It’s All About the Pause

Hopefully we all get to experience many of the same milestones in life. But are these moments still special if everyone experiences them? Yes, of course!

The fact that everyone reaches the same junctures in life is, in itself, a reason to celebrate. Children have a sense of belonging when they reach a milestone; they are part of something bigger than themselves and even their families. They have seen others reach these points in their lives and they find comfort and a sense of pride as they follow the same path. Think of it as the “we’re all in this together” mindset.

Acknowledging important moments also encourages goal-setting, and rewards hard work. It makes the journey worth the trouble.

But not all special moments are created equal. Some significant occasions are large and some are small. When we are very young, we learn to walk and read. Around first grade, we lose our first tooth.

Soon come major rites of passage—Communion and our first personal Bible. Even mastering multiplication tables and graduating from elementary school are exciting landmarks!

Then before we know it comes the arrival of teenage years, followed by sweet (debatable) 16, getting a driver’s license, and high school graduation. Reaching ages 18, 20, and 21 is significant as well—ask any 18, 20, or 21-year-old. And college graduation is far from the last milestone; it’s just the beginning.

Not every occasion needs a trip to Disney World or a party. Photos and videos are great for smaller milestones, like “standing on the porch” for the first day of school or visits from the tooth fairy. A father taking his children camping when they reach age 13, or a mother making her child a scrapbook to commemorate middle school, are creative ideas to remember those bigger moments.

For a child, reaching the next age is a big deal—it’s an accomplishment. This is why most people acknowledge birthdays. Celebrating a rite of passage is important, but remember to be consistent: what is done for the first child should be repeated for the rest. Pace yourself!

Watching a child grow and reach various milestones can be emotional for parents. Remember, these moments mean progress and progress is good. Milestones are a time to pause. They’re a time to reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re going. They are a time to start over, set goals, and make positive changes in life. So, don’t forget to pause.