Oct 122017
 

5 million people are throwing a party, and you’re invited! Here’s why the Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah matters to you – even if you’ve never heard of the Bahá’í Faith before. (There is a children’s book giveaway at the bottom, so be sure to scroll all the way down!)

Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha'u'llah: Why It Matters | Alldonemonkey.com

Friends, this is a very different post than you have read here before, but I decided I needed to share with you something straight from my heart.

The world is in travail, and its agitation waxeth day by day….

– Baha’u’llah

These days I’m afraid to turn on the news when I wake up. It seems like every day there is a fresh tragedy – another shooting, another natural disaster, another day when I’m feeling heartsick to see more people suffering.

What’s worse is that our own disunity and lack of coordinated vision prevent us from truly helping those in need.

Some days, I look at my own beautiful children and wonder about the world they are going to inherit. Sure, we can do our cute unity crafts and learn about peace and love, but sometimes there feels like a disconnect between that Kumbayah world I’m teaching them about and the one I see on the news.

And it’s not just me. Social media is full of friends in despair – people bitter, disheartened, and finding it difficult to muster the energy to wage another battle for justice or to raise the standard yet again for common decency and understanding.

Yet what if I were to tell you that a Prisoner who lived half a world away and more than a century ago foretold our sufferings and laid out a formula to heal humanity’s wounds and bind it together again as one human family?

Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch. Deal ye one with another with the utmost love and harmony, with friendliness and fellowship… So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth.

In a matter of days, Bahá’ís around the world will celebrate the Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith. But wait, you might be saying, what does this have to do with me? 

He Who is your Lord, the All-Merciful, cherisheth in His heart the desire of beholding the entire human race as one soul and one body.

The Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah

The Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah is not so much one event as a series of activities that have been happening in local communities around the globe for the past several months, all culminating in big celebrations in every city and town marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of a spiritual Teacher whose Writings have spread around the world, inspiring and transforming families and communities in virtually every country on the globe.

The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established.

Yet His words are not mere platitudes. Baha’u’llah – who spent 40 years of His life in imprisoment and exile because of His teachings – laid out a practical plan to bring about structural change in our society and create a framework for global governance that recognizes:

– the importance of both spiritual and material development

– the equality of men and women

– the underlying unity of the beautifully diverse human family

– the common spiritual foundation of all the major world religions

– the essential harmony of science and religion

– the centrality of justice to all endeavors

– the importance of education

– the need for the abolition of all forms of prejudice

And it’s already working.

More than 5 million Baha’is around the world have been putting His teachings into practice for more than a century, slowly building up institutions on the local, national, and international level that use consultation as a form of decision-making, that put the unity and well-being of the group ahead of individual egos, and that seek to carry forward “an ever-advancing civilization.”

Related Post: Resources to Teach Children about the Bahá’í Faith

A group studying the spiritual empowerment of junior youth at the Baha'i centre in Montero, Bolivia. Copyright © Bahá'í International Community

A group studying the spiritual empowerment of junior youth at the Bahá’í center in Montero, Bolivia. (Had to share this one because this is the community where I lived and worked 20 years ago!) Copyright © Bahá’í International Community

Bahá’ís live in virtually every country on the globe and reside in well over 100,000 localities. Bahá’ís come from all walks of life, and members come from roughly 2,100 indigenous tribes, races, and ethnic groups. 188 national councils oversee the work of the Bahá’í communities, and more than 300 formal programs of Bahá’í education can be found around the world.

Students from Banani School (standing), a Bahá'í-inspired school in Chisamba, Zambia teach students at a nearby elementry school as part of a service project. Copyright © Bahá'í International Community

Students from Banani School (standing), a Bahá’í-inspired school in Chisamba, Zambia teach students at a nearby elementry school as part of a service project. Copyright © Bahá’í International Community

Bahá’ís are at the forefront of social and economic development, with several thousand projects worldwide, more than 900 of which are large-scale, sustained projects, including more than 600 schools and over 70 development agencies. Bahá’í writings and other literature have been translated into more than 800 languages.

Women learning about agriculture at the Barli Development Institute for Rural Women in Indore, India. Copyright © Bahá'í International Community

Women learning about agriculture at the Barli Development Institute for Rural Women in Indore, India. Copyright © Bahá’í International Community

So whether you are a despairing mother wondering about the world her children will grow up in, a grassroots activist looking for a model to create unity of action, or a leader wanting to inspire real change, you can find inspiration and hope in the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh and the example of the Bahá’í community.

Baha'i Faith Light of Unity Festival: Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha'u'llah

Join the Bahá’ís this month as we celebrate 200 years since the birth of Bahá’u’lláh. Celebrations are being held in communities around the globe and you are invited. For those in Sacramento, you can find out about our local celebration, or search in your own area for the celebration nearest you.

You can also see how communities around the world are celebrating with their children and download these beautiful coloring pages!

All quotations above are excerpts from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh

Life of Bahá’u’lláh Children’s Book Giveaway

To commemorate the Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, I am also thrilled to be giving away TWO COPIES of a brand new children’s book about the life of Bahá’u’lláh! In the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you that the author is a good friend (and hero!) of mine, and that I helped edit the book – however, I am being sincere when I tell you this is a fabulous book and a must have if you would like to teach your children about the life of Bahá’u’lláh!

The Life of Baha'u'llah | Delighted Hearts

I have been reading an advance copy with my 7 year old, and it’s really engaged him and sparked great conversations. He especially loves the family tree and full color maps. As his teacher, I really love the timeline and glossary as well. Until this point, I really hadn’t found a book for older children that gives such an in-depth view of Bahá’u’lláh’s life. I love that I can pick up this one book and know it will cover all of the major events of His life, all within the context of their spiritual and historical significance.

Written in honor of the Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, this 72 page book intends to share with children the story of His majestic life, through the exploration of spiritual concepts and the stages and milestones of the life of Bahá’u’lláh.

While children of all ages will enjoy the gorgeous full color illustrations, the 30 stories included in this book are aimed principally at ages 8-12.

You can find it on Etsy and Amazon (affiliate link).

We are giving away two copies of The Life of Bahá’u’lláh by Melissa López Chaperoo. One copy is available for US winners, while the other is available to ship worldwide! Enter to win by simply commenting below: Tell us 1) What gives you hope, 2) What country you live in.

Giveaway goes through midnight PT on Tuesday, October 17, 2017. Winners shown by random selection.

Nov 242014
 
 November 24, 2014  Parenting and Faith 1 Response »

Spiritual education is a keystone of how I am raising my sons, and I am always inspired to hear how other parents are working to raise their children along a spiritual path. In the series Parenting and Faith I feature posts from bloggers discussing how their religion or philosophy influences their parenting. I am so pleased to share a post today from Anna of Russian Step By Step for Children, about baptism in the Russian Orthodox Church.

Baptism in the Russian Orthodox Church {Parenting and Faith} | Russian Step By Step for Children on Alldonemonkey.com

Baptism (Крещение) is an Old Russian tradition. It comes from Jesus Christ being baptized by John the Baptism in the waters of the river Jordan.

In Russia this tradition is what adds you to Church (воцерковление) and you can be baptized at any age, although most Russian Orthodox families will baptize their children young or even as soon as possible.

The water element is always present and babies are put into the water while with adults water will just be used without them going all the way in the water.

Baptizing is considered one of the most important religious events in the life of a person and you have to carefully prepare for it.

During the Soviet times religion was prosecuted so those who stayed with the church would have a clandestine baptism. The baptized could not wear their crosses. Nevertheless a lot of families kept the religious traditions alive and only in the late 80-ties the tradition of Baptism started to be accepted by the government again.

Russian Orthodox religion is the dominant one in the modern Russia.

Russian Orthodox (41%)

Muslim (6.5%)

Unaffiliated Christian (4.1%)

Other Orthodox (1.5%)

Neopagan and Tengrist (1.2%)

Tibetan Buddhist (0.5%)

Other religions (1.7%)

Spiritual but not religious (25%)

Atheist and non-religious (13%)

Undecided (5.5%)

Many churches that were demolished or used for other purposes during the Soviet times are now restored or rebuilt. One of the famous churches that were rebuilt is the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. It was demolished during the soviet times and an outdoor pool was built in its place. In 2000 it was reopened in the same place.

http://www.pravmir.ru/tainstvo-kreshheniya/

http://www.pravmir.ru/tainstvo-kreshheniya/

What is Baptism in Russian Orthodox Church?

Choosing a Name

First the parents decide on the Church name for the child. Usually it is linked to a Saint whose day is near the Birth day of the child and who shares the name. That will be the child’s guardian saint.

Godparents

Then a godmother and a godfather are selected. As it is a big role there is a lot to take into consideration when choosing them. The godparents take the responsibility of leading the child in the spiritual and church life, showing what is right to do in life, teach to be hard-working, being able to behave properly, love others, be kind, etc. Godparents bear the responsibility for part of the godchild’s actions. Godparents have to be of Russian Orthodox faith. If you cannot find both a Godmother and a Godfather you have to have a Godmother for a girl and a Godfather for the boy.

The Ceremony

This is the brief description of the actual ceremony. It lasts about 40-60 minutes.

The ceremony starts in the doors of the church with the Godparent holding the child while the priest says prayers over them. Then the Godparent reads a special prayer called “I Believe” (Верую). Then the child is stripped out of the clothes and gets anointed with special oil and is put into the water, the cross is put on the child’s neck, then the Godparent with the child follows the priest around the basin with water and then in the final part the priest carries boys into the altar or girls in front of it and finally gives the child back to the Mother (or Father) after the parent does a big bow  (they touch their head to the ground).

Then the priest will add the child’s name into the church book alongside the parents’ information.

The Clothes

Before the baptism the child usually wears an all-white outfit, after the child is put into the water he/she is accepted by the godparent into a clean usually new white towel, and then the child wears a special white gown with a cross on it for the rest of the ceremony. If several children get baptized in the family it is traditional to keep the same gown and baptize all the children in it. The child would now wear the cross on a daily basis. Usually you can have two or more crosses, one for daily wear and others that are more decorative for special occasions.

After the Ceremony

After the ceremony is done at the church, a meal is traditionally hosted by the family to celebrate the event.

The next step is to do the First Communion. Usually you want to do it as soon as possible after the Baptism. Usually the child will start going to church once a week and will have communion every week. After the age of 12 the child needs to start doing confessions before being able to do communion.

The New Old

Nowadays people who were baptized in secret themselves and usually do not have any memories of it want their children to have a big open baptism ceremony that is celebrated with relatives and friends of the family.

Old traditions are rediscovered and reintroduced into the lives of the Russian people and Baptism is one of the traditions that became quite popular among the Russian Orthodox population all over the world.

Anna WattAnna Watt is originally from Russia and majored in Education and Linguistics there.  She lived in France where she received her Master’s Degree in International and Interactive Communication.  Anna speaks fluent Russian, English and French and also knows some Spanish, German, Japanese and Italian.  Anna loves education, languages and technology, so she is always involved in all three.  Anna has always been involved in supporting and promoting the study of the Russian language, as well as introducing Russia’s language and culture to a variety of people world-wide.   As a mother of young girls (she is raising them Russian-English bilingual) her recent projects are books and a blog Russian Step By Step for Children geared towards kids living outside a Russian-speaking country.

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Parenting and Faith on Alldonemonkey.com

In the series Parenting and Faith bloggers share how faith influences their parenting. You can find all the posts in this series on the main page as well as the Parenting and Faith Pinterest board.

Sep 222014
 
 September 22, 2014  Parenting and Faith 3 Responses »

Spiritual education is a keystone of how I am raising my sons, and I am always inspired to hear how other parents are working to raise their children along a spiritual path. In the series Parenting and Faith I feature posts from bloggers discussing how their religion or philosophy influences their parenting. I am so pleased to share a post today from Anna of In The Playroom, about what Islam teaches about parenting.

What Islam Teaches about Parenting {Parenting and Faith}

Thanks to Leanna for inviting me to take part in her parenting and faith series. I’ll be sharing some of what Islam teaches about parenting and how we implement this in our day to day family life.

Hi! I’m Anna from In The Playroom where I share simple ideas for kids activities including sensory play and crafts, and Fa firroo ila-allah where I share a inspirational Islamic quotes from quran, hadith and Islamic history. First of all, let me introduce the family. We have 3 boys aged 6, 4 and 3, and then there is me and their dad. I became Muslim at 13 years old, coming from a non practising Catholic family background and their dad, my husband, is from a Sri Lankan Muslim family. We got married at 18 (me) and 19 (him) years old and had the boys a few years later.

I had always wanted to have children, and to focus my energy and time on their upbringing. Islam tells that the effort we put into caring for our families and nurturing our children is an act of worship when we do this with the intention of pleasing Allah (God). Worship is not just praying or reading Quran (although I would not diminish the importance of those acts) but worship can also be teaching our children right from wrong, cooking good food to keep our children healthy and well and letting them know to thank Allah for providing our food and giving us our bodies and our health. Worship can be found in all the little moments of motherhood for a Muslim mum.

Many places in Quran we hear of Prophets hoping and asking Allah for offspring, like the well known verses of Zakariya (peace be upon him) in Surah Maryam, or when Ibrahim (peace be upon him) called out:

رب هب لي من الصالحين
Oh my Lord, grant me a righteous son! (37:100)

The value of children is so priceless, and they are so precious. I’m very grateful to have the opportunity to raise these beautiful and innocent souls.

What Islam Teaches about Parenting {Parenting and Faith} | Alldonemonkey.com

I’ve never allowed anyone to make me feel belittled in the role of a stay at home mum. I’ve always felt that this is the right choice for our family, and although I now work from home I’m still present all the time if the children need me. My children are still young, but as they grow older there will still be challenges, and they remain in need of guidance throughout each and every stage of their childhood.

Islam has given us guidance on how to bring up children, with many hadiths (sayings of the Prophet peace be upon him) emphasising gentleness towards children. With so many confusing messages in today’s society, I feel it’s so important to give them a strong feeling of belonging within the family. Spending time with family should be fun, we need to build trust and openness with our kids so that they can come to us with their questions and problems. I never want my kids to be scared to come and ask for help and advice from me, or from their dad.

One of my favourite hadiths about gentleness is:
عَلَيْكِ بِالرِّفْقِ فَإِنَّ الرِّفْقَ لَا يَكُونُ فِي شَيْءٍ إِلَّا زَانَهُ وَلَا يُنْزَعُ مِنْ شَيْءٍ إِلَّا شَانَهُ

You must be gentle. Verily, gentleness is not in anything except that it beautifies it, and it is not removed from anything except that it disgraces it.
Source: Musnad Ahmad 24417, Grade: Sahih

This hadith is often cited as a reminder of how we should treat children, and these beautiful words have a lot of value. In fact our youngest son’s name comes from this hadith (Rafiq, which means gentle).

My ultimate aim in raising my children is to raise good, honest and kind individuals who love and respect Allah (God) and who leave a positive impact, whether big or small, on those they meet. I want them to be happy, and I want them to be good people. I’m pretty sure these aims are universal in many parents no matter what the religion or nationality. We are all striving to do the best for our kids, and I take inspiration from so many parents, both Muslim and non Muslim.

Anna - In the PlayroomAnna is a London-based stay at home mum to three boys.  Her blog In The Playroom is a parenting and lifestyle blog, about playing, learning, and life with young children, including special needs.  She shares kids crafts and activities which are simple and easy for any parent to do with the supplies you probably already have in your home.  Anna’s site Fa firroo ila-allah showcases inspirational Islamic quotes from quran, hadith and Islamic history.

 

 

 

Parenting and Faith on Alldonemonkey.com

In the series Parenting and Faith bloggers share how faith influences their parenting. You can find all the posts in this series on the main page as well as the Parenting and Faith Pinterest board.

Jul 282014
 

Listening to God’s Will as a Parent by Rebecca Reid {Parenting and Faith} | Alldonemonkey.com

Spiritual education is a keystone of how I am raising my sons, and I am always inspired to hear how other parents are working to raise their children along a spiritual path. In the series Parenting and Faith I feature posts from bloggers discussing how their religion or philosophy influences their parenting. I am so pleased to share today’s post on listening to God’s Will as a parent, from Rebecca Reid of Line upon Line Learning.

When Leanna asked how our faith influences our parenting, I could not help but recognize that my own understanding of my role as a mother came as a direct result of my faith.

I am not naturally a patient person. When my son entered the difficult toddler age, I found myself at my wits end most days. My husband frequently traveled, and my son stopped napping, so I felt there was never a respite from motherhood!

I could not wait for him to go off to school so I would not be frustrated all day long.

But my perspective changed when he was four. This was when I was guided in a completely different direction as a mother. I let myself listen to God’s will.

When we realized that Raisin would miss the cutoff for Kindergarten and yet he already showed reading readiness, I found myself thinking frequently, I should homeschool him.

Despite my husband’s agreement with this idea, time and again, I discounted it. How on earth could I do that?! I am not a patient person. I am not good at keeping him around me all the time: how could I keep calm with him always underfoot!

In the Doctrine and Covenants (one of the standard works of scripture for those of my faith), the Lord clarified how He would help us know what to do:

I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart. (section 8:2)

I took a little encouraging over the course of many months. I studied out the reasons in my mind. But mostly I let the Spirit settle on my heart. I turned my selfishness into a desire to do what God wanted me to do.

Finally, I knew, in both my mind and heart, that this was my calling: for whatever reason, my son needed me to be his teacher. I needed to keep him home and teach him.

We’ve finished two full years and are planning the third. Some of my worries have come true. I do not get many days child-free. I am still not a patient person. And homeschooling is a lot of work! It would be easier to send my son to second grade this year than to plan and carry out homeschooling for him for 180 days with a toddler underfoot.

Homeschooling support groups, co-ops, and gym classes have eased the pressure and given me confidence. Most importantly, I have the promise from God that because I’ve done what He asked me to do, it will be okay, even when I don’t understand it.

In Isaiah 55:8, the Lord asks Isaiah to listen to his words. He explains:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

In subsequent verses the Lord adds the following promises:

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. (emphasis added)

I do not always understand why I was called to homeschool and others of my faith and situation have not been. I will be the first to tell you that not everyone needs to homeschool. Certainly, not everyone wants to! (Trust me, I was one of them!)

And yet, by keeping my son home with me, I have felt the joy and peace as promised in Isaiah.

My kids and I are close. Raisin is learning more than he would be in a school situation. We get extra time to discuss religious and moral issues and read scriptures together. My kids get additional playtime together compared to what they would get if Raisin were in public schools.

Most importantly, I have learned to be more patient. I have learned how my son learns. I have learned to balance my responsibilities. I have become more involved as a mother.

My faith has grown.

I understand now, more than ever before, that my role as a mother is the most important one I will ever have. Although homeschooling was not originally in my plans, God’s ways have proven to be better than I could have imagined.

 

Rebecca ReidRebecca Reid is a stay-at-home homeschooling mom to two (ages 6 and 2). She blogs about their education journey and shares educational printables, games, and ideas at Line upon Line Learning.

 

 

 

 

Parenting and Faith on Alldonemonkey.com

In the series Parenting and Faith bloggers share how faith influences their parenting. You can find all the posts in this series on the main page as well as the Parenting and Faith Pinterest board.

Jul 022014
 

Spiritual education is a keystone of how I am raising my sons, and I am always inspired to hear how other parents are working to raise their children along a spiritual path. In the series Parenting and Faith I feature posts from bloggers discussing how their religion or philosophy influences their parenting. I am so pleased to share today’s post on finding a church, from Carrie of Crafty Moms Share, a fellow member of Multicultural Kid Blogs.

 

When I first got married I had not been active in a church for about ten years. When I was in graduate school I had been active with a church due to a friend wanting help running the youth groups. Unfortunately the distance to the church eventually was too much for me to deal with while working full time (and my friend had moved out of state). I did not find a church I liked locally in any of the three towns I lived in while teaching. My Catholic husband and I got married by a non-denominational minister in the lobby of the place our reception was. I did not have a local church and I was not Catholic and we did not want to wait the year that it would take to be married in the Catholic Church. 

Finding a Church to Find God: Crafty Moms Share {Parenting and Faith} - Alldonemonkey.com
Our Wedding

 Now that I was married, finding a good church was important to me. Before we were engaged I told my now husband that I wanted to bring up children in my church/religion. He agreed as long as it was a Christian church. We began visiting the congregational churches in my town. One was not the same affiliation as I had grown up in and always been a member of, but it was a very active church with many groups and activities. When we visited people would say hi to us, but that was about it. (I always took my husband church shopping with me.) The other church was the same affiliation (United Church of Christ) as I knew and I loved it, however there were hardly any children in it. I knew I wanted a church I felt comfortable bringing my future children up in, so this was not the best choice. At this point I was thinking I would have to go with the other one even though it was not my favorite. Then one day we were driving through the next town over (we actually live very close to the town line) on our way to get ice cream at a local farm and noticed another congregational church with the United Church of Christ affiliation in the center of town. The center of this town is the same distance as the center of our town is to our house. We decided to visit it.  One Sunday in February we did and I loved it. I felt right at home. We continued going and eventually I started going on my own. Steve occasionally goes to mass and occasionally comes to services with me, but for the most part is just trying to recover from his work week and have time with us. 

Finding a Church to Find God: Crafty Moms Share {Parenting and Faith} - Alldonemonkey.com
Baptism



Five years ago my daughter was born. At the time I was a deacon at my church. My daughter was seen as the church’s child. I have never seen anyone get more gifts at church than my daughter. We had gifts left with our baby stuff when she was baptized. During the baptism the minister asked anyone in our family to stand up and someone made a mistake and the entire congregation stood up following that one person’s lead. After the baptism I was told they really meant it–the entire church is our family. In many ways this is true for us. Church friends are the ones who come to Hazel’s birthday parties along with our parents and my sister who lives somewhat close. My extended family is too far to come for most of these events. I also got my babysitters from church. I know the families and know the teenagers well and of course Hazel knows them as well. 

Finding a Church to Find God: Crafty Moms Share {Parenting and Faith} - Alldonemonkey.com
Bible Presentation



We go to church just about every week. At church Hazel interacts with people of every generation. As a toddler she found it to be overwhelming since everyone would come up and talk to her. Now she is more adjusted to it. She has played catch with one of the older members of the church by throwing her Ducky (her lovey) to him and he would throw it back during the fellowship time after church. One of her best friends is a three-year-old at church. She loves to play with him and he looks up to her like an older sibling. Now Hazel is old enough to go to Sunday School and she loves to go and hear the Bible stories and make a craft. She also loves the Bible she received from the church. We read a story from it just about every night.


Finding a Church to Find God: Crafty Moms Share {Parenting and Faith} - Alldonemonkey.com
Hazel’s Story Bible

I am no longer a deacon, but am now on Parish Council as the chairperson of Stewardship Ministries. I am also a member of the Christian Education Ministries and last year was the Christian Education Director’s Assistant/Substitute since she had to have surgery and could not move around easily. Hazel hates me having to go to meetings at night, but I remind her they are for church and therefore for God. She still complains, but understands a bit why I go. She also seems proud to tell someone about what I do at church or am in charge of at church. 


This past year we decided to switch the school we were sending Hazel to due to some issues at the first school. We chose to switch her to a Christian school. We all love it! She now has even more a sense of God and our own values and really seems to enjoy it.

 

Throughout my journey thus far of trying to teach my daughter about God, my beliefs and values, I have discovered that I have grown closer to God and stronger in my own beliefs. It always amazes me how a parent learns so much through the experience with the child. I also know the lessons are sinking in because sometimes Hazel will say something about God or Jesus liking what we are doing when I don’t even think of a religious connection at all. Overall I know this is a wonderful thing. We are teaching her to be a caring and compassionate human being as most religions do and let’s face it, the world needs more compassionate people. I know our church and Hazel’s school give her examples of being a good Christian and thus a good person every day.

Crafty Moms ShareCarrie is a former high school math teacher with diversity training and helped advise many diversity clubs at the schools she taught. Now she is a stay-at-home mother of an almost five-year-old and very active with her church. She writes about her life with her daughter and the fun things they do at Crafty Moms Share. You can also find her on Pinterest and Google +.

 

 

 

 

 

Parenting and Faith on Alldonemonkey.com

In the series Parenting and Faith bloggers share how faith influences their parenting. You can find all the posts in this series on the main page as well as the Parenting and Faith Pinterest board.

May 262014
 
 May 26, 2014  Parenting and Faith Comments Off on 10 Ways Faith Influences My Parenting: Trilingual Mama {Parenting and Faith}

Spiritual education is a keystone of how I am raising my sons, and I am always inspired to hear how other parents are working to raise their children along a spiritual path. In the series Parenting and Faith I feature posts from bloggers discussing how their religion or philosophy influences their parenting. I am so pleased to share today’s post, which comes to us from Maria of Trilingual Mama, a fellow member of Multicultural Kid Blogs.

As part of her Faith in Parenting series, Leanna has asked me to share 10 ways my faith influences my parenting. This was not a difficult task as I feel that our family culture is intricately woven with our faith. Our family life is shaped and colored by our rich cultural backgrounds: American, Mexican, Peruvian, French, but also by our spiritual convictions. And so here I’ve listed 10 ways in no particular order, just as they came to my mind. I tried not to overthink or even edit this post too much. I wanted it to reflect an authentic picture of my view as a parent.

1. My life is a gift, my life has a plan. I believe that my life is a precious and sacred gift from a loving Heavenly Father who is literally the father of my spirit and that He has a special plan for my life. I also believe this to be true about each and every human being born to this earth, especially my children. This gives my life purpose and meaning as an individual and as a mother.

2. We are spiritual beings having an earthly experience. I believe that this life is preparatory for another life to come and that all that we learn and do in this life is to prepare for a potential eternity of joy. The choices we make will determine who we become and the degree of our eternal happiness. I know that I’m not just to help my children succeed in this life, but to prepare them for the life to come.

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3. Intelligence is the glory of God. I believe that all the intelligence we can acquire in this life will be for our good in the life to come. I try to encourage in my children curiosity and a love for reading and learning. My husband and I try to encourage our children to discover and develop their talents.

4. Family is at the center of God’s plan for us. We are all part of a family unit. Whether we are parents, children, siblings or grand-parents, we are all linked together in some way. I believe that family is the divine institution that God gave us where we are to learn and love, even as we make mistakes. I believe that family is the basic unit of society and that strengthening one family, strengthens all of that society.

10 Ways Faith Influences My Parenting: Parenting and Faith on All Done Monkey

5. Kindness always. I believe that we have a Savior Jesus Christ who came to this earth as Heavenly Father’s only begotten son. He lived a perfect life filled with love and forgiveness. He suffered and died to pay for our sins and sorrows. And He resurrected so that one day we might too. The unifying thread through all of these acts was the perfect kindness that He has for all of us. This is my golden rule for my family. I believe that a family that lives with kindness will do much to chase out contention, broken marriages and broken families. Kindness always.

6. Repentance. I believe that through the Savior Jesus Christ we truly can repent and be forgiven of all our mistakes, the big ones and the small ones too. When I make mistakes as a parent, which is bound to happen every day, I can repent. I can be sorry and ask for forgiveness and start again fresh and new. Every day is a new start. No matter what kind of a parent I am at this very moment, tomorrow I can try to be a little better.

10 Ways Faith Influences My Parenting: Parenting and Faith on All Done Monkey

7. A family that prays together stays together. In our Church families are counseled to do three basic things together: pray and study the scriptures daily and hold weekly family home evenings. We have been made powerful promises if we will be faithful to this counsel. Our children, although they may stray at some point in their lives, will undoubtedly return to the straight and narrow path and we will be united together as a family forever.

8. Families are eternal. As I’ve mentioned before, I believe that the family unit is eternal. We have temples that are sacred buildings where families are sealed together for time and all eternity. If we are faithful to the covenants that we make in these temples, our families will be ours forever.

10 Ways Faith Influences My Parenting: Parenting and Faith on All Done Monkey

9. Men are that they might have joy. We believe that the purpose of our existence is to experience great joy and an abundant life. As parents we seek to provide this for our children. We work hard to provide not only the basic necessities, but also to give our children opportunities to develop their talents, to take memory building family vacations together, to take time from the normal routines of life to enjoy nature and have fun together…

10. Work is a blessing. Our children sometimes have a hard time swallowing this one, but we try to teach them that hard work helps us to be stronger individuals and to achieve worthy goals. We also try to teach them that families work together to help their homes run smoothly and so all our children have chores and are expected to help around the house on a daily basis.

This list is just the beginning! There are so many other ways that my faith positively influences me as a parent. How about you? Can you identify with any of these ways? Or do very different things influence you as a parent? I’d love to know!

Maria is an active member of the LDS faith. She is the author of Trilingual Mama and her work has been featured on Spanglish Baby and What to Expect. She loves taco and pizza night and spending time outdoors with her family in the green valley south of Paris where they currently reside. She and her husband Samuel are the proud parents of four trilingual children.

Parenting and Faith on Alldonemonkey.com

In the series Parenting and Faith bloggers share how faith influences their parenting. You can find all the posts in this series on the main page as well as the Parenting and Faith Pinterest board.

Apr 282014
 
 April 28, 2014  Parenting and Faith Comments Off on Finding a Spiritual Home in France: American Mom in Bordeaux {Parenting and Faith}

Spiritual education is a keystone of how I am raising my sons, and I am always inspired to hear how other parents are working to raise their children along a spiritual path. In the series Parenting and Faith I feature posts from bloggers discussing how their religion or philosophy influences their parenting. I am so pleased to share today’s post, which comes to us from Jennifer of American Mom in Bordeaux, a fellow member of Multicultural Kid Blogs.

Finding a Spiritual Home in France

 

This post is piece for the Parenting & Faith Series at All Done Monkey blog.  When I signed up months ago, it sounded easy but as I am writing this post now, it’s more difficult and complicated that I thought it would be.  Religion and faith are very personal topics and everyone has their own opinion of what is right for them and what religion means. I feel our experiences as children (how we were raised by our own parents) often molds our own views – positive and negative – about religion.  In addition, our spouse or partner adds another layer, and then, as parents, we choose how to spiritually raise our children.  For this post, I’m going to share how we are choosing to raise our girls in France.  

I am a pretty spiritual person. I believe in God (whomever he or she is) – my faith has evolved over time.  I was raised Presbyterian, going to church fairly regularly as a child.  I attended Sunday school, youth group and participated in community outreach programs helping others less fortunate.  My husband, who is French, was raised Catholic but did not regularly attend church and currently chooses to be more spiritual than religious.  When we chose to get married, the clergy in the church I had grown up in had changed and I was not feeling connected to the philosophy of the newer minister.  My husband also didn’t feel comfortable being married in this church.  So we opted for a third option/a compromise of sorts.  We had been attending a Methodist church together and enjoyed the style and philosophy of this particular church – so we were married there.  We took a bit of a break from organized churches in the first few years of our marriage but then when we were pregnant with our first daughter – I started to realize how important being part of a church family was for me.  However, I didn’t want to be preached at, I didn’t want a really formal church that was rigid in views – I knew some Protestant churches were like that.  

We learned of a Congregational Church in our town which had open, liberal views on religion.  We started attending and fell in love with this church’s openness, flexibility and welcoming of members from all religious backgrounds.   All three of our girls were baptised there.  They attended church school and we went to church “somewhat” regularly.  They were all still young when we moved to France – but they did have a sense of a community of faith and of helping others. We do miss our church community there.

Moving to France provided its own challenges with continuing to practice our religion. France is predominantly a Catholic country.  There are Protestant churches around along with places of faith for other religions but they are much fewer.  Initially, I was a bit overwhelmed by the daunting task of finding a church and also knowing that it would probably be French speaking.  As luck would have it, I learned that there was an English-speaking Anglican Church located right here in Bordeaux.  Not exactly our denomination of faith, but at least it was Protestant and I figured we would give it a try.  
 
It felt nice to be part of a church community again – nice to be welcomed into the fold and very comforting that it was all in English!  Yes, the services are a bit more formal than I am use to – but the scripture lessons are the same and Sunday school & Youth group also exist along with community outreach for the less fortunate.  For my girls, it was comforting to meet other English-speaking children.  Many families are like us – one parent French and other English-speaking.  Other families are expats looking for an English-speaking place of faith.  As many of us come from different religious backgrounds from our native countries. The minister makes everyone feel welcome.  I like this inclusive and open concept – it feels very similar to our former church in Saratoga Springs.
 
If you are counting the number of different churches I have attended – including going to Catholic mass a few times with my husband – we are presently up to 5. All have helped shape my own faith and further the faith of my children.  Another piece that is very interesting to me with living in France is that its history, many traditions, and holidays still revolve around the Catholic Church – this gives us numerous opportunities to discuss spiritually in general; the differences and similarities between our spiritual practice and that of Catholics.

 

My oldest daughter reading a scripture lesson

 

We often talk about the fact that church is a spiritual place – a place to reflect, a place to meditate and place to critically look at ourselves and learn. A place to remember that we are children of god – we were created by god as a reflection of god.  It’s a place to feel loved, protected and taken care of by god.  It’s an excellent place to learn good morals and use the stories to illustrate these to children.  We are open and accepting and I try to instill in my children that they are free to choose whatever religion they wish when they are older. We have talked about the fact that there are many different religions and beliefs and often it’s about how people were raised, but in the end it’s about choice and choosing a spiritual practice and/or religion that one is comfortable with and believes in.  We have also taught our children about meditation and we have visited a Buddhist temple and the older girls have tried short walking and sitting meditations.  

I don’t have all the answers, I find it difficult to say exactly what religion I am or which I truly practice -I find it hard to label considering my background – so it’s safer to say I’m spiritual.  I seek places of worship for a place to reflect, a place to find a spiritual community and a place to give of oneself.  I personally don’t believe there is only one place to do that – so I instill that in my children.  I hope that they take many of their lessons from church and reflect upon their own lives.  Making good decisions, knowing that god loves them and caring for themselves and others is the kind of spirituality I wish for them.  
 
In summary I hope that by raising them to appreciate others with different backgrounds and understand that there are different places to worship and practice one’s spirituality – that it will help them to be open, caring and accepting citizens of the world.  

If this post speaks to you, I would love to hear from readers about your spiritual journey and how it’s grown or changed as you raise children.

Jennifer - American Mom in BordeauxWe moved to Bordeaux, France from New York State in October 2011. We are all adjusting to the French culture..having fun living, loving & laughing each day! My blog American Mom in Bordeaux is about some of our experiences and observations from the American perspective. I love to learn about what the Bordeaux/Gironde area and the country of France has to offer and to also capture many of our experiences through writing & photography.  I started my blog initially as a way to share our new adventure with family and friends back in the States.  It has grown into a wonderful place for people to read and learn about life as an expat, the process of adjusting to a new culture and how we are raising our bilingual/bicultural children!  Most posts are family oriented but also include my love of traveling, photography and exploring.

Parenting and Faith on Alldonemonkey.com

In the series Parenting and Faith bloggers share how faith influences their parenting. You can find all the posts in this series on the main page as well as the Parenting and Faith Pinterest board.

Feb 242014
 
 February 24, 2014  Parenting and Faith 10 Responses »

Spiritual education is a keystone of how I am raising my sons, and I am always inspired to hear how other parents are working to raise their children along a spiritual path. In the series Parenting and Faith I feature posts from bloggers discussing how their religion or philosophy influences their parenting. I am so pleased to share today’s post, which comes to us from my friend Stephen of Head of the Heard, a fellow member of Multicultural Kid Blogs

Non-Faith, Spirituality, and the Golden Rule: Stephen Greene {Parenting and Faith}

At first glance I shouldn’t be writing anything for this series on faith and parenting because I have no faith. I was brought up a Catholic, but by the age of 16 I had decided that wasn’t for me. I spent a few years investigating other faiths and one of the reasons I started to travel a bit was to look for different ideas. One of the attractions of living in Taiwan for a year was that it was a Buddhist country so I would be able to find out a bit more about that religion.

After a while, though, I stopped searching for a religion that could offer me answers and decided that there probably isn’t a god of any description. If this was true then I had to find some other way of bringing order and meaning to my life.

The fact that I don’t believe in a god does not mean that I am not spiritual. For me, spirituality is all about asking ourselves the big questions and searching for answers. Those questions run along the lines of Why are we here? What are we supposed to do with our time here? Is there any meaning to this life? Where can I get a decent cup of tea?

I have found my own answers through science and philosophy, but I don’t have any claim to being right. I think I am right, but I don’t know I am right. And the search for answers to these questions is ongoing. I need to challenge my ideas all the time by reading, talking to people and observing the world. Ask me in 10 years what I believe and it might be exactly the same as today, or it could be totally different. Anyone who says they know the truth is lying and should not be trusted.

It is this search for my answers and distrust of self appointed authorities that informs my parenting style. I want my son to question everything and everyone. I don’t want him to accept an answer just because I told him it was true. Many parents hate the phase of the constant questions from toddlers; I am learning to love it.

While he is questioning everyone he also needs to learn that other people are also on their own journey of discovery. Some will be happy with the answers they learn as children, some will never find their answers. Whatever their state, he needs to accept that it is the journey that is important and everyone has the right to find their own path without being judged by anyone else. We try to teach that respect of everyone else is key to being a good human.

And then there is one other thing that I learned from looking into different religions and humanism: the Golden Rule. This rule is present in all of the major religions and most of the minor ones as well. It can be found in the writings of Ancient Egypt and Babylon over 4, 000 years ago. The words might be slightly different in each case but the meaning is the same. My personal favourite is that of Confucius from about 500 BCE:

“Do not do to others what you do not want to yourself. You only need this law alone. It is the foundation of all the rest.”

If my son, and everybody’s son and daughter could learn to live by this law alone then we would truly have found paradise on earth, no matter what your religion might be.

 

Head of the HeardStephen Greene is an English language teacher, teacher trainer and materials developer from the UK living in Brazil. He blogs about language teaching at tmenglish.org.  When he is not teaching people the difference between ‘pretend’ and ‘intend’ he also blogs about raising a biliingual family and being an expat dad in Curitiba at Head of the Heard.  You can follow Stephen on twitter @hoftheh or like his Facebook page.

Parenting and Faith on Alldonemonkey.com

In the series Parenting and Faith bloggers share how faith influences their parenting. You can find all the posts in this series on the main page as well as the Parenting and Faith Pinterest board.

Nov 262013
 
 November 26, 2013  family, Parenting and Faith 5 Responses »

Spiritual education is a keystone of how I am raising my sons, and I am always inspired to hear how other parents are working to raise their children along a spiritual path. In the series Parenting and Faith I feature posts from bloggers discussing how their religion or philosophy influences their parenting. I am so pleased to share today’s post, which comes to us from Varya of Creative World of Varya, who is my dear friend and a fellow board member of Multicultural Kid Blogs

“The world beyond is as different from this world as this world is different from that of the child while still in the womb of its mother.” (Bahá’u’lláh)

Talking about Death with Children: Creative World of Varya {Parenting and Faith}

As a Bahá’í, I look at death as a celebration of life. Baha’is believe that life doesn’t end with this physical world, but rather this physical world exists to help us prepare for the next eternal life.

First time our daughter was introduced to the concept of death is when she asked where her cousin’s mommy (my older sister) was and how come she had never met her. Wow, I thought to myself, and here it starts! I had to think fast in order not to give her a false answer, nor to scare her with the concept of death. So… I started with talking about prayerfulness and soul.

The following is almost exact conversation that took place:

– Do remember how every morning and every night we pray?
-Yes
– Do you know why we pray?
– Hmmm. Because we want to feel good and happy?
– Yes, but also we ask God to help us do better every day, to be strong, to protect our families and friends.
– Do we pray to Bahá’u’lláh? Or ‘Abdu’l-Bahá? (Bahá’u’lláh – the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá – His Son, Who took over after His passing. Both revealed prayers for the Bahá’is for various occasions which we read and recite along with quotations from the Writings)
– Well, we do think about Them, because They are with God.
– Can we go and visit Them?
– Not yet, dear. We can only visit them we finish our life here. Some people get very old, older than Baba and Tetti (grandpa and grandma) and then their body goes into some sort of sleep and their soul goes to God. Some people get very very sick, like your aunt, Rita and Sergei’s mommy. They can’t get well because their body is weak. So they also go to sleep and their soul goes to God.
– Mommy, will you also go to God?
– Yes, some day.
– And daddy?
– Yes.
– Can I go with you?
– I can’t tell you. Every one has their time.
– (starts sobbing). But I don’t want you to go and leave me alone!
– (hugging). But you are never alone! You have family, friends, and daddy and I and everyone you love are always with you. Our body may not be here, but we will be around and if you close your eyes you can see us. And also, you can pray for everyone you love every single day. And if they are people who are already with God, they will be so happy. And those who are still here – it will help them become stronger and happier.
– (looking at me) I will pray every day, mommy. Can we pray now?
– Sure.
– (hugging) Mommy, I will take care of you when you are old and I will always live with you.  (melted my heart!)

So, we said prayers. And we hugged. And… she went on about her business. Now when she hears about someone dying or see someone dying in a cartoon she always tells that this someone went to God and Bahá’u’lláh.

After this conversation I haven’t really noticed any difference in her behaviour, so I thought that perhaps she accepted it. She was 4+ years old at the time.

I don’t know how religious you are and what you believe in. Having faith in God and life after death helps us cope with death concept in general. Visiting cemetery where your loved ones’ bodies are put to rest or even people’s whom you don’t know, saying prayers for departed, enjoying the serenity of the cemetery is also something we do from time to time. When we pray, we often say out loud who we pray for and why. Even if the child doesn’t respond or react, it goes into the subconscious and becomes somewhat of a habit.

I am sure once our children are older we will definitely revisit the whole subject. But for now the explanation we give is very easy for them to understand and cope with.

Do your children ask about life and death? What do you tell them?

Creative World of Varya

 

Varya blogs at Creative World of Varya (formerly known as LittleArtists.Blog.Com) . She is a mom to 2 girls, an early development specialist, a baby massage and perinatal fitness instructor, and a breastfeeding consultant. Varya has been living in China for the past 12 years working and raising her multicultural family.

 

 

Parenting and Faith on Alldonemonkey.com

In the series Parenting and Faith bloggers share how faith influences their parenting. You can find all the posts in this series on the main page as well as the Parenting and Faith Pinterest board.

Oct 282013
 
 October 28, 2013  family, food, Parenting and Faith 1 Response »

Spiritual education is a keystone of how I am raising my sons, and I am always inspired to hear how other parents are working to raise their children along a spiritual path. In the series Parenting and Faith I feature posts from bloggers discussing how their religion or philosophy influences their parenting. I am so pleased to share today’s post, which comes to us from Amanda of MarocMama, a fellow board member of Multicultural Kid Blogs and one of my favorite bloggers. 

Eid al Adha in Morocco

Eid al Adha is one of the biggest celebrations on the Islamic calendar, and I’ve been often told no Eid experience is complete until you can have it in a Muslim country.  I have been Muslim for almost 10 years but it wasn’t until this year that we were able to share Eid with our Moroccan family.

The history of the holiday dates back thousands of years to the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) and his sons Ismai’il (Ishmael) and Ishaq (Issac). God had ordered Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismai’il as a sign of his obedience. The devil attempted to intercede telling Ibrahim to save his son and just as Ibrahim was about to take his son’s life, God replaced the son with a lamb. Eid al Adha is a time when Muslims remember the willingness of Ibrahim and the mercy of God.  In doing this, those who can afford it sacrifice a ram. The meat of the animal is then divided 1/3 for the family, 1/3 for extended family and 1/3 for the poor who couldn’t afford to slaughter an animal.

While we lived in the United States we did celebrate Eid.  We were fortunate that we lived in areas that we could go to a form and perform the slaughter. Our kids have been exposed to the story and understand why we do this. All things being equal I saw a big difference this year between our kids and Moroccan kids who have grown up here celebrating. In the US it’s hard to feel that there is anything special about Islamic holidays because there’s just not that many Muslims to share with. But here, you could tell something was different as the week began.

Eid al Adha in Morocco: MarocMama {Parenting and Faith on Alldonemonkey.com}

This is the entrance to the sheep market.  Shepherds bring in their animals to the cities to  sell them before the holiday.  You might be thinking, so what do you do with a sheep until it’s the day of the holiday?  Well, when you live in a big city the sheep lives with you – yes that’s right – you.  We are fortunate that we have a rooftop and so ours took up residence there. The bleating of sheeps and goats can be heard day and night before the big day.
Eid al Adha in Morocco: MarocMama {Parenting and Faith on Alldonemonkey.com}
The difference between my kids and Moroccan kids really boiled down to their lack of enthusiasm.  Moroccan kids wait for this holiday, it’s a VERY big deal to them. My kids know it’s a holiday, they get off of school, but really killing a sheep is just not that high on their “way awesome” thermometer.  There are cookies and treats, a special breakfast, and maybe a small gift or two given to them but really the big treat here is that your family gets a sheep.

Eid al Adha in Morocco: MarocMama {Parenting and Faith on Alldonemonkey.com}

Breakfast is my favorite part of the day.  There are a lot of Moroccan foods that are only made 1 or 2 times a year.  In our family hrbil is one of them.  This reminds me of a mixture between rice pudding and oatmeal.  It’s barley that’s been cooked in milk and is drizzled with butter and honey.  Music to my mouth!

It’s after breakfast and visiting the mosque for Eid prayers (most women stay home) that the work begins.

Eid al Adha in Morocco: MarocMama {Parenting and Faith on Alldonemonkey.com}

A butcher comes to many homes to help make sure the slaughter is done correctly and to help the family process the animal. Everything, and I really mean everything, from the animal is saved and eaten.  There are trucks that come around to pick up the skins.  These are then taken and cleaned in a tannery and made into leather. The heads – yup they eat that too and they are prepared a special way.  The first day of Eid includes many food items of organs as those will go bad first. Boulfaf, or a specially cooked liver kebab is the first “snack” and highly anticipated. Intestines (cleaned) and other bits of meat are hung out on the line for several days to dry and are then saved to use in flavoring dishes. I really do give them a lot of credit for using everything but there are many parts of our sheep I happily gave away to my in-laws who would certainly enjoy it more than me.

I’m glad that we were able to spend this holiday here.  My kids are learning a completely new side of their culture that would have been totally different if they had only ever celebrated in the US.  With everything, there will always be differences, things I don’t /won’t/can’t understand but I am hopefully that through their experiences they will become more open and accepting – no matter what is thrown at them.

MarocMama

MarocMamaAmanda is curious, world traveling mom of 2 boys. She currently lives in Marrakech, Morocco with her husband and kids. Amanda is the publisher of MarocMama a blog about raising multicultural kids, food, and travel. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

 

 

 

 

Parenting and Faith on Alldonemonkey.comIn the series Parenting and Faith bloggers share how faith influences their parenting.  You can find all the posts in this series on the main page as well as the Parenting and Faith Pinterest board.

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