The Birthday Month Project


Blowing out the candles on Daddy's birthday cake.
Birthdays are important.
On Friday, the first day of this month, my daughter woke with an excited smile and said, “Guess what today is Mom?”

My first thought was “the day you get a hacking cold from walking around in the rain last night in a princess costume?” But what I said was, “I don’t know. Friday?”

“Noooo. It’s the first day of my birthday month.”

“Your birthday month? You are going to celebrate your birthday for an entire month?”

“Yep.”

Not everybody would have the gumption to declare their birthday month so unequivocally, but she may have a point. After all there will be a party with friends on one day, a party with the in-town extended family at another time, special treats at school on the actual day of, a private celebration with Mom and Dad, and gifts to open from out-of-town extended family at yet other times. So yes, her birthday celebrations have tended to involve the better part of a month.

I’m not completely certain that celebrating the arrival of a person on this earth for an entire month is a bad thing. I want her to grow up confident and certain that she is a worthwhile human being—worthy of being celebrated. But I also want her to grow up gracious and grateful for all of the many blessings she enjoys. For that reason, part of her birthday month will involve writing genuine, heart-felt thank you notes to the people who have cared enough about her to join in the celebration. I think that I will ask something more from her too.

I think part of her birthday month this year will involve a new tradition—choosing a way to give. Whether she looks in her piggy bank and gives some money to a food pantry or donates a once-favorite toy to a local charity, I will ask her to make giving to others a part of her birthday month.

Most people derive a great deal of self-worth from being able to help others. My daughter is no exception; she simply beams with delight when she helps me do something and I praise and thank her for her help. Most children are eager helpers. She is old enough now to realize that she can contribute beyond our family and our house hold, that there are things she can do for society at large from donating food items and school supplies to local collections to collecting money or laundering hats and coats that no longer fit her so that someone else can wear them.

What better way to really feel good about the fact that you are in this world than to use your birthday month to reach out and help someone else?

I’m glad my daughter reminded me about her birthday month. I’m really excited about the possibility it holds, and I can’t wait to see what she does to celebrate it. Come to think of it, I’m kind of getting excited about my birthday month too.

When is your birthday month? What do you have planned?

©Michele Arduengo All rights reserved.

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