Our congregational theme for the month of November is “Change”. How appropriate for us at this time in our church history! Not only are we in search for a new settled minister, we have really been forced to embrace change as we’ve spent the last few years navigating a waxing and waning pandemic. This has meant that we have had to be ready for plans to change at a moment’s notice and to pivot to plan B (or sometimes plan C etc.) It also means that we have had to spend a lot of time out of our comfort zone and learn to be more flexible with each other. How is change showing up in your family? Explore that question with these family friendly activities from Soulful Home!
- How have you changed in the past year? What can you do now that you couldn’t before? And what did you used to do that you now don’t?
- What’s your favorite part of the season that you’re in right now? Are you looking forward to the next change of seasons?
- What part of growing up do you feel happy about? And what part makes you sad?
- What change have you always wanted to make to your own personality? What stops you from trying it?
- When was the moment that you went from feeling like a little kid, to feeling like a big kid?
- What’s something you notice that has changed around your neighborhood lately?
- If you could make one change to your neighborhood, what would it be?
- Can holding onto a grudge or deep anger change you? Can you think of one you might be ready to let go of?
- Who is the most likely in the family to wear a favorite shirt for as long as possible without changing clothes? And who goes through the most outfits in a day?
- How does being a caretaker of animals change you? (This might be a pet, or it might mean simply moving worms off the sidewalk, planting flowers for pollinating insects, etc.)
Changing Dots into Art
Depending on where you live, early November may be the perfect outdoor weather, finally reliably cooled off from summer’s scorch, or you may have had a few good snows already and now make most of your fun indoors. So this month we have two options for turning dots into art.
One is turning a chalk-dot grid into beautiful, beckoning symmetry, inspired by the Indian folk art form, Rangoli.
And the other is a freeform connect-the-dots using the same grid idea, but with markers or paint sticks on big paper.
“Change the view.”
While many of us know the value of “walking a mile in another’s shoes” to gain empathy for the other, and thus, more effectively embody love in action, we seldom mention how liberating this practice can be for us, too. So many of our biases are unconscious. Almost all of our first, knee-jerk responses are old scripts that we’ve inherited or thoughtlessly picked up along the way. How we see things at first glance usually tells more about us than about those we’re observing.
This month’s mantra aims to shed light on a different side of a situation.
Your child neglects to turn off the lights as they leave rooms in your home, and you snap at them. Internally, you: “Change the view.” What can I do to help them remember to turn off lights, so we save electricity? Or I wonder how much electricity is really wasted by their forgetfulness; maybe not that much. Or, they will be with me, in my care, for so short a time; turning off the lights behind them reminds me that this season of me being needed to guide and help them is fleeting.
This mantra works best on one’s self. It’s most often going to be unhelpful if offered as advice, though there might be casual, calm conversations that are reflective in tone in which you might share this technique with a family member, as an option.
Growing and Changing: Sandra Cisneros’ “Eleven”
Sandra Cisneros’ 1991 story, which describes a deeply memorable experience the author had as an elementary school student, became a mainstay in schools across North America throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. However, it has a very different feel when read at home, in the context of one’s family. Use this telling together as an opportunity to talk about the big changes that come with growing up.
Hear the author herself read the story here, and for a text version, here.
Stretching the Story:
- What is something hard about growing up? What is something terrific about it?
- If the main character in the story, Rachel, were your friend, and you saw these events happening, how would you feel? What might you say or do, in the moment or afterward?
- Parents and guardians, tell about a time that you felt your younger self coming up to the surface, as Cisneros did when her teacher forced her to put the sweater on. What did that experience feel like to you at the time? How do you think about it now?