Here is my second part of highlights from the book, Parenting with Spirit by Jane Bartlett. I jump all over with the ideas I liked and wanted to take note of, so bare with me & take what you want, with the understanding that there is so much more contained in the rest of her book. This is just a glimpse of goodness!!
“Our creative dreams and yearnings come from a divine source. As we move toward our dreams, we move toward our divinity.” -Julia Cameron, Artist’s Way
Taken from the book Parenting with Spirit by Jane Bartlett:
Encourage your children to take a short moment of calm before they begin their creative pursuit. This may take the form of a little prayer or simple breathing exercise.
Invite your children to draw a picture or play a piece of music as part of their nighttime prayer ritual. [I think this would be a good daytime prayer activity as well] They could draw a picture of those things that they want to say thank you to God for, or a picture of those who are in special need of God’s love right now. They could choose to play a piece of music tat sums up the spirit of the day.
Use your children’s creative work when you hold family rituals. If you are celebrating spring, this is the time to get your children to paint daffodils or whirl around the hours to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. [I have a picture my daughter drew right now on my fridge that is a piece in ‘perspective’–I look at it and remember to always keep things in ‘perspective’]–
Place your children’s creative achievements somewhere special.This lets your children know that their art is worthy of this very special place in the home, and helps them make the connection between their creative life and worship.
Encourage your children to express their feelings about nature. When you go to the park or out into the countryside, take art materials with you so your children can express their experience of nature through images or words.
[I have been drawn to Andy Goldsworthy’s art lately—he has such a way of using rocks, colorful leaves, space, twigs, etc to create amazing pieces of art from nature. You could take your kids out and collect items to create your own natural creation]
When your children’s artwork becomes explicitly sacred in this way, be extra mindful about the ways in which you respond to it. Treat it with care and reverence, for it has emerged from a very tender part of their being–their soul. By letting them witness that their soul creations are worthy of your complete, loving attention, you are conveying to your children the powerful message that they matter very much.
Glorify God in your BODY: The physical fitness, suppleness, and energy are all God’s gifts to children, and as spiritual parents we must provide ample opportunity for them to enjoy what they have been given.
Yoga: Children’s yoga teachers say that the practice, as well as being good for fitness and health (it’s particularly helpful for asthma), sharpens a child’s ability to focus and helps to develop self-discipline–both essential for the spiritual path. The meditative aspects of yoga enable children to become aware that they have an internal life, “which really helps children get to know themselves.”
Family Walks: Walking in nature is one of the most popular ways in which to relax and feel connected to creation; it is something that we naturally seem to want to do to calm and renew ourselves.
[I can chime in on the importance of family walks: we have a beautiful, natural path near our home and when anyone in our family is stressed or in need of any kind of relaxation–the path is the cure. It is easy to get lost in the leaves swaying, the bird songs, the way the light plays, etc. There is a healing that nature holds & our soul connection finds peace abundant.]
Silly games to play with your children before they grow up: toe game “this little piggy went to the market”, Splash tag: an outdoor game in which the person who is ‘it” tries to catch others by hitting them with a wet sponge, make crazy hats to wear to dinner, jump waves at the beach, paint crazy faces on each other or do shaving cream beards, blow up balloons and keep them all going up in the air, balance a ball on your finger, etc.
Vacations: When we go away we have the opportunity to experience life differently. From a spiritual perspective, think of your family vacations no as an escape but as an arriving. If you have been living in a flat and meaningless way, this may be the antidote that you all need. Don’t just take your bodies on vacation; take your family soul too.
Practice Loving Family Discipline:
In it’s origins “discipline” comes from the Latin word for “instruction,” and a “disciple” is a student under the leadership of a teacher. For me, child discipline is more about training than punishment; used wisely it is guidance to ensure that childen become the best human beings they can be. [I LOVED this!! I thought this made such great sense—you don’t need to use harsh punishment—loving guidance]
Quiet time: “Let us be silent that we may hear the whispers of the gods,” -Ralph Waldo Emerson This could be parent quiet time and also family quiet time. Spritual practice for Parents: Sneak a minute of silence into your life as part of your daily routine. If you look for it, sixty seconds of quiet can be found in the most unlikely places. You might find it at your desk before you start work. Or it could be while waiting for a saucepan to boil, or in the car after you have dropped off all the kids.
[in our home quiet time can be a half hour of reading or just listening to quiet music, turning off the television, the electronics and just being still for awhile. Slowing down, having moments of quiet is so necessary to find any space of calm or spirit].
She has so much more including the importance of cutting down on tv time, pets, the importance of nature, community, big questions, manners, and so much more. If you have liked the information that I have shared in the past two posts–I would suggest buying her book and helping it nourish every part of the necessary needs of your family.
Have an amazing day. Thank you so much for taking the time to invest in this little blog. It means so much. Thank you.