By Brad Morris
As parents and guardians to younger generations growing up in today’s wild world, we have an important responsibility to our kids and the planet to teach, inspire, and encourage our youth to live balanced, connected, healthy, happy lives, which means we need to live it ourselves. I am inspired to support conscious families in creating activated, loving environments for their kids to grow up.
Here are seven effective and easy ways for families to grow, connect, and celebrate life together.
I’m all about creating powerful, long-lasting, fun daily practices that support our lives. After all, we are habitual beings, so what we do everyday is who we become over time.
1. Intention Setting for the Day
Your intentions act as a spearhead for your day. They support you to slice through any challenges that arise and maintain a positive outlook. They also keep you focused and grounded to something, rather than floating through life on autopilot, reacting to every mishap or happening.
Take time in the morning to share your intentions for the day together. Don’t intend to get something or do something, instead intend to BE something. Set simple intentions like: Today I am going to be grateful. I am going to pay attention. I am going to listen. I am going to be strong. I am going to be happy no matter what. At the end of the day, when you eat dinner together, you can ask how each other did and celebrate.
2. Gratitude Time at Every Meal
Before eating, take a few moments to acknowledge the Earth for providing your food, the farmers for growing it, all of the people who had a hand in getting it to you, and the abundance you have in your life to pay for it. Then, go around the table and each share at least one thing you’re grateful for today. A grateful family is a happy one.
3. Practice Breathing Together
Breath is the thing that connects all of us. It is the space between spaces. There is something truly profound that happens when people come together for the purpose of consciously breathing.
Take two minutes, ten breaths, or as long as you want to breathe together in silence. No words are needed. Just take the time to breathe away your day, connect into your hearts, and be together as a family.
The breath is proof of the love that the Earth or God has for us. Every time you consciously breathe, you can relax a little bit, knowing you are loved and supported.
4. Encourage the Sharing of Feelings
Create authentic relationships with your kids. If you’re in a bad mood, angry, or upset and your kid asks you if everything is all right and you say “yes, I’m fine,” you begin to create (and demonstrate) a habit of lying. Kids are more intuitive and tapped into the energy around them than most of us are, so be authentic. Share the truth of how you feel and encourage your children to express their honest thoughts and feelings too. When they do, give them all of your energy and intention by listening.
It took me years to learn how to express my emotions authentically, because it was never taught, demonstrated, or encouraged growing up. Instead, I was fed candy and treats when I felt sad. This created a pattern of emotional eating, which I’m only now healing.
Be authentic and honor truth.
5. Om and Smudge Before Bed
Chant the Universal vibration of “OM” or some other mantra/song that resonates. This powerful vibration is a cleansing force. Before putting your kids to bed, take an opportunity to OM three times, ten times, or as many times as you want. Clear the energy of the day and open a beautiful, peaceful, safe space for your children to fall asleep.
I also encourage smudging the bedroom by burning some sage, sweet grass, palo santo, or incense. Do this as a daily ceremony in gratitude for the gift of another day. With your intention, ask the smoke to cleanse your energy field, thoughts, and the room.
6. Be the Change Your Kids Need to See You Being
Your kids are like sponges, especially up until about age twelve. You are like a god to them, and what they see or feel you do, they will copy. Remember, it’s not what you say to them; it’s more about what you’re doing or energetically putting out that they pick up on.
As a parent, your biggest responsibility to your kids is to be authentic and live with integrity. If you want to help them create healthy, peaceful, successful lives, then you need to do that for yourself. If you want to encourage your kids to go for their dreams, then you have to live yours. The “do as I say, not as I do” way of parenting is not good enough. Learn to have your words and actions align. Your kid is a copycat and will follow in your footsteps, whether leading by positive or negative example.
Be the change and raise yourself how you would dream of raising your children. Oh, and don’t judge who you are or where you are in your parental evolution—that will get you nowhere either.
7. Schedule Daily Family Meditation Time
Children and adults of all ages can benefit from practice of meditation. Meditation has been proven to lower stress, anxiety, and depression and increase creativity, reasoning skills, and patience.
As a family, set a bit of time aside to meditate together everyday. You may find it difficult at first to commit to the practice, but I guarantee this will change all your lives forever (and for the better).
How would you like to support your kids, yourself, and your family? I invite you to share some of your simple spiritual practices that are fun and heart connecting.
Brad Morris, the Dude at Cowabunga Life and creator of the Cowabunga Vision Quest, is committed to the lifelong journey of cultivating a sense of awe for each and everyday precious moment he’s alive. Through speaking, writing, comedy, and leading workshops, Brad strives to create positive ripples in as many lives as possible. To learn more, visit his website or follow him on Facebook or Twitter.
*Photo by Tampa Band Photos.