This is a part of the Intentional Man series.
Gentlemen, it is time to start thinking about and planning this season.
Think about some of your favorite childhood memories. Chances are they involved two big things: repetition and your senses. Fall is probably my favorite season. Think about what usually marks it: leaves changing color, college football, hot drinks like cider or hot chocolate suit the cooling weather, college football, pumpkin and cinnamon make their way in to foods again - and did I mention college football?
Ravi Zacharias has a good anecdote on the importance of this time of life.
“I remember the time an older man asked me when I was young, “Do you know what you are doing now?” I thought it was some kind of trick question.
Tell me,” I said.
You are building your memories,” he replied, “so make them good ones.”
Culture, Celebrations, & Traditions = Memories
Most often good memories exist within the context of a culture in a family. What you choose to celebrate and the intentional traditions you instill are the key parts of creating a culture in your family.
Don’t tune out single folks because you have a great opportunity to be intentional with celebrations and traditions as well. There are also many people who didn’t have a childhood with fond memories or parents who were thoughtful about these things, and to that I’d say you have a great opportunity to create a whole new legacy for your family - one of love, warmth, intentionality, and fun!
I’ll walk you through what this looks like in our family.
Start in the Right Place
First, start with who you are and who you want to be as a family. What you do should reinforce your family’s vision and values. One mistake I’m prone to and that many people make is starting by simply getting busy. But busyness or work that isn’t attached to a bigger ‘why’ or a direction is at best meandering or, at worst, joylessly grueling. For us, as a family some of our values are:
Always learning (Ecc. 10:10; Prov 23:22; Prov 15:22)
Explore to understand & serve (Psalm 19; Acts 17)
Use Our Imaginations & have fun
Plan, Use Your Time Wisely, Work Hard (Prov. 11:14; Prov 24:6; Col 3:23)
Men, if you’re single, it’s not a bad idea to start envisioning what values you’d want your family to hold. Of course, your wife will play a big role in shaping and speaking in to that but I can’t think of any women who wouldn’t feel loved if you said, “Hey, I’ve been planning for you and our family for years. What do you think about these ideas?”
Collaboration & Senses
Next, Kim and I will collaborate on what we liked about how our families celebrated fall during our childhood, brainstorm new ideas for our family, and turn those in to a list based on our family’s mission and values. We make sure to incorporate our children’s senses as we plan by grouping ideas by taste, touch, smell, hearing, and sight.
2 Important Steps
There are two important practical steps you need to take here:
1. Budget for this. We have a small budget every month for Kim to use towards seasonal items. If your wife is like mine and enjoys being crafty and decorative, then she’ll feel loved that you’ve set aside a part of the family’s budget towards letting her love the family with her skills. Also, it is responsible.
2. Take the list and put it on the calendar. It is easy to lose pieces of paper or have Evernote notes be forgotten in a day. Instead, immediately get the list on to your family’s calendar so you know it will happen.
As an example, here are some of our ideas for Fall to get your creativity flowing.
—spicy candles, cinnamon, pumpkin
—fires in the fireplace
—football games on TV and in person
—fall leaves. try to find a drive or a park with great Fall trees.
—fall colors around the home. flower arrangements, decorations, etc
—pumpkin things (bread, muffins, crepes)
—apple cider and hot chocolate
—sweet potatoes, butternut squash
—soups and chills
—Fall playlist for car rides
—pumpkin picking and carving
—apple & pear picking
—raking leaves and jumping in them
—cold nights, cold air
—hoodies & beanies
Obviously Summer, Spring, and Christmas would look different so it would be a good idea to keep ideas for each season in separate notes in Evernote so you can reference them each year.
What about you? What would you add to a list of Fall traditions or celebrations?