Feb 262013

Family Challenge Bags - Alldonemonkey.comLooking for a fun way to come together as a family to focus on spiritual values?

(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.Family Challenge Bags - Alldonemonkey.com

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?

This post has been shared at Natural Mothers Network’s Seasonal Celebration,Made in a Day’s Made U Look Linky, Bowdabra’s Crafty Showcase, and The Sunday Parenting Party.

  16 Responses to “Family Challenge Bags”

  1. What a great idea! My daughter has so many questions about the Fast that I know we’ll be having many discussions about it over the next few weeks! Thanks for a great idea to make it more concrete for children!

  2. This is such a wonderful idea!

  3. This is such a great idea. Thanks for sharing and making the questions downloadable!

  4. Love this! Just printed off the challenges for us. Thank you! This is particularly wonderful to me because I feel like we’ve been so busy and crazy around here getting ready to move that Ayyam-i-Ha hasn’t been as special as I usually try to make it. Extending the special activities through the Fast with the kids will be a wonderful way of keeping the spirit going for them until Naw Ruz. Yay!

  5. Love this idea! I think we all need ways to bring us closer and appreciate the little things- Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Mandy @ The Hankful House

  6. Thanks for linking this up in our crafty showcase. What a super idea!

    Susie @Bowdabra

  7. […] proud to be a part of such an amazing endeavor with this essay on when I first participated in the Bahá’í Fast as a teenager.  Be prepared for some teenage melodrama mixed in with a touch of […]

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