Singing in the car ritual
Photo credit http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/
“Family” rituals are very important and often come about in the most unplanned ways. Our Beautiful Day song is a great example this. It came to mind as I was writing the post Beautiful Blogger Award telling of the Navajo prayer about walking in beauty. I filed that thought in the back of my mind but did nothing about it.
A few days ago, it came to mind again as I was reading a fabulous blog post at Help4YourFamily titled, The Importance of Delight, that talks about creating moments of joy (delight) with your children so that you both had something to draw on to help smooth life through the times of the mundane or times that are less than ideal. That post felt like a little light bulb going off for me and I suggest you check it out and see if it speaks to you also. Still I did nothing.
Today, I read a blog post by Ken Lauher titled, Morning Sing-Along: Rituals To Make You Happy Right Now, about a family whose ritual was a car sing-along on the way to school to Bohemian Rhapsody. It has a fun video that really lets you feel how the energy you experience is lifted through singing. It really is joyful to watch and you can do that by clicking on this link. After you watch it I would ask you to take the time to scroll down to the comments because there is a wonderful exercise that is easy to do that will help you re-frame your thinking to allow you to be less reactive to negative behaviors (think kids specifically here) from others. Please check these links out and let me know what you think.
Okay universe, I guess you win…today I am doing it. I am sharing these great resources and I will add my story about the Beautiful Day Song.
I have the good fortune of having many children in my life and this story is about two who are dear to my heart. When they were five years old, yes, they are twins, they decided that going to school was not what they wanted to do and the trip to school was a marathon of complaints, pouting and all round unpleasantness. Mornings were not a fun time at this stage of the game and to up the ante the trip to school took about 30 minutes on a good day.
One morning, as the protests from the back seat were escalating, I was wondering what I might do to shift the energy from unhappy to happy. I found myself singing about the happy things that I saw around me, making it up as I went. It’s a beautiful day, it’s a beautiful day….the birds are singing and the butterflies are flying….It’s a beautiful day, It’s a beautiful day….. next verse….and so on.
The funny thing was that although my singing is not the best, it really is hard to feel unhappy when you are singing a happy song in an unrestrained way. The shift in my energy seemed to shift the feeling of the journey enough to get the kids’ attention. The mood lightened and the trip was more pleasant.
The next day as things escalated from the back seat, I broke out into the Beautiful Day Song and by the time I started in to the second verse I hear no, no, no, I want to sing it. So from that point on they took turns singing their own verses of the song. The trip to school had actually been fun. Nice change.
The next day, it was raining. We in Southern California do not respond well to rain so there was a bit of gloom floating around in the car that morning. A short time into the ride I decided to break out the Beautiful Day Song. I hear from the back seat, what do you mean , it is not a beautiful day, it is raining! I told them that yes, it was raining, but it could still be a beautiful day if we wanted to make it one. They thought that was a good idea and took the idea further to use their imagination to sing about beautiful things that were not there at the present. We got to school. I enjoyed the ride home alone, with a happy song in my heart.
The next day, from the back seat I hear, let’s sing the Beautiful Day Song. I started with the first verse and they took it from there. I guess you could think of this as the day the Beautiful Day Song became a ritual for us.
I no longer take the kids to school, but even today, once in a while, they will break out singing the beautiful day song and flash me a wink and a great smile.
What joyful rituals do you and your family practice? Maybe you will be moved to share them, I would love to hear about them.