Thanksgiving week is the perfect time to think about the end of the year. As we reflect on our blessings, it’s natural to look back over the past 11 months and consider how far we’ve come (and get honest about all we’d hoped for that remains yet to be).
The calendar year offers us a beautiful rhythm of life. We have the privilege of ending each year with two of the most important celebrations. Though the world would like to take our focus off the importance of the holidays, with faith as our guide we can focus on the true meaning of Thanksgiving and Christmas, ending our year with gratitude and joy, all because of Jesus.
And as we turn the page to begin another 365 days of life, we have the opportunity to turn our gratitude and joy into hope for what is to come. We can pray and dream and plan for the future, looking forward with expectation. But before we turn our hearts to a new season, it’s important to end this one well.
Beginning well is a momentary thing; finishing well is a lifelong thing. Ravi Zacharias
The commitment to finish well is, of course, important for adults, but it’s also a value we can instill in our children. As they observe parents and leaders committed to follow through, kids can learn how to finish well themselves. Remember these simple commitments as you look towards the end of the year as a family.
3 Ways to Help Your Kids Finish Well This Year
Stay in the Race. Teach children to see every season of life as a race and help them resist the temptation to give up when it gets hard or they get tired. Everything we need is found in Jesus. He is our coach when we need encouragement and our strength when we get weary.
“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:13 NIV
Finish with Gratitude. Help kids focus on all that went well instead of all that went wrong this year. Teach them to use this principle even as they talk about the year. Instead of saying, “This technique is so hard,” try “I am being challenged in soccer but I am so thankful for the opportunity to play.”
“Be joyful always, pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV
Turn Frustration into Hope for the Future. Whatever they are feeling at this moment, encourage your kids that tomorrow is a new day and January is right around the corner but they will be so much more ready to own it if they finish what they’ve started. If we never press through our difficulties and frustrations, we’ll never learn what we need to know in order to do better next time.
“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
I’m considering these values myself as I look towards the end of the year. I want to lead my children in being finishers, not people who give up when life gets hard. With Jesus as your coach, we have everything we need for the race set before us. He is always by our side, cheering us on toward victory.
What principles are you teaching your children about finishing well?