We started the tradition of having a school-year “theme” last year.
We got the dinner table all dolled up and read a special book to illustrate our thinking and Dave and I introduced that “theme” of ours:
(Much more about that back HERE.)
And I am telling you, we really did try to be “lights.”  Our counter was adorned with those little chalk boards all year long.  We randomly asked the kids how they were lights that day at the dinner table or during family home evening.  Lucy included “please bless Max and Elle and all of us to be lights” in her prayers on a regular basis.
Sure, we weren’t lights all the time.  Sometimes we were downright stormy clouds.

But we tried.  And I think it made a difference.

So this year we worked to come up with a new theme.  Claire figured it should be “Live Life to the Max” to continue our reunion theme.  

But Dave, wise as he is, knew we needed something more focused.
So he suggested “self-discipline.”  
And it stuck.
We didn’t do anything fancy to introduce the theme this time around.  Maybe I was too tired.  Or maybe I just realized that it would work just as well to be plain-jane.  I did make Japanese curry (a favorite around here), and leading up to dinner we talked up how awesome it was going to be to unveil the theme.
Everyone was on pins and needles with excitement! 
Ok, I kid about that.  
But they were at least politely curious.  I wrote it on the back of our “be the light” chalkboards and had a big “reveal” where I turned them around mid-dinner.
Everyone oooo’d and ahhhhh’d.  
I kid about that too.
The conversation that ensued was a good one though, where Dave explained his thinking about this whole dealio, and all the rationale behind how important self-discipline is in life.  I explained that you don’t just decide one day to have self-discipline.  You have to earn it.  So I proposed that we dust off our little dream books (back HERE) and keep our planning sessions going once a month to have discipline about what we’re working on.
I think I need this just as much or more than our children do, so I’m excited.  
I know two little words don’t change the world, but I hope they’ll help nudge us the direction we want to go this year.


  1. This has absolutely nothing to do with this post, but I really value your mothering expertise and I need some advice and don't know how else to ask you ha! Our 10 year old daughter is a sassy pants and can just be a bully to her siblings sometimes. I personally feel like this has to do with a low self esteem that she just naturally has. But she's been a spitfire since the get go! We have tried taking away privileges, grounding her, taking away friends, taking away her toys for a period of time and letting her earn them back, I swear we've tried everything and NOTHING works on this girl. We've even taken away extracurricular activities, but boy that makes me nervous as I want her involved in sports etc for many reasons but one being that I don't want her to fall away and find other less desirable things to occupy her time, so I don't necessarily think that's the best route. My other kids are not like this, so she is the only child that really really struggles with this. How do you curb sass in your family and how do help your child gain more self esteem? I believe if her self esteem could rise then she wouldn't bully or sass as much, but we're having a hard time helping her in that area as well. From a mom at her wit's end. 🙂

  2. hi Shawni, on self discipline read Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin, it really really helps I think! different approach for different people.

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