A New Year...A New Beginning

The following activity is designed for New Year's Eve or New Year's Day, but could also be adapted for the end of a school year or any time a new beginning is taking place. 

Celebrating Who I Am
(pen and paper needed for this activity)
1. Spend some time being quiet.
2. With Peace as your guide, answer the following, either by writing your answers or by drawing a picture:
   a. What are the achievements, celebrations, delights -
   the "yesses" - of 2011?
   b. What are the failures, disappointments, or "nos" of 2011?
   c. What have I learned from both the yesses and the nos?
3. Gather with family members or another trusted person and share your achievement and disappointment responses with one another. In a spirit of JOY and LOVE, each listener responds to the speaker, naming one gift they see in him or her. For example, the listener might say, "In you I see a wise person." After sharing what you have written or drawn, throw the paper into the fire or tear it up.
4. With HOPE and gratitude for all you are becoming, share the things you have learned in the past year. Again, the listeners can acknowledge the speaker in some way. Keep this third list or drawing in a special place. (We do not hang onto the first two lists because to remain spiritually healthy and fit, it does not help to live in the past.) We are called to live in the present moment with God. We do keep the third list because we take all that our past has taught and carry it forward into our tomorrows. .
5. Say the Lord's Prayer.

Family Shield
(family shield template, crayons, markers or paints needed; for shield template go here>>> )
1. Either gathered as a family or on your own, color a family shield. Don't make it difficult; simple is best. Color it however you like, but make sure you include your family name in the middle.
2. In the upper right hand portion, answer the following question, "This year as a family we HOPE to..." If you have members who do not have words, they can draw a picture that represents an answer.
3. In the upper left hand corner, list, with words or pictures, how you will put those HOPES into practice by answering this question, "With JOY as a family we will achieve our goal by..."
4. In the lower right corner, name the ways you will hold one another accountable for your resolution by answering this question, "With LOVE in our hearts, we promise to help one another keep our goals by..."
5. In the lower left hand corner, write or draw something that represents PEACE, for it is with peace that we are able to live in the present moment. In staying present, we may begin to see that God walks with us in all parts of our lives, even with the resolutions we set.
6. Hang the shield in a special place in your home. Return to it regularly as you celebrate the goals you have set or have changed along the way.
7. Have each family member name their favorite part of your family shield and the hopes it represents.
8. End with the Lord's Prayer.