THIS WEEK, we’re welcoming best-selling physician Dr. Meg Meeker to talk about “reclaiming our passion, purose and sanity” in families, as she puts it in the subtitle of her new book. ReadTheSpirit has a major commitment to publishing news of great resources on religion, spirituality and values for all generations of our families. TODAY, we’re sharing just a sampling of these great ideas, enough to fill a week!
FAMILY IDEA 1: GO FLY A KITE; SEND YOUR DREAMS SOARING
Singer-songwriter Fran McKendree wrote about this terrific idea he used in a recent retreat for church youth workers. Fran describes how he invites adults to paint symbols of their lives in various sectors of the kite frabric, then everyone runs out into the springtime countryside sending their dreams aloft.
FAMILY IDEA 2: ‘SAVE THE TIGER?’
Do you know kids who can’t get enough information about nature? Candlewick brings us an enticing new book about endangered species—and a few success stories as well. “Can We Save the Tiger?” is the latest large-format picture book by the creative team that earlier brought us “Ape.” Our story shows the striking cover image and describes this unusual picture book.
FAMILY IDEA 3: STORY NIGHT
In many families, there’s a storytime every night! If you haven’t made time for this practice with your children, that may be because you haven’t discovered the right fuel for the storytime fire. In September, we devoted an entire week to great books for kids—and really for the entire family, if you dive into this delightful practice of reading together. Here’s the first story about a new pop-up book exploring the world of Wiliam Shakespeare. Then, follow the links in the upper left corner of those pages and you’ll find many more stories, including “Bedtime for Bear,” “It Wood Be Fun” and “Atlas of Global Conservation.”
FAMILY IDEA 4: Enjoy Harry Potter or the Chronicles of Narnia
These tried and true ideas have sparking imaginative fun in millions of families. When the latest Potter and Narnia movies were released, we devoted a week of coverage to the spiritual themes in Harry Potter novels and films. The Christian themes in C.S. Lewis’ novels are more obvious, but many readers don’t know about the wealth of Lewis-themed books that are newly available. We published an interview with two men who are responsible for creative new C.S. Lewis books.
FAMILY IDEA 5: ENJOY A MOVIE
Stay tuned to ReadTheSpirit for tips on especially good family viewing. Our story on Disney’s “Secretariat” drew lots of readers.
FAMILY IDEA 6: ENGAGE WITH OUR FURRY FRIENDS
Nature is a recurring theme at ReadTheSpirit—and an important everyday expression of our love for nature can be found in millions of furry friends. Our animal companions are an essential part of family fun in many households. We spent an entire week recommending the best books about pets, related to our spiritual lives, including stories on: “Conversations with My Old Dog,” a beloved memoir that invites readers into the final years of a pet’s life with humor and heart; four books that zero in on our religious connections with our animal friends, including a guide to pet blessings; and “Friends We Keep,” a manifesto about ‘Unleashing Christianity’s Compassion for Animals.”
FAMILY IDEA 7: LEARN MORE ABOUT THE YOUNG AND OLD AMONG US
“Family ideas” aren’t just about kids! In increasing numbers, Americans live in blended households. Many adults care for both young and old in their families. ReadTheSpirit recommends two of the most important voices in understanding faith-and-family challenges at both ends of the age spectrum. Our provocative interview with Dr. Kenda Creasy Dean, author of “Almost Christian,” tells readers a lot about teenagers who are drifting from religious roots. At the other end of the spectrum, there’s no one quite like Amy Hanson, author of “Baby Boomers and Beyond: Tapping the Ministry Talents and Passions of Adults over 50.”
We welcome your feedback and recommendations! Got a great family resource we should consider?
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(Originally published at readthespirit.com, an online journal covering religion and cultural diversity.)