Davina here - Last week I posted a tutorial on how to make a gratitude jar and the value of gratitude as a feeling. This week I have been thinking more about gratitude and observing what other gratitude customs my family and our friends engage in. One of the key customs I have observed is blessing a meal (non religious blessing if thats possible). This is not something we do as a family for every meal but since Elfie started Kindergarten she has wanted to bless each meal and we welcome her to do it and encourage her to take lead.
3 reasons why its nice to bless a meal:
In Steiner schools, which Elfie goes to one of, it is custom to bless the meal through a little non religious verse before the meal - normally one that thanks Mother Earth for the food she has given. I really like this for three reasons.
- It teaches young children that food is grown in the earth and we need to value it and not waste it.
- It encourages children to be grateful for the food and promotes feelings of gratitude.
- It brings the children together in a moment of calm focus before eating their meal.
I have been really inspired by the different Waldorf nature themed meal blessings and have gathered a few of my favourite for you.
Meal Time Thank You Verses:
For trees so tall
And skies so blue
For friends and food
We thank you
Blessings on the blossom,
Blessings on the root,
Blessings on the leaf and stem,
Blessings on the fruit.
Earth who gives to us this food
Sun who makes it ripe and good
Dearest Earth and dearest sun
We won't forget what you have done
Earth we thank you for this food
For rest and home and all things good
For wind and rain and sun above
but most of all for those we love
Lighting a Candle for the Meal
One tradition that we and many of our friends (including Hannah) have is to light a candle with every meal - it acts in a similar way as a blessing that it brings everyone together in a calm moment before the meal, which is very useful for small children (especially when you have lots of them around the table like at Kindergarten). We like to say a little verse when we light the candle, which we ask the children to say with us and very quietely so not to scare the gnome (you will see what I mean about gnome in a minute). If they don’t join in then we say the gnome is not ready to come out yet. They get so excited about the ‘fire gnome’ that often there is a sigh of wonder when the match is lit followed by a beautiful moment of silence.
Candle Lighting Verse:
Fire gnome, Fire Gnome
I recently came across this one, which is similar and maybe even nicer.
Bringing Light and Love to everyone--
Light faries come to us,
Bring to us your golden light.
Do you have any gratitude customs that you would like to share? I’d love to hear as soon I will be compiling a list of ways to encourage gratitude.
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