Yesterday my 8 year old announced she needed a diary to keep all her deep thoughts and secrets. “I’m a 3rd grader now. I have to write what happens to me in a diary,” she said.
I love her instincts to mark the transition to a new phase of her life with a special gift–one that involves recording her life’s moments.
Children naturally celebrate rites of passage. They are so aware when they change status somehow. They know what it means to write their own name, lose a tooth, ride without training wheels, swim across the pool, read a chapter book, or make toast by themselves.
My children insist on celebrating their growth. They dance, they make announcements, they write it down, they throw parties. In fact, we have a “celebrate plate” that we use whenever somebody accomplishes something. We end up using it a lot. (Special thanks to my friend who gave this as a wedding gift 10 years ago!)
But all day, I wondered about this childhood awareness of personal growth. I want to be as keen to my own process of growing because it doesn’t (and shouldn’t) stop into adulthood. I want to be more deliberate about adult rites of passage ceremonies. In what ways am I celebrating my own transitions from one status to another? And how I am celebrating other adults in my neighborhood?
I want to celebrate new: new roles I assume, new friendships I enter, new goals I set (and achieve), any breakthroughs I experience–emotionally, physically, spiritually, or socially. I want to acknowledge new changes and new experiences.
There’s a reason why this matters so much.
I’ll never forget the day I started feeling hopeful for the first time in years. My doctor said, “Mark this day. Buy a piece of jewelry or a special candle or a piece of art. Do something to remember it. Every time you see that thing, you will remember what has happened today.”
There’s an ancient Biblical tradition of “marking the day.” Whenever the Israelites experienced a special deliverance from God, they “marked the day” by building an altar (even just a pile of rocks) so that whenever anybody saw it, they would remember the wonders of God. It was for their children and the children after them. It was so important to remember the work of God (because they kept forgetting!)
They knew and proclaimed, according to Isaiah 26:12, that all they had came from the Lord. The writer insists: “Lord, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us.”
My daughter’s desire to mark her graduation from 2nd grade, to remember it, under lock and key, in her diary, challenges me to remember, with various celebrations, what God has accomplished in my own life. We aren’t building altars of rocks in our home (maybe we should!), but we are learning to “mark the day” when one of us experiences growth in any form. I want to keep growing and marking many days of God’s wonders in my life. I want to be the neighbor that throws ceremonies for both childhood and adult growth.
Living with flair, for me, means marking each day with a blog entry. Thank you for celebrating with me each time you read one. It’s changed my life.