Saturday: You Are Here for a Reason

This post is the eighth in a series of eight concerning Deepak Chopra’s Seven Spiritual Laws for Parents. For the original post and summary, click here.

Saturday is a day of Dharma. The message today is, “You are here for a reason.”

This day is really neat. It’s the day we look at our own unique talents and find ways that we can use them to make the world a better place. Neko and I had a conversation about her talents and why she might be here – we agree that one of her gifts is a love for animals.

In the future, there are so many fun things we could do on Saturdays. One thing that I would really like to do is to volunteer on that day.

Here are my ideas:

a) list your unique talents – it’s fun to sit down with your child and talk about your unique talents. They might point out a talent of yours that you wouldn’t have identified, and vice versa. How could these talents or gifts benefit others?

b) volunteer your time or efforts – this is especially great if you’re using your talents, but if one of your talents is being personable, or attention to detail, or something else that is applicable in a variety of situations, that leaves you with tons of options for volunteering opportunities!

c) think of ways you changed the world today – this is a nice “lying in bed at the end of the day conversation. Can you think of someone to whom you made a difference today?

d) learn about a famous person who had a purpose in life – read a short biography of someone who had real purpose in their life – Louis Pasteur? Martin Luther King? Mother Teresa?

e) spend time doing something you feel you have a talent for – by practicing what we love, we can enter a state of flow. This is similar to meditation, and is good for the body and soul.

f) tell your child ways they have improved your life today

g) tell your child the story of when they were conceived/born/adopted/came into your life – a big part of your child’s life story and purpose is where they came from and how. Reminisce about these memories with your child.

Movie ideas: Surf’s Up, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Happy Feet, Kung Fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon, The Muppets

Book ideas: Oliver Button is a Sissy (Tomie dePaola), Augustine (Melanie Watt), Class Clown (Robert Munsch), The Happiness Tree (Andrea Alban Gosline), One (Katheryn Otoshi)

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Monday: If You Want to Get Something, Give It

This post is the third in a series of eight concerning Deepak Chopra’s Seven Spiritual Laws for Parents. For the original post and summary, click here.

Monday is a day of giving. The message for today is, “If you want to get something, give it.”

First thing Monday morning, Neko and I had a conversation about this. “If you want others to share, or be nice to you, a good thing to do is share and be nice to them,” I told her. An apt lesson, as she was headed to Mairead’s house for the day, and the two of them don’t have the most stellar record for sharing and getting along. In fact, they know exactly how to push one another’s buttons, and do so on a regular basis. Neko was taking an avocado pit (“dinosaur egg”) to their house and was plotting how she would keep it away from Mairead, so we talked about how if she expects Mairead to share her things, Neko should give Mairead a chance with the “dinosaur egg,” as a start.

We also planned, together, to give out lots of compliments during the day. At the end of the day, we would share with one another the compliments we had given.

In the future, we will also talk a lot about being grateful for the things we have, and how, by being grateful for what we have, it can seem like enough, and we can also have more of what we need come to us almost magically.

It was a really great day, and I definitely had lots to be thankful for. In the morning, before I left for work and to drop Neko off (Justan was working downtown today and took the bus), Neko and I did yoga, I fed the hens (and gave them some whey from our cheesemaking to drink), I made coffee and a double-egg and avocado sandwich, and we had time to spare. Neko had a great day at the bookstore and playing outside, and I was thankful to have an extra staff member to help me during my shift, and good friends who stopped by for hugs in celebration of Chinese New Year – and they brought me lunch, including Pocky and fortune cookies!

I have lots of ideas of things we could do on Mondays in the future…

a) compliment each other and strangers – but remember, it’s important that the compliments are sincere!

b) practice random acts of kindness – all sorts of fun possibilities here! I won’t list them, as there are tons of ideas out there, and I’m sure you can think of your own. Look, there’s a whole website about it!

c) free hug day – I have been wanting to do this with kids for some time. A conversation would need to happen beforehand about only hugging if you are comfortable with it and you and the other person consent, but I think it could be really awesome!

d) talk about the things you’re thankful for at dinner – this is a really simple tradition that can, of course, be incorporated at dinner every day.

e) make a gift – whether there is a birthday or gift-giving holiday coming up or not, this is a great day to think of people you know who might like a gift, or to whom you’d like to give a gift. There are lots of amazing ideas for easy, handmade gifts on Pinterest!

f) send a love letter – for kids who can write (or younger ones who can dictate to an adult), writing a love letter to a best friend, grandparent or anyone else they love is a great exercise in expressing feelings and gratitude. While you’re at it, write one out yourself – maybe even to yourself! Or perhaps a spouse or parent hasn’t been told lately just how much they mean to you. Who benefits more in this exercise – the sender or the receiver?

g) hold the door for people – going out today? Take the opportunity to hold the door for anyone you can.

h) write a story about something you’re thankful for – when I was a kid, I loved making books; and now Neko does too. Take some regular, white, 8×10 paper and cut in half width-wise. Stack these new half-sheets together, fold in half and staple in the middle. Now fill with a lovely gratitude story, and be sure to include lots of drawings!

i) give each other back rubs – giving, and gratitude together! Plus – backrubs!

j) give to charity – this will have extra impact if your child or children choose the charity, and what to give. Something more palpable and less abstract than money, like toys, clothes, and so on, are easier for kids to understand.

k) talk about the Golden Rule – I remember learning this as a child: “Do unto others as you would have done unto you,” or “Treat others the way you would like to be treated.” It is absolutely, number one, the best life rule I have ever learned, and it’s easy for kids to understand (especially once they develop empathy around age seven)!

l) have a mini Thanksgiving dinner – if you celebrate Thanksgiving, how about preparing something similar to what you would serve on that day, only on a smaller scale? This may bring more of a focus to the idea of giving thanks. Be sure to talk about all the things for which you have to be thankful as you eat!

m) take someone flowers – pick some flowers from your garden, or wildflowers (just be careful picking wildflowers! Choose something safe like dandelions or a flower that grows with abandon in your area, and not anything that is threatened or rare), or buy some locally grown flowers in-season from your local farmers market, and take them to a friend. A simple way to brighten someone’s day (including yours)!

I didn’t come up with many ideas for books or movies for today, but as always, I welcome more!

Book ideas: Ribbon Rescue (Robert Munsch), Socks for Supper (Jack Kent)

Movie ideas: One Magic Christmas

Dressember Day #4: The Ugly Dress

I’ve had this dress for years. It’s actually my favourite. It’s also incredibly odd and people either a) make fun of me or b) refuse to be seen in public with me when I wear it.

First of all, it’s grey and a very fine corduroy. It had a dropped waist with pleats. It ties in the back. It’s knee length. It has about 30 tiny buttons up the front, an odd collar, and puffy, elbow length, cuffed sleeves.

So, I wore it to volunteer at a homeless shelter. Because I knew the people there would be nice to me and not judge me and guess what? They were. Five different people complimented me. It was lovely.