I've seen lots of back-to-school ideas and I knew I wanted to start a tradition in our family with the launch of the new school year.
We had a fancy first day of school dinner party to commemorate the big event.
As I sat the table in the dining room instead of our normal kitchen table, the boys asked who we were having over for dinner. When I answered that it was a special back-to-school dinner, they got all sorts of excited.
Blake exclaimed, "We're having a party just for us?!"
The boys squealed with delight when we revealed fancy glasses (theirs were plastic) and showed them how to put cloth napkins in their laps. They kept saying that it was just like a restaurant.
I thought the chalkboard napkin rings that my friend gave me were appropriate for the first day of school.
The purpose of the special dinner wasn't just about fancier-than-normal food and surroundings, but also to present our family school year theme.
We settled on "Respect". Our boys are still young, but we thought this was something they could grasp and improve on.
I was shocked at the riveting discussion we ended up having.
Not only did the boys stay in their chairs the whole time (a rarity at our house) and actually eat the dinner I made, but they actively participated in our conversation about showing respect. We talked about all sorts of scenarios where they could show more respect; school, church, friends' houses, stores, and with their parents and each other.
Blake caught on and asked Nash, "How could you respect your teacher at school?"
Nash responded, in the sweetest voice ever, "I'm not really sure, Blake. That's a good question."
What? Did that polite response really come from my child? Troy and I looked at each other, dumbfounded. We were pleasantly surprised that by creating an atmosphere that was special and different, our boys acted differently; more mature and ready to participate in the discussion we had.
Now, implementing the value of respect will be a whole different ballgame. We're obviously focusing on it because there has been a real lack of respect lately. We're hoping to dedicate one family night a month to focus on this theme and remind the boys what we're working on as a family.
The sign I made is now hanging by our back door so we all can continually be reminded. (And since the word "respect" is phonetic, Blake can actually read it.)
I think I'd call our little candlelight dinner a success.
After dinner, Blake asked, "Can we eat dinner in here every night?"