Here are a few fun exercises that everyone can participate in. As you do these as a family, look for ways to underscore to your children your values and beliefs; this will help them on the path to becoming the kind of fine adults you want them to be.
Pick a night once a week and share some inspirational readings with your family. Read from text that is different than what your children may already be getting in their own religious or spiritual classes. A children’s librarian either at your church, etc. or your neighborhood public library should be able to guide you to age appropriate reading that will hold your children’s interest. Don’t stick to one theme; for instance, alternate reading about how to behave one week with material about compassion the next and humanity the week after that.
n Give each family member a piece of drawing paper and some crayons, markers, pencils, etc. Then each draw a place that brings peace and calm to them, a place where there is joy, not stress. What elements are in this special place that can be borrowed from your own home? Flowers? Nice lighting? Pretty music? Put aside a time for the following weekend when the family can gather and create these sanctuaries of calm around the house.
n If you have a writer in the family, ask this person to write about what a family sanctuary for peace and calm means to the family. These words can be read aloud with each family member taking turns.
n Plan a family vacation around a spiritual theme. For instance, if compassion is an attribute you would like your children to pursue, plan a vacation to a destination where your family can spend some of their time helping others in need. Volunteer vacations have become quite popular in the last few years; it’s a great combination of family time and showing your children what it means to be compassionate. Check outwww.idealist.org/kt/familyvolunteer.html
Talk to the leader of your spiritual community about arranging a night to practice some of these exercises with other families or the youth group.
Doreen Nagle welcomes your parenting tips and concerns at