(I know, I know – “fun” and “spiritual values” don’t usually go together, but just keep reading!)
This year I have created a Family Challenge Bag. It is a great tool to use at any time, but it is particularly appropriate for times of intensive reflection, such as Lent, Ramadan, or the Bahá’í Fast.
It is often difficult to explain spiritual concepts to young children, so as the Bahá’í Fast approaches I was looking for a concrete way to help Monkey understand this special period.
The Bahá’í Fast is a time for individuals to refocus and recharge, as they turn inwards and work on building their relationship to God. The actual fasting is only required of those fifteen years or older, in good health, and without other significant physical demands, such as manual labor or travel. Yet anyone can participate in the intensive reflection and meditation that characterizes the Fast.
When fasting, it is easy for me to remember to pause and reflect. After all, my stomach always reminds me that it is the Fast! Plus I have a surprising amount of extra time when I am not eating or preparing food during the day that I can use for extra prayer or meditation.
As a nursing mother, however, I will not be fasting this year, and obviously Monkey won’t be either, so I wanted something to help us remember to focus on reflection and service.
Thus was born the Family Challenge Bag! The idea is simple: each morning during the Fast we will pick one card out of the bag. (I used a jewelry bag, but any drawstring bag will work). On the card will be written our challenge for the day, such as saying a prayer for someone, working on ways to say “please” and “thank you,” or choosing a book or toy to donate to charity.
You can download our Family Challenge Cards and use as is or edit the document to suit your own family. Older children, for example, could take on more complex challenges, and a family celebrating Lent might incorporate activities involving their church.
The Family Challenge Bag is a concrete tool to help young children especially to focus on spiritual values during special times of reflection and service to others.
How do you help your children (and yourself!) focus on spiritual values?