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Your Family Strengths: Spirituality

Strong families share a belief in something greater than themselves. They agree about what is right and wrong and what is really important to them. These shared values give families purpose and help them unite on goals. Spirituality is thus a powerful source of strength for these families.

Different families define spirituality in different ways. Some emphasize faith in God and membership in an organized religion. Others focus on faith in humanity, moral behavior, and unity with all living things. Others mention practices such as prayer, meditation, and scripture study. Still others refer to conquering faults and developing virtues like honesty, integrity, and kindness. Whatever a family's specific beliefs, their spiritual values provide them with direction and unity.

Activities that foster spirituality include the following:

Inspiration Lane. Enrich your spirituality by taking evening walks in the park, around the lake, or any other natural setting you find comforting and inspiring. Plan an occasional hike in the mountains and take time to admire the beauties of nature. Spend time gazing into the star-filled sky at night and marvel at the wonder of the universe.

Bridle Your Anger. Anger experts say that anger develops more often in the family than in any other human relationship. While anger may be viewed as a normal emotion, it is potentially dangerous. List and discuss ways to effectively bridle anger, such as counting slowly to ten, deep breathing, splashing cold water on your face, taking a walk, chopping wood, listening to music, and other approaches that have a calming influence. Challenge family members to use one or more of these techniques the next time they get angry.

Character Quest. Someone has said that spirituality is a victory over ourselves. Identify a weakness you have (like worrying too much or losing your temper). Plan how you will overcome it. Also, identify one of your strengths (honesty, compassion, etc.) and make a conscious effort to grow in this area.

A Worthy Cause. Visit with community organizations and neighbors and find out how you can be most helpful to them. Then volunteer your time, talents, muscle, and money to assist those in need. For example, as a family, you might volunteer to take food to the homeless or to shut-ins.

Design a Family Coat of Arms. What do you stand for as a family? Use a coat of arms, divided into several sections, to display you family values. Put the coat of arms on T-shirts or display it in a prominent place in your home. One family's coat of arms listed the values of honesty, uprightness, and fairness as major themes.

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