Editor’s note: Family traditions for the new year are often focused on a meal or football. We felt it was time for a change! In a brainstorming session, our team came up with this beautiful idea to gather the family together to listen to each member’s goals and dreams. Everyone writes his or her hopes on plantable seed paper, so the family can plant it together and literally cultivate a new future.
We asked one of our favorite contributors; Charise Rohm Nulsen to try it with her newly expanded family. Here’s how it went….
As the holidays approach, I find myself thinking about the new traditions I want to begin with my family. Especially now that our family is complete with our two-year-old son and baby girl, I’ve focused on creating traditions that are simple, meaningful, and reflective of our values, which includes doing our best to be a green and natural family.
Making resolutions to celebrate the New Year is difficult for little ones to grasp. So this year, we’re trying something new: We will
- Write our plans and dreams for our family
- Plant these resolutions on seed paper
- Watch them grow
- Tend to them throughout the year
I can’t think of a more beautiful way for children to learn the concept of fulfilling a promise to yourself, as well the lesson that beauty often blooms in response to a commitment to both nature and one’s self.
Talk About What Matters to Your Family
To prepare for this activity, my son (age 2) and I talked about things that make us happy. He gave several responses that included cars and trucks, Dada, and our cat, Kaia. I drew some symbols to represent these things that brought him happiness, and we discussed how important it is to take care of the people and things that make us happy while he colored the symbols and added his own drawings to the paper.
Write Your Dreams, Plans, and Resolutions on Seed Paper
After that, I wrote my New Years resolution down on a separate piece of seed paper, and we used a small pink heart made of seed paper to represent my baby girl’s sweet and loving self.
My son and I discussed how we had recently planted “baby grass” in our yard and remembered how Mama had to water it every day. We recounted how at first we couldn’t see any grass at all, but after taking care of it for a while, we witnessed the baby grass growing into strong and tall green grass.
Plant the Seed Paper
I compared the grass growing process to our resolutions. We talked about how it can be a lot of work to take care of something and how amazing it is to see things grow. Although my son may not have understood everything completely, I couldn’t help but think about how this conversation would change and mature each year, and how I’m sure I would always look back on this first conversation with loving nostalgia.
I can’t wait until our seed paper blooms into beautiful flowers, and I especially cannot wait to see my son’s reactions as he learns to grow and care for this small portion of our natural world. I love the idea of paralleling our own actions with that of nature’s and pairing our own life cycles with the world’s smallest beauties as a teaching tool for our children.
It’s such a wonderful way to pass down environmental values, encourage compassion for all living things, and connect our choices to the world at large. Nature is a powerful parenting guide, and I hope our nature based New Years tradition brings us continuous inspiration each year.
Latest posts by Charise Nulsen (see all)
- Cultivating Family Traditions for the New Year - December 27, 2012
- How Does Attachment Parenting Foster Independence? - March 30, 2012