Well what a year! I am not quite sure how we got to the end of 2020, but here we are.  

Recently I heard someone talking about a practise that they like to do at the end of every year and that is to reflect on the year that’s been in an effort to not miss the meaningful moments, the lessons and the blessings through the good times and through the hardships. As I reflect on this practise I can see the power of this activity for 2020. We can reflect on what we are taking with us into 2021 and what we might want to leave behind, so that no matter the season, we are still learning and growing in life. This activity can help us and our family to feel grounded amongst the turmoil, give us a renewed sense of direction, helps us to recognise what we are grateful for, recognise what is still in our control and what we value.

As I reflect, what stands out the most this year for me, it is a deeper understanding that life is short and the question I have found myself asking is, “am I making the most of it”? Am I pursuing that which is meaningful or what I value the most? This is a challenging thought, but one worth pursuing each day so that life doesn’t just slip by us.

One of the activities I often do with students is an activity to help identify their values and understand how to use them to make choices that add value to their life, helping them to become the person they want to be rather than choices that take them away from this.

Living from our values can help us to create purpose in our lives despite the challenges, because this is always something we can control. Most of the time students identify that family relationships are what they value the most as well as attributes such as love, kindness and connection. Despite how your child displays this, deep down this is something they desire because this is what God has created and hard-wired us for. The family is where God designed for us to experience this connection the most. What are you doing or can you be doing to foster this connection on a deeper level in your family relationships, despite the busyness and fast paced, technologically driven world we live in.

Sometimes, depending on what age or temperament your child is, this can be challenging, but find what works for you both and do more of this (TIP – read this article!).

These holidays, I want to encourage you to go back to basics. Think about the words of the famous Christmas song, “all I want for Christmas is you” and perhaps this is all our kids really need and want – time together with us. Remembering that physical, mental, emotional and relational connection are all protective factors against mental illness, low self-esteem, poor decision making and being easily influenced by others. Strong and secure young people are as a result of a strong, secure and safe base.

What family or faith rituals this Christmas/holiday time can you return to or start as a way to connect with your children, providing a secure and safe base for them. I am always encouraged by the bible verse:

‘Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it’. Proverbs 22:6

It is amazing how these rituals of faith and fun can become the very practise that bonds us with our children or brings great comfort to their lives when they are older because it was a consistent practise in their younger years.

For a quick 4 min video on the importance of family rituals by Maggie Dent, and some other great articles on building connection with your children over the holidays see below:

On behalf of the Pastoral Care team at Genesis, we want to wish you all a big Merry Christmas and let you know that we are praying for you and your family, for a safe and blessed holiday break. We look forward to seeing you all again in 2021 and please feel free to reach out to our Pastoral Care Team at any time if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s wellbeing.


Louise Klar

Head of Pastoral Care and Growth & College Counsellor