Coming Together as Family
Volume XV Number 3

Table of Contents

  • Standards of Conduct
  • Marriage: the Spiritual Dimension
  • Expanding the Meaning of Love
  • Poetry for Children
  • Learning to Listen
  • Seeing is Not Always Believing
  • Applying Principles to Family Life
  • Sharing
  • Poetry

This past weekend I was with a wonderful group of people-children of various ages, adolescents, young adults and middle-aged folk. I heard mostly English, a little French and Hebrew, a lot of Spanish and-on the side-some discussion of languages of indigenous peoples of South America. The family gathering made me reflect on what a family is and its great potential: which is, in fact, the theme of this issue of Seeds.

An idea running through several of the articles in this issue is that of the family as a forceful center for learning, where lessons are drawn and where habits are formed, often unconsciously. One of the most fundamental things we are taught in our family setting is how to relate to ourselves and others. Sometimes the attitudes and behaviors picked up are helpful, sometimes they are not. However, even in a family of narrow outlook, unexpected inner resources may be passed down, as was the case in the story about Liz, recounted in Sharing. Likewise, in Spiritual Practices, everyone in a family grows, points out a busy father, Oscar Rombola, by learning to listen to each other.

Some families generate a sense of well-being and self-confidence in their members. They may, like Marcia Bennett's family, clearly express not only the joy of living a full family life, but also the joy of transcending the confines of the family and living a spiritual ideal. Such an environment builds self-esteem, the capacity to face loss and death, and the vision of life and learning as the expansion of love.

These are inspiring ideas, but how can we give them shape in the context in which we live? The Woolfes describe a very important ingredient in the family mix: the elevated quality of the bond between husband and wife made evident in shared spiritual practice like meditation, mutual respect and the capacity to see in the other an expression of the Divine. Our Feature Article, "Standards of Conduct," elaborates on the point that we keep the spiritual ideal alive by working with it in very concrete ways, for instance, by paying attention to our manners. Such an everyday aspect of life, if tended thoughtfully and consistently, lays the foundation of respect in all our relationships and can lead us to compassionate love. As we apply spiritual principles to our family life, we realize we are contributing to the happiness of our particular family, our extended family, and, in fact, the great family of humanity.

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