This blog post has three great ways to help your children and teens write during the Christmas season and in preparation for the new year. May you be blessed by all three key ideas. Many of you are teachers in classrooms or in your own homes, or you are parents of school-age children, or perhaps you are reading this to encourage others who teach children and teens. Thank you for your passion in blessing children and teens. I pray you find much peace in this, especially during this holy Christmas season and as you prepare for the new year. I pray my words are inspirational in your personal situations.
Have you ever written a Christmas letter or received one and read it with eager anticipation to know how a dear friend far away has been over the last year? It seems fewer people are doing these, and I largely think it’s because technology has made it possible to correspond in so many more ways than a letter. However, I have found when writing a Christmas letter and trying to make it interesting and meaningful to my readers, I have also experienced a nice way to reflect over the past year.
I suggest you encourage children and teens to write a letter… Maybe to share it with grandparents, or just to write it to themselves… So, they also can look over their own accomplishments, hopes, challenges, and struggles during the past year. This reflection time can be valuable for young people and help them set their sights on goals they desire for the coming year.
As a family or small group, you may want the writers to look over photos of events they have participated in for this year. Maybe there is a calendar that can be helpful, or cards they have received over the year to help jog their memories and heartfelt thoughts about their lives during the year and get them thinking about what goals and accomplishments they are seeking for the coming year.
During the advent season and the beginning of the new year is also a good time for children and teens to write cards. (I bet they also enjoy writing their Christmas wish lists!)
Maybe they can tuck in small notes in the cards you send to loved ones. Maybe they want to send special cards of Christmas cheer and thank you notes…such as to Christian radio stations or podcast hosts they enjoy, their teachers, pastors, Sunday school teachers, and coaches. One year, not too long ago, I sent a Christmas card to Queen Elizabeth. I have so admired her, and her broadcasted Christmas talks over the years. You can imagine my sweet surprise one day early in the new year when I went to my small-town, post office mailbox and took out an envelope that had a regal look to it. Sure enough, I got a reply! Such a blessing!
Maybe your children will get a reply when they write to someone. Receiving special mail can be so exciting for both young and adults. Maybe they want to send a special note along to a group that you support with charity. Maybe they want to write to someone who is a shut-in or is in the hospital or a recovery center. Certainly, they can write thank you notes to those who have given them Christmas presents.
What goals and accomplishments do they want for the coming year?
Writing down our goals and hopes for the new year can be powerful. People report that we are more likely to accomplish our goals if we have put them in writing. You can guide young writers in your life to think about their goals and hopes for the coming year, and organize them to be spread on a calendar, so they have a good idea of when to start working toward each goal and how long it might take to work on it.
They can begin to write down steps they need to take to reach these goals.
Here are some suggested categories for writing annual goals--
1. Pray for God’s guidance before writing.
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (KJV)
2. Reread any previous annual plans for 2022 or the year-end letter I have suggested.
3. Plan achievements for hobbies/sports/clubs.
4. Build ideas for stronger relationships with family/friends.
5. Faith growth…Establish daily/weekly routines for prayer, church, Bible reading, memorizing Bible verses, and Christian youth groups. (Biblebee.org has great programs for youth to memorize Bible verses. Click here for details.)
6. List books to read. (Reading helps make better writers.)
7. List skills to learn…such as swimming, playing a musical instrument, fishing, model building, furniture restoring, baby-sitting, gardening. (Click here for a blog post I wrote for how to start gardening.)
8. List outdoor aspirations…such as camping, hiking, and cycling.
9. List places and people to visit.
I suggest you build in weekly and monthly intentional review times to see how they are progressing. This should be written into the 2023-year plan. I want to encourage that these review times be ones with prayer, and perhaps your young writers can keep a prayer journal as they share with God their progress, and try to listen to His guiding as to how they should continue and maybe even modify some steps and aspirations.
“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.”
I hope these suggestions bring all of you joy in your lives, and the lives of the children and teens you know.
At this time last year when I wrote my goals for 2022, I included two personal goals—to travel to Colorado and visit my family there (Covid-19 issues had blocked that dream for three years), and to arrange my time and technology to listen to more audiobooks. (Thank you to my friend, Crystal Daye, dayelightpublishers.com, for providing her annual planner.) I truly think that by penning these aspirations, I made sure to fulfill them. I am so glad that I did. As you wrap up your year and look to the next, I hope you also find some special dreams and hopes that become a sweet reality in your lives in 2023. You may want to write them down. 😊
Victor Survives Being a Kid
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Please see last month’s blog post about a special writing contest being offered for children and teens. Deadline for entries is March 1, 2023.
Click HERE for details.
Are you looking for a Christmas gift for a boy or girl ages 8-12? Victor Survives Being a Kid is a heartwarming adventure book sure to please. Available on Amazon at a special holiday price. Click here to order a copy.