Growth in Spring

By Caitlin Bootsma

Personal growth is important to us, as is doing all that we can to nurture happy and healthy childhoods for children. This can include taking the time to appreciate the seasons around us and helping children to recognize that beauty despite what else might be happening. As the plants begin to bloom again, Spring is a great time to find activities centered around growth. Of course, the most obvious way to begin is to spend some time in nature. Taking a walk or hike, going to a Botanical Garden or simply observing the changes outside from your own porch are great ways to enter more fully into Spring.

Following the theme of growth, here are a few other ideas:

Nurture a Plant: Whether with kids or on your own, consider planting seeds that will bear food or flowers. If you don't have a green thumb, try something hearty, like tomatoes already potted from the local hardware store, or simple, like herbs in a pot sitting on your windowsill.

Spring Cleaning: There is something about Spring that gives us a little extra energy to open up the windows, let some fresh air in and take some unwanted things out. Spring is the perfect time to donate through neighborhood groups or to have a yard sale. Teaching kids how to sort through what they want to keep, give away, or throw away is an important life skill. Plus, purging items gives you more room to grow the atmosphere you want in your home.

Gain a Hobby or Skill: Have a family meeting and discuss what sort of activities you might want to explore this Spring. It could be something organized like a new sport or something at home like learning to decorate cakes. Spring weather provides some great opportunities for a new family hobby like hiking, bird watching, camping, roller blading, or gardening.

Plan for Summer: Give yourself and your family the gift of thinking intentionally ahead of time about what you want your summer to look like. Where would you like to go? What sort of events or activities do you want to participate in? What are some favorite summer traditions or foods? What kind of budget do you need to pull it off (and what might you need to sacrifice for a while to get it)?

Grow in Hospitality: As the winter chill start to fade, consider inviting people over! Hospitality doesn't have to be fancy. Consider outdoor drinks and smores by a fire pit or a pizza and game night. Hospitality truly is a virtue—one that extends a welcome to others.

Be an Easter person: St. Pope John Paul II popularized the quote that "we are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song." (Attributed to St. Augustine of Hippo). While we are still in Lent, the Easter season is coming and will last all the way to Pentecost. During this time we should ask ourselves, how often do we truly enter into grace-filled time and ask the Lord to open our hearts. In this time of Lent, as we prepare for Easter, how is He calling you and your family to grow spiritually during this time?

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