Jan Wood came to church last week to do a spiritual parenting workshop. Her theology is kookier than most UCC-ers I know, but she talks about the work of the Spirit in such a practical way that we all came along for the ride. ("Oh, of course your daughter healed her sister from a terrible fall using prayer...")
As usual, Jan was bursting at the seams with wisdom and good humor. But here are my favorite things she said (good parenting and just plain life advice):
1. Model transparency - talk to each other about what's really going on like ethical questions, difficult decisions, money issues as well as God moments in the day. A couple days later, Jeff told me he tried this with Eli - told him about a hard choice he had to make and Eli was really intent and "his eyes just shone!"
2. Pray about what's life-giving instead of what's life-sucking. In other words, pray with gratitude about what's working, what's lovable in your family instead of all their problems. Which is not he same as a head-in-the-sand-ness about things that are wrong, because sometimes they are. As seen in number three
3. The work of evil, she said, is not to either create or to destroy. The work of evil is to mis-arrange. Then we destroy it ourselves.
Then, tonight, I took Elijah to Monkfish Abbey. Which was too incredible an experience for me to even talk about yet. But Rachelle encouraged us to begin doing the Ignatian examen:
Every day at the end of the day ask yourself, "where did I experience God today?" "where did I feel far from God today?" - no need to analyze those at first, just notice. Which seems like a pretty perfect practice to start noticing how numbers 1,2 and 3 (above) are at work in our life.