The main practices of Beginning Anew are to express our appreciation for our loved ones and also express our regrets. When we don’t do either of these often enough our relationships become stagnant and communication is difficult as hurts accumulate and we don’t feel fresh or happy when our beauty, our talents and skills are not appreciated and nourished. We need to do this regularly, once a week is good. Friday evening may be a good time so that then we can enjoy the weekend together.
We call expression our appreciation “Watering the flower’ – explain that the flower that is in each one of us, the need to water and help maintain the freshness of the flower. When our flower is watered regularly, it is much easier for us to accept constructive criticism and cheerfully change our behaviour to be more supportive of the family. (Taken from the Plum Village Children’s Program Manual)
- Prepare for the practice above by inviting the children to make cards for their parents the day before. They write all the things they appreciate about and love in their parents. They will offer their cards during the Beginning Anew ceremony.
- Everyone sits in a circle, children sit with their parents. A vase of flowers is place in the Center of the circle.
- You can begin with a song that the children choose. It’s usually a fun children’s song such as “The More We Get Together” or “You Are My Sunshine,” etc., usually sung while everyone stands.
- When everyone is back seated, we invite three sounds of the bell before the introduction to the practice of Beginning Anew.
- Invite parents to go first, presenting their stone, feather, leaf, flower stick from nature to their child, expressing how it represents the good qualities of their son or daughter. Once parents have shared, the children can share and offer their cards to their parents. (This practice can be done over again, where parents and children take turns offering how they want to improve something. This helps everyone understand that nobody is perfect, we are all imperfect but that our imperfections are gifts that help us improve ourselves.)