Pete and I did something new for our school year-end celebration this year. The 2014 school year starts tomorrow, so we made up some official-looking 2013 diplomas, educational goals and achievements lists, and some personal academic achievement awards from the Headmaster of Hebron Heights Academy to present to the girls. Over a rare treat of a dinner out, we were able to bless each of the girls for the progress they’ve made this year and bless them for the year to come. Their little eyes were beaming with pride and joy as we handed them their very well-deserved papers. I realized anew that if we take them seriously and treat them like the young people they are growing to be with gifts and abilities that should be encouraged, there is every reason to expect that they will take themselves seriously and continue to give their best. Our children absolutely thrive when we give them accolades and words of praise especially when those words come from their daddy, who is a larger-than-life hero in their eyes. I think this was a tremendous gift to me as well, to see what I’ve accomplished and allow myself to have a moment to sit back, take a deep breath, and soak it all in. There is so much we have to learn, but we’ve also learned a lot and most importantly, the girls are really LOVING to learn. My work for this past year is finished. With mint-mocha shakes we salute the new year and plow forward into tomorrow.