Our family tradition continues, though I don’t write about it often. We still make time, about twice a month, to home-school our children’s spiritual education. We gather around the dining room table with cocoa and coffee and a weekend breakfast treat (usually scones or caramel rolls). Amid a cacophony of “do we have to” and “it’s my turn to ring the bell,” and “I just can’t sit still like a frog,” I pull out my crate of tools.
- A meditative bell
A candleNo, that will have to wait another year.
- Worry stones, fdigit magnets, and other tiny objects to focus intention
- A book around which to build our lesson.
- Craft supplies for a project to busy our hands while we discuss some big ideas.
- And lately, our family meditation book, Sitting Still Like a Frog.
We return to the table and to the wellspring of big ideas, for many reasons. For one thing, the moment when we all gather together, pajama-clad and groggy from sleeping in after a busy week, is the most restorative, meaningful, bonding act we engage in. Even when some of our younger family members are less than enthusiastic, they can’t resist joining us at the sound of the bell.
This small ceremony of togetherness is a joy each and every time. For another thing, my partner and I love the opportunity to gather our concerns and spiritual questions from the week into a lesson our whole family can explore. For example, last week Joe and I had just returned from a small vacation during which certain social and racial inequities cast a shadow on our vacation indulgences. Our lesson with the kids centered around two wonderful books with two important messages: people share the same joys and sorrows but our differences make us fascinating. In Children of the World, each country is illuminated with a beautiful photograph of one or more children, a child’s drawing, and a poem about that country. We spent time hunting for the similarities and the differences. We marveled at the great range of food, languages, and hobbies across the world, and we noticed the similarities. Soccer, for example, and the fact that each and every poem celebrated the natural wonders of that child’s country. Then we wrote our own poems and drew our own pictures in tribute to a place we love. The process, along with the end result, was fun, fascinating, and beautiful.