?
How are you modeling Christ? As parents, what does your faith journey look like? What are your kids seeing as they watch you?
Do they see you pray? Do they see you reading your bible? Are you serving at church? Are you leading others to Jesus? Are you talking about Jesus, as you are at home, in the car, or out and about? Are you seeking forgiveness when you make a mistake? Are you living in grace? Showing grace?
But modeling is faith and life. What are you modeling when standing in the line at the grocery store? What do they see as you interact with friends and strangers? What do they hear when you're talking with your friends, while you are watching your favorite sports team when they're down by 20?
How are you loving your spouse? Are you serving them well? What words do they hear when you are talking to your spouse? What words are you using when you talk about your spouse? What do your kids see when you argue, make a mistake, seek forgiveness, offer forgiveness?
You see, modeling is something we do whether we are aware of it or not. Our kids are always watching. And whether we are being intentional or not, our kids are picking up what they see in us. Modeling isn't just being seen doing the right or good things, modeling is being aware that we are always being seen.
Here's the thing, it's never too late to start modeling for your kids. You can get started right now. I know we're looking to improve our modeling, even as we parent our teens and our young adults.
Be sure to check back in with us next week as we look at Moments.
Till then, thanks for taking time to consider Family Discipleship.
- the higham family
The last day of school has become a special day in the Higham house. We love it! We look forward to it every year. It's almost like a holiday. At least we celebrate it as though it were a holiday.
A number of years ago, Amy suggested we do something fun for the kids as they came home from school on that last day. We don't remember where she got the idea, but she heard about celebrating the last day of school, and we have been doing it ever since. Even with teenagers, we look forward to the last day of school.
You can check out some of our fun with these vlog posts from the last couple of years.
Last Day of School 2021. Last Day of School 2019. Last Day of School 2018.
So why do we celebrate the last day of school? The last day of school is an opportunity to celebrate the school year. It's a milestone moment, another year completed. Another year older. And, we wanted to acknowledge that year, the accomplishments, the highlights, the memories, and fun.
The end of the school year is a big step for our kids, so to take a few moments to celebrate, honor, and have some fun is a good thing. It's something our kids look forward to every year.
Over the years, the last day celebration has looked a little different. Early on, the last day of school usually involved a special dinner. We would go out to one of our favorite restaurants and celebrate. AS our kids grew, we up'd our game. Somewhere around 2013 and 2014, we greeted the kids with water balloons as they stepped off the school bus. Either way, the last day of school means summer is here, and we love to celebrate that.
So here are some ideas, and products that we recommend.
Special Year End Dinner
Celebrate your last day of school with a special year end dinner. You can make your families favorite meal, order out from your favorite restaurant, go out to eat at your favorite restaurant, or gather the kids and have them help as you cook up something delicious for dinner. Of course this works with lunch, depending on when school ends and your work availability.
You could also coordinate with friends and/or neighbors and plan for a gathering at someone house or at a local park. Have everyone bring a food item to share and have a good time together. We know of a vlogging family who organizes a neighborhood party on the last day of school.
If you go with a family dinner, be sure use that time to look back and celebrate the year. Talk about the year. Ask them to share their favorite moments. Encourage the telling of funny stories. Ask what was one thing the learned, or enjoyed learning? Who were their favorite teachers and why? Remember, we're celebrating the accomplishments of the year, so don't forget to encourage your kids. Tell them your favorite moments, funny stories, and favorite teachers. Let them know that you are proud of their accomplishments this year. Honor them for their good work.
The After School Ambush
This is by far our favorite thing to do, ambush the kids as they arrive home on the last day of school. This was much easier to do when they came home on the school bus. We would wait with water balloons, silly string, and squirt guns ready to bombard the kids as they stepped off the school bus. As the kids started driving, we had to do a better job at planning how we ambushed the kids, but we still did it.
If you're planning an ambush, here are a couple things to consider. First, be sure you have the correct time that school lets out and when the bus will drop off your kids. Most schools have a shorter day on the last day of school, so end times and arrival times will be different from normal drop off.
Have everything planned in advance. Will you have balloons, silly string, confetti, water guns? Grab all of these items in advance. Fill the water balloon and water guns up and stage them where you can get to them easily. We always provided a retaliation bucket near the curb or street for the kids. This way they can get into the action and launch a strike of their own.
Remember, they might have backpacks or other school items with them that you may not want to get wet. Consider what you want to do with those school items before you get everything all wet. We always gave the kids a minute to put their school items in a safe zone before the ambush begun.
Special note of consideration: And if your kids wear school uniforms, like our kids do, you might want to have a change of close available for them before any battle begins. Nobody wants to have to replace uniform parts because they were damaged during a backyard battle royal.
The Book Burning
Over the years, our kids have celebrated with our traditional, end of the year book burning. Well, it's more of a notebook burning. After we sort through whatever assignments, projects, or reports that might come home on the last day of school, we give our kids the opportunity to burn any of the school work that they will not need for the coming year. So notes or notebooks, reports, projects, papers, homework assignments, etc.; whatever they have and no longer want or need is allowed to be burned up in our backyard fire pit.
Now maybe you're not a fan of the book burning, and that's okay. We have found it to be a somber moment. As our kids flip through the pages of their notebooks, they will often make comments about their work. It's been great to see and hear what they have learned, and acknowledge their work over the year. It's a great moment for our kids. And, it's a great way to celebrate the end of one chapter and the start of another.
Obviously, you are going to want to be sure you check with your local laws and ordinances before you burn, as some communities frown upon backyard fires, or fires of any kind.
Here we go, the fun stuff. As we get ready for our end of year fun, here are a few items that we like to have fun with.
There you go, some of our favorite last day of school products for our ambush. We will definitely be ordering our set of products for our ambush this year. All of the above links are affiliate links. We here at Life in the Higham House partner with Amazon to bring you some of our favorite products. When you purchase a product using our links, we receive a small affiliate fee at no additional cost to you. These affiliate fees help us maintain the Life in the Higham House blog and vlog. So order today!
Happy last day of school!
- the higham family
It was a rainy morning. The service was scheduled for 10:00 a.m.
I woke up at the hotel where my family was staying. A weird, surreal feeling came over me, Today, my life will change.
The skies cleared and we made our way to the church.
We were excited. Young. And in love.
It was a service of promises, tears, and wide-eye hope for a life full of adventure and blessing. 19 years later the promise means as much now as it did then. We've continued to share tears through the good and the bad. 5 amazing kids. The loss of a parent, grandparents, and even 5 little one we will some day meet in heaven. Multiple moves and ministry changes. And the wide-eyed hope for a life full of adventure and blessing...let's just say we had no idea where the adventure would take us.
This Wednesday, May 18th, 2022, we celebrate our 26th wedding anniversary. If you're doing the math, that's 26 years. That's a long time.
When I was in my teens, I hoped and prayed for a marriage that was blessed. I wanted a relationship with my future wife that was filled with love, children, and fun. As I think back over the 26 years, I'd have to say that God answered my prayers.
In my bio, I say that I am a guy who can honestly say, I love being married. It's true. I do. I love my wife, Amy. I love our life together. I love that we are still in love. I love that we intend on being married a great many more years.
I am blessed. I know that. God has been good to give me the most amazing woman to share this life with. When I read Genesis 2:18-25, I believe that God, in His perfect wisdom, created Amy specifically for me. She is my suitable helper, my partner, my best friend, my lover, my wife.
Amy is why I left home. She is who I was united to on the Saturday morning.
She is who I am becoming one with.
Amy is an amazing mom. 5 kids is a lot, but she does it so well. Not only that, but she still has room to love on others. Whether it friends or kids from the neighborhood, or one of the little ones she watches, her love and motherly expertise is well used.
Simply put, I just couldn't begin to imagine what my life would look like without my amazing, beautiful, godly, wife. Amy Higham, I love you. And I am so blessed and grateful that God chose you to be with me. Let's make the years to come as exciting as these first 26. And who know where God will lead us and what He might ask us to do!
Thanks for taking the time to read The Higham Family Blog. Each week we try to share new content about something we are learning, something we love, or something to offer encouragement to the family. We love to hear from our readers, so please share your thought in the comment section of each post.