December 24 – family night

153/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. It’s the day before Christmas and everyone has traditions this time of the year. Although my kids are older now, each of them got an ornament to put on their own miniature tree every year from birth to their mid-teens. My daughter got a Hallmark Holiday Barbie and my son received a Hallmark Harley – yes, you may criticize that I was falling into the gender stereotyping of ornaments and yeah, you are right 🙂 The kids absolutely looked forward to putting up their previous years’ ornaments and then the new one. I must say that I also got a kick out of it. Another tradition that found its way into our family (when my kids were younger) was “Family Night”. Every Friday, regardless of our individual plans, all four of us had to set aside two hours for Family Night – this was basically going out for dinner as a family of four and then coming home to perhaps a movie or a board game. We did this religiously for several years – if it wasn’t Friday, then it was moved to Saturday. It got harder as the children started to become teenagers but we managed for as long as possible and it was one of the best traditions we had as a family. I cannot take credit for this – I was inspired by my student Tefke. A wonderful young woman who was in a couple of my classes back when I first started teaching, Tefke really inspired me. I, being a keen teacher, took it upon myself to phone every one of my student’s parents at home over a weekend for an interim report on their progress regardless of their grade – an onerous task for sure. I remember Tefke coming up to me and telling me not to phone on Sunday. I was at a loss as she was doing very well in my class so I asked her why? She told me it was Family Day. I asked her to elaborate and she told me that her parents, herself and her other two sisters spent Sunday together being a family. They had activities planned and probably would not be answering the phone. She told me that this happened every weekend. She went on to explain how this kept the family close and expressed her gratitude to her parents for doing this. I was in awe. This explained the kindness and generosity that Tefke displayed to others in class as well as the close bond that she had with her sisters but also the love that I could clearly see that she had for her parents. I told her that I was going to do something like that and that’s how our Family Night came to be. Thank you so much Tefke for sharing your family tradition that I was able to adapt. You changed the way I parented and I am forever grateful. I want to share this so others can also benefit from what you taught me. In your honour, I will try to organize a Family Night these days with my adult and teen children 😉

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