Activities for Month Three
The following activities are options for you to implement as works best for your family throughout the entire month. None are very demanding, but each one requires of us our full presence of mind and heart. You are invited to be creative with the activities: find your own way to make it work for the children with whom you participating. Invite each other to add to the activities in ways that add to their meaning and beauty.
Here’s a list of the activities for the month.
Find descriptions below.
Gandhi Searches for Truth, Reading and Discussion (for whole family)
Search for a Nonviolent Future, Reading and Discussion (for older teens and adults)
Wisdom Tradition Passage
Write about one way that you hope to see your family grow in the next five years. Write about how you feel called to be of service to that deepening bond.
Take time to think about “cooperation.” Who taught it to you? How did your definition of it change throughout your life? How might your children understand it?
Read this blog about “Six Things My Kids are Allowed to Say to Adults.” Note any thoughts you have about it. Do you agree with the blogger? Do you disagree? Why?
This could take place around your nonviolence altar. Or in a space that you create intentionally to hold this meeting. Begin the meeting with something beautiful. Maybe a short song or a poem or an inspiring quote. Allow time for quiet reflection. Then, invite each other into the discussion.
Suggested topic for this month: Safety with other children and with adults. Take time to talk with your family about having boundaries with grown-ups and what to do if grown-ups ask them–or force them– to do something that is harmful, scary, or makes them feel generally unsafe.
Here is one resource from ChildMind, “10 Ways to Teach Your Child the Skills to Prevent Sexual Abuse” (For younger children, however, this can also be reviewed and discussed with older children, to ask them how they might apply similar concepts to their life as a teenager)
N.B. There are no right or wrong answers. The goal of this exercise is to be honest with each other, to try to go a little deeper with each other as a group, and to share from our hearts.
The family meeting can also serve as a space to work out problems in a collaborative way (not parents vs. children).
Reading and Discussion with Children:
Gandhi Searches for Truth can help grown-ups and children have important conversations about ideas related to nonviolence. It’s most effective when we take our time with the content. Each chapter is divided into a quote, a story, and a nonviolence principle. The quote is intended largely for the older child/adult reader, but feel free to read and then explain, in your own words, to the children with whom you are working.
You may want to make a copy of the chapter’s illustration (or have the child/children draw it themselves) as well as take the Gandhi quote, and write it out on a piece of paper, decorate it, make it beautiful, and add these to your nonviolence altar for the month. When the month is over, you can choose to leave them on the altar, or create a book where you post your journey together, something to look back upon.
We’re on Chapter Three now. As previously explained, read it on your own first. Take time to consider how you would put the quote and the content of the chapter into your own words. Depending on the age of the child, you may be called on to simply show the picture, read it through, and then explain in your own words. That’s OK. If the child is able to engage with the material (and I believe, if you are patient and creative, that this is possible as early as three years), ask them to put what they heard into their own words too. Ask the child to “read” it to you–to teach YOU about Mahatma Gandhi when he was a little boy.
Before starting into Chapter Three, review with the children some of the main ideas from the first two chapters.
Chapter Three’s focus is the cooperation and non-cooperation. You may want to review the terms in the glossary in the back of the book.
Questions that might accompany this chapter and help us to dig deeper into the concepts of nonviolence are: What is cooperation? What is non-cooperation? How is cooperation different from coercion? Can we non-cooperate with someone and still love them? Can we think of a time when we knew it was right to non-cooperate with injustice (or what was not fair to someone)? Cooperation does not mean cooperating with a person as much as it does with cooperating with what our hearts tell us. Can you think of a time when you saw something unfair and your heart helped you?
Reading and Discussion for Adults
Read Chapter Three of Search for a Nonviolent Future. Over the whole month. Take your time. In your journal, take notes on key ideas that strike you, or key passages that move/inspire you, as well as any questions you may have. Talk about these ideas with the other adult working with you on this program, and/or write them into the Metta Center.
Try mealtimes without media playing in the background this month.
Take time to think together about who helped and worked to bring the food to our plates this month.
Wisdom Tradition Passage
Gandhi wanted children to have a “reverential study of the world’s religions.” Choose a passage from the book God Makes the Rivers to Flow, and read it together. Wishing those who practice that faith the courage to use nonviolence; and the courage for everyone regardless of faith or religion to live together in harmony with respect, dignity, and equal rights.
Activity in Nature
Look for examples of cooperation in nature this month together. Are there any examples of non-cooperation in nature? Look closely together to find it.
Don’t forget to share with us how the activities are going and any questions you have.