Woman and female toddler (21-24 months) lying on rug with book, looking at each other
Updated: September 11, 2012 10:34AM
As we settle into a new routine — back to school, back to work, back to the daily grind — the onset of autumn transforms into the perfect setting to welcome spirituality into your family’s home life.
Through tradition, ritual and a spark of creativity, you can keep your family close to an inner life filled with your values, no matter what your religious beliefs are. (Note: these ideas are not meant to take the place of religious materials your family may use, rather they are adjunct.)
† Read together. Choose books new to your family that speak of values important to you. Make the stories fun to read and listen to. Ask questions as you go: “What would you do in this situation?” “Do you think it is fair how this character is treating the other?”
† Alternate books with DVDs or other media that is interactive (a family friendly website or computer game that portray your values). Talk about your values and how they relate to the activity.
† Research spiritual topics as a family. Gather suitable material to back up your viewpoint from online or hands-on sources, such as newspapers and magazines. Here are some themes to get you started: ethical behavior, compassion, happiness, charity. After discussing the material, ask each family member to put the topic into their own words. How would they practice it in their daily lives? Using the topic of compassion as an example, what would your child do if they saw another child with no one to play with at recess?
† Give each family member a packet of materials to get creative with: paper, scissors, crayons, markers, glitter, glue or whatever else strikes your fancy. Gather at the dining table and spread out a plastic tablecloth. Ask each family member to create a space of joy, calm and peace on the paper using the materials assembled. What special items would be in that space? Once completed, explain that they can look at their picture to recall feelings of joy and calm whenever they need to.
† Plan a family vacation together. Choose a destination that will add to your family’s spiritual life; perhaps a volunteer vacation allowing the family to help those less fortunate. Volunteering is a very satisfying way to spend family time and will bring your family closer together. Tip: Check with the coordinating agency to see if there are age requirements for volunteers. Not all volunteer opportunities welcome young children.
† Warm up to the prospect of a volunteer vacation by starting with a local agency that welcomes your family.
† Build an “altar” filled with objects your family finds inspiring: rocks gathered from a family hike; a photo of a happy celebration; a note written by a child to a parent. The possibilities are literally endless. The purpose of the “altar” is to bring good memories to family members.
Gannett News Service