And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be in your heart. And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall speak of them when you sit at home, and when you walk along the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up…And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. – The Torah, Deuteronomy 6: 4-9
IN TODAY’S SESSION…
Today our group explored the idea of “hearth and home,” including the literal and metaphorical meanings of a hearth. In addition to building our own hearths, which you can gather around in your own home, we talked about the ways that we share warmth in our homes when we gather together as a family.
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER: Talk about…
Hearths are places where people feel warm and safe and cozy. Your family might wish to discuss together what gives each person that sense of hearth and home. What places in your house, or elsewhere, do you feel safest and most comfortable? What clothes give you that feeling? What activities (such as reading stories aloud) make you feel safe and cozy and cared about? What are the times and the places where your family gathers together? Are there special seasons or holidays when that sense of “hearth and home” is especially strong? Are there ways that you might bring more of those special practices into your day-to-day family life, so that the sense of warmth and comfort is expanded?
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Try…
A Family Ritual
If your child has brought home a “hearth” he/she made in Creating Home, consider making a family ritual around this object. When family members gather for a meal or simply to be together in your home, you can light a candle in the hearth. The light echoes the ancient uses of a family home hearth for the tangible warmth of a cooking and heating fire and the intangible warmth of being together.
Your hearth-lighting ritual may include a simple blessing that family members can learn to recite together. You may say:
Thank you, Great Spirit, for the roof over our heads, the food we eat, and being together.
We give thanks for the sky above us, the earth beneath us, and the love around us. Amen.
Or, create a simple blessing of your own.
A Family Adventure
Many families have pets who are important members of the family, and who both contribute to and benefit from the warmth, safety and comfort of family life. But most communities have at least one animal shelter which harbors homeless or currently unwanted animals. Your family can help create a hearth, or at least a warmer, cozier space, for these animals by gathering up old or unused blankets and towels that you may have lying in the back of closets or cupboards and delivering them to your local animal shelter to be used for bedding.
On this website, find more than a hundred stories from Native American lore, including “How Coyote Stole Fire.”
Here is another website with more than 1,000 Native American legends from dozens of tribes.
The affiliated educational organization of the Humane Society of the United States maintains a website with projects, information, and interactive games for children in kindergarten and first grade.
One way to expand your sense of hearth at home is to cook together with children. There are many online sites with simple recipes to do with kids.