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Friday, July 15, 2011

5-Minute Courage Workout: Say a Little Prayer for Me

Compiled and written by Lisa and Jennifer:

Here's a list of 5-Minute Courage Workouts by age range to improve spiritual fortitude.

 Grab Some Lion's Whiskers Today!
  • Toddler: Wish upon a star tonight. Find a star with your child and make a wish, and then offer the observation that many other children around the world can see the same star.  Ask your child to imagine what that other child's wish might be.  As your day is ending, another day is beginning halfway around the globe, but toddlers are toddlers everywhere.  The roots of empathy lie in our ability to imagine someone else's experience. 
  • Preschooler: find a book such as Wish: Wishing Traditions Around the World or    Children Just Like Me: A Unique Celebration of Children Around the World  or Wake Up, World!: A Day in the Life of Children Around the World that shows children from all walks of life and every corner of the world engaged in daily and weekly routines that will be familiar to your child.  See how many points of similarity you and your child can find between your family and the families in the book.  Depending on how much information is available about the children in the book, this can open the conversation with your  child to wonder what might be important to that other child, what home life might be like, what holidays they celebrate, what a school day is like, what breakfast might be.
  • Early Elementary:  Do you remember "Roses and Thorns" from our workout on public speaking?  Consider the spiritual dimension of this dinner ritual.  Each person at the table can take turns saying what they were grateful for today, and what was challenging for them.  Introduce the possibility that everything can be part of our personal and spiritual development, and discuss what learning may be inherent in each rose and each thorn.
  • Upper Elementary or Tween: Chances are, by this age your child knows someone who has died.  Take a moment to reflect upon this loss - even if it's only a pet.  This can open the discussion about what may happen to them or you in the event of unexpected death.  Share with your kids what will happen to them if you should die while they're still young.  Consider telling them what your final wishes are, and why.  Your beliefs about death can inform your decisions about these practical matters.   Invite your kids to explore these ideas at their own pace.  Faith, hope and love can be protective mechanisms to help us deal with our core existential fear of our own mortality.
  • Teens: Has your teen experienced faith practices from around the world?  We here at Lion's Whiskers have traveled and lived in many countries, and been exposed to a variety of religious rituals.  Here is a beautiful rendition of the Muslim call to prayer, here is a Buddhist monk chanting, here is a Jewish prayer,  here is a Gospel choir.  Share these with your teens and see where the conversation takes you.  Have they absorbed any negative subliminal or direct messages over the years through movies or on-line gaming that require some examination?  Spiritual courage doesn't just require tolerance, it requires engaging with other religions in meaningful and thoughtful ways.  You may be surprised by how much exposure your teen has had already through school or extracurricular activities, and what you may be able to learn from them.

Working on these skills may call upon different types of courage, not just spiritual.  Review the Six Types of Courage to figure out which types your child might need to complete this workout.

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