Taking It Home
Memory is lodged in pictures and feelings in the cells themselves. Like a sponge filled with water, anywhere the flesh is pressed, wrung, even touched lightly, a memory may flow out in a stream. – Clarissa Pinkola Estes
IN TODAY'S SESSION...
The final session of our Creating Home curriculum explored memories of home and included the opportunity for children to make foil handprints and cinnamon dough ornaments.
Your child has been given a booklet with additional ideas for your family to discuss to extend the Creating Home program in your home. Please look over the booklet with your child. Ask them to tell you about the activities the group did in some of the Creating Home sessions. Discuss together which ideas you would like to try at your family home.
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about…
Earliest memories can feel very distant, even for quite young children. What is the first memory of your home that each family member has? Adults may well remember the first time they saw the family home. Children may have lived their whole lives in this location. Encourage them to think back to when they were very small. Do they remember being in a high chair in the kitchen or dining room? Do they remember being in a play pen in the living or family room? Do they remember being in a crib or switching to a bed in a bedroom? What is the happiest memory each person has of being in your family home? What is the saddest memory?
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Try…
A Family Ritual
You can honor the special place your child (or each of your children) has in your home by sharing the memory of bringing them home for the first time. Just before bed in a darkened room is a good time to tell the story of their birth and/or homecoming. For biological children, share the story of realizing that labor had started, how you prepared for the birth, what the room was like in which the birth took place, and how, if the child was not born at home, you brought them home for the first time. For adopted or foster children, share the story of meeting them for the first time, what the journey to bring them home (local or international) was like, and how you felt bringing your child into the family home for the first time. End the ritual of your storytelling with “Wherever you go in your life, wherever you may live, our family will always be your home.”
A Family Game
In this session the children made cinnamon dough ornaments, and talked about how important the sense of smell is to memory. You can play a game with smells by gathering up (while the other participants aren’t watching) various household items that have distinctive smells, such as vanilla, spices, a peeled orange or lemon, dishwashing soap, a scented marker, perfume or cologne, a pet’s toy, a shoe, or shampoo. See if, with a blindfold on, your child/ren can guess what the items are purely from their scent. Ask what sort of feelings or memories each of the scents calls up.
Wilfrid Gordon MacDonald Partridge, by Mem Fox (Kane/Miller, 1995) is a lovely book about a boy who tries to figure out what a memory is – and how to return memories to his elderly friend.
Kids (and grownups!) can play a matching memory game online, with various kinds of pictures and levels of difficulty.
A String and a Prayer by Eleanor Wiley and Maggie Oman Shannon (Red Wheel, 2002) is a wonderful little book that tells the ancient history of beading and how beads are used in prayer.
To reinforce your own spiritual journey in connection to the Creating Home curriculum, read Memories of God: Theological Reflections on Life by Roberta C. Bondi (Abingdon Press, 1995), written to explain the author’s personal theology and her journey toward her own faith identity.