Mention Easter and I can relay any number of memories of being together with family: counting up money found in plastic eggs or gathering for a picture under Grandpa and Grandma’s crab apple tree in full bloom.
But holidays and memories can be a tricky thing. Sometimes we’ve moved far away from family, sometimes functions with our spouse’s family do not feel the same as when we were children, or maybe family life wasn’t ideal growing up. It’s important to remember that we get the good and the bad from our family, and honestly, so will our children.
There are values and perspectives we can identify and pass on to our own children through every season of life. So what sorts of lessons can we learn from the Easter season, both implicit and explicit?
Implicit Life Lessons at Easter
I don’t remember my family ever expressing the words, “we value family.” They didn’t have to. Since my entire extended family gathered for every holiday, birthday, and big event in each others’ lives, I got the message loud and clear.
Additionally, God was at the center of whatever we did, particularly at Easter. We had Easter egg hunts of course, but they were always preceded by church and family dinner with a prayer by Grandpa. Grandpa had a way of praying that showed me, even as a child, that he had a real and personal relationship with God.
So those are values that I received as a child and I in turn, will pass on to my daughter. It will not look the same for her because we don’t live near family. But both messages are still evident in her life by the choices my husband and I make.
What about you?
What can you do with what you were given and how can you change it to fit your family?
What do you wish you would have had as a child and how can you incorporate it into your own family now?
What sort of environment do you wish to create?
What’s one thing you can start with your family that passes on your values?
Explicit Life Lessons at Easter
All lessons are not as deep and life changing, some are just practical and fun. I was a teacher before becoming a mom and I love to find learning opportunities in everyday life to share with my growing girl. My husband and I value intentional conversations and creating a culture of learning in our home.
Here are some tangible activities using the season as your launching pad:
• Count the eggs in the Easter basket.
• Sort candy by color, size, or type.
• Talk about baby bunnies, chicks and lambs (and other babies born in the spring), and their mommies. Talk about their habitats and how to care for them. Print pictures from the Internet and see if your children can match the correct baby, mommy and habitat.
Weather – Discuss changes from winter to spring and the appropriate clothes to wear in each type of weather. Pull out clothes to fit each season and dress up as if you are going to play in the snow or going for a walk in the warm spring weather.
• A great way to learn about the topics above is in books. Go to your local library and read, read, read!
• Introduce your little one to all the words and terms related with Easter.
Don’t fall into the trap of trying to create the perfect holiday experience for your children. Think about the values and lessons you wish to pass on and find creative ways to implement them. Our children learn more from our everyday interactions than from a Pinterest perfect holiday event.
Annie Wiesman is the co-author of “Education Begins at Birth: A Parent’s Guide to Preparing Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers for Kindergarten.” She is a former kindergarten teacher turned stay-at-home mom who enjoys traveling, hiking in the mountains, and creating memories together with her husband and little girl.