The Leader in Me at Ralls County Elementary

by Diana Duckworth, Elementary Counselor

December is a great month. For some, it is a time to reflect upon the joys associated with Santa Claus and celebrate the joy of giving. For others, it is a reflective time spent celebrating Jesus’ birth and the great gift He has given to mankind. It seems that the Christmas lights and candles put us in a sort of reflective mood. Christmas is truly a time of peace and goodwill toward men.
Creating traditions is a great way to celebrate Christmas. This week, I bought a Christmas “pickle” to hang on my Christmas tree. Tradition has it that on Christmas morning, the first child to find the pickle gets a special gift or the honor of being the first child to open a present. In my mind, I can see my grandkids running to the tree to look for the pickle this year. By running, I mean it literally! I envision losing several of my ornaments as they scavenge for the soon to be treasured pickle.
Other families are scurrying every day to ensure that the “elf on the shelf” shows up in grandeur each morning. I bet that many families have actually lost sleep planning for the daily arrival of the elf!

Christmas traditions are fun and create so many lasting memories. Our family has numerous traditions. This past weekend, my two daughters and daughter-in-law, and eight grandchildren joined together to enjoy a family Christmas baking day. After baking, we shared our “goodies” with several people who have touched our lives this past year. Each of us dressed up for the outing. One dressed as Santa, one as Mrs. Santa, two elves, two babies dressed in red, and the rest dressed in “ugly” sweaters or wearing our new “Duckworth Baking Day” aprons. It was great fun and we were able to create new family memories while sharing with others.
On Christmas Eve, our family begins the evening with candlelight services at our church and then we go home to play Bingo, eat snacks, and open presents. I am so thankful for the traditions that our family has created.
Traditions are such an important of our lives. They are a way to let our kids know that life has a purpose and that there are some things in life that you can always look forward to. At school, I love hearing kids share their Christmas joys and expectations.
Christmas is also a time of hustle and bustle. There are Christmas programs to attend and numerous family gatherings. For parents, it is a time of shopping for gifts and the stress of paying bills and adding the new expenses takes its toll.
This year as a family, sit down and discuss what Christmas means to you and your family. Establish some “big rocks” (which is the 7 Habit words for determining the most important things in your life) and set goals. Begin with the End in Mind by determining what is important to your family. I bet that if truth be known, many of our kids would just like to sit at home in their jammies with a bowl of popcorn and enjoy a fun family movie or play a game together. Maybe before we fill the month with activities, we should just designate one night in December as “Family Night”. It may be one of the most important traditions you ever create, as time spent with family is so important.