Editor’s note: In a brainstorming session about family traditions for the new year, 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 contributors to try it with her newly expanded family.
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 children, 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 can be difficult for little ones to grasp. And most adults have negative associations with unmet New Year’s resolutions in the past.
To help make them a bit more tangible and positive, we’re trying something new. If you’d like to do the same with your family, here’s the quick version. Then see below for more details.
- Find a comfortable spot inside or outside and talk about your plans and dreams for your family
- Write these goals or resolutions on seed paper
- Plant them and place the pot in a sunny area of the home where you spend a lot of time
- Tend to them throughout the year and watch them bud, bloom, and grow
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 and I talked about things that make us happy. He gave several responses that included cars and trucks, daddy, his little sister, and our cat. We drew some symbols to represent these things that brought him happiness. 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.
Another fun way to teach your child to focus what they want in the new year is to read this guided meditation script: Visualizing the New Year together.
Write Your Dreams and Goals on Seed Paper
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
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.
Tend to Your Plans (and Plants!)
All year long, we’ll tend to our flowers that represent our plans. 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 gratitude and 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.