The word for 2020 for our family is: Joy! I haven’t ever really done a word of the year before, but this year I have two. One for my family, which is ‘Joy!’, and one for me, personally, which is ‘Gentleness’.
The idea of having a word of the year came to me over the holidays. I felt like we accomplished so much last year in our homeschool, but in the process we left out some of the joyful time. Last year my older kids ran their first 1 mile fun run, my oldest competed in his first sailing race, we traveled to see family 4 times, we finished our first year of our new co-op and started the second year with me as a tutor, and my toddler learned to walk, run, talk, and so much more. It was a great year of accomplishments. But I felt like, especially towards the end of the year, we dropped a lot of joyful activities so we could finish up our homeschool year. Maybe in the process of me fulfilling my need to check off the homeschool boxes on my list, I pushed too hard. As I was thinking these thoughts one night while sitting next to my husband, he said, “We need more joy.” I turned to him and said, “I have been thinking that exact same thought.”
Now, in a previous post I mentioned how my husband and I have grown in our decision making process. In the beginning of our marriage, we would try to argue the other one over to our own side. Over the years, we have learned it is much more peaceful to wait patiently on the other person as they consider our idea. Once we are both in agreement on an idea, we move forward. But only then. And that has been HUGE in our marriage. I am so thankful for this stage, not only for the peace, but also for the feeling that God is in the decision. We pray about it. We take time to think about it.
So, from our discussion, we both agreed ‘Joy!’ is our word for 2020. And we have already begun by getting off our computers at night after dinner and engaging the kids in a game or discussion. (It’s so easy to want to “just check on something” and spend an hour on the computer!) We played “Spot It” one night and “Headbandz” another. It wasn’t for a long time. One round each, really. But it made such a difference. The other thing which brings our family LOTS of laughs is a good old funny cat video, which you can find on youtube. Everybody, even our toddler, laughs at the silly antics of the cats.
In addition to our family word, I have also felt the Lord calling me to be more Gentle. I am not by nature a gentle person. I have known women who are and have always been drawn to them, but it’s just not naturally who I am. Recently, though, I have been feeling my children need more gentleness from me. More hugs and kisses and lots of words of encouragement. It’s so easy in our homeschool life to get bogged down in everyone’s difficult areas and not take time to tell them how amazing they are doing! I need to focus more on their accomplishments and less on their lack of success, because I know eventually they will succeed but maybe at an average level and not some stellar level. And, that’s okay!! That’s what I need to accept more. My kids are amazing and I need to focus more on them and who they are as an individual and not what the world is saying is the standard. Truly, we are all uniquely knit together in our mother’s womb and I want to honor God and my children by helping draw out their strengths. It makes me think of all those years sitting through employee reviews and hearing about strengths and weaknesses, but, instead of focusing on the strengths, I would dwell on what my employer thought were my weaknesses. I needed to redirect my own focus back to my strengths and making them better. Our strengths are the areas that make us unique and should be the areas that rise to the top.
So, here’s to 2020 being the year of Joy! and Gentleness! Happy New Year! Do you have a word of the year? What made you choose your word? If you don’t have a word for the year, are you considering one now? It’s never too late!