In an effort to go through life with more mindfulness and as a way to teach my kids to be more introspective and thoughtful about themselves, we have begun a daily family meditation. Not the legs-crossed/eyes-closed/upturned-hands/”Om” type of meditation, but rather the kind where you read short but meaningful passages and discuss them. It only takes about ten minutes per day, but it builds a lot of personal skills in all of us.
How does one go about holding a family meditation? Most devotional-type books are heavily religious. And then there are a variety of wonderful books that teach you how to meditate traditionally, which is great for your mental and physical health. There are even books to help children meditate. But none of those were what we were going for. After much searching, I found Today’s Gift: Daily Meditations for Families. It has 366 meditations, one for each day of the (leap) year. (Since we’re doing this in a non-leap year, we’ll just double up one day.) A few of the days’ passages address religious or spiritual topics, but I will be editing those slightly so as to provide a secular experience, while also teaching the kids about other ways of thinking.
Each day’s page begins with a meaningful quote on a subject, followed by a short couple of paragraphs, and then a question. The days cover subjects such as happiness, letting things go, giving and receiving, fear, creativity, contributions to the world, freedom, and more. We make sure to sit down together, in as close to a circle as we can manage. We leave cell phones and other distractions somewhere else. We all pay attention. Then we listen and talk.
Since our daily schedules are all a bit random, this brief but meaningful time together has already become an important family activity where we’re all present in mind and body. So far the kids have participated somewhat less than we adults have, but I’m sure that with a little bit more practice, they will have more to say. My son has already noticed concepts in his daily life that would make good daily meditations.
Whether your family is struggling with issues or if you are just looking for some quality bonding time, daily meditations are a great solution. It provides a routine where parents can stay in tune with their kids, staying connected and offering teaching opportunities, especially in the teen years where kids might be less interactive.
There are many worthwhile meditation books, but for our goals, Today’s Gift: Daily Meditations for Families has been a very good fit. I recommend it to any individual, partners, or families who want to learn to live life more mindfully. It doesn’t take much time each day, and it helps you reflect on your life.