We are sorry to have to cancel Family Zen this month. We will stay in touch and get back together again when the coronavirus pandemic is over.
In the meantime, we are thinking of all our Family Zen Friends and how much we will miss seeing you. As soon as it is safe to come together again in the zendo, we will do that. And- when that time comes, we will have a big celebration!
The adults are continuing to meet online, through Zoom (click here for details), and are following our regular schedule. At first it felt a little strange, but after a few times, we have gotten used to it. It has helped us feel connected to our Zen friends and helped us to stay calm.
If parents and/or children would like to join us online for a short sitting practice at some point, you are welcome to join the adult online group. A nice thing about an online sit is that you are free to step away at any time, by just closing the program- even after 5 minutes or less.
Stay well, be safe.
Shinji Patty Goodman and Jing Mayer
Co- Teachers Family Zen
The central ideas explored in Family Zen activities are drawn from the Zen Buddhist tradition. Our intention is that all topics we present should be useful to the children at whatever age they are right now. This is a program designed to engage children in an interactive and fun exploration of basic Buddhist concepts and practice like mindfulness, compassion, kindness and connection.
The class lasts for approximately 1½ hours. Each class begins with a short, seated meditation of 2 or 3 minutes. Our group meets monthly on the 3rd Sunday of the month at the Upper Valley Zen Center Zendo, from 4 -5:30 PM. Each meeting we follow the same structure with a different topic. The children have become comfortable sitting silently for 3 minutes at the beginning. We begin with our topic by reading a story. We talk about it, and then follow it with an art activity. We end with a snack and another brief sit.
Thanks to our teacher, Shinji Goodman, her creative activities, thorough planning and generous contribution, Family Zen has gained much popularity. The number of participating families is growing, while the demand is increasing and the cost for art supplies are also accumulating.
In order to sustain and potentially expand the Family Zen to meet the increasing interests, we would like to make an education kit, which contains books, art supplies and lesson plans align with each monthly topic. We ask for $600 donation for the books and art supplies that help us sustain the program. (For more information or to contribute, please contact us.)
Shinji Goodman, Jing Mayer and Gendo
Our group meets monthly on the 3rd Sunday of the month at the Upper Valley Zen Center Zendo, from 4 -5:30 PM. It is attended by children and parents together.
Currently, the children’s ages range from 5-10 years. Each monthly group we present a different theme. The themes somewhat reflect the monthly topics discussed in the zendo by the adults- with many modifications.
Most recently we talked about impermanence by way of reflecting on seasonal change, changes in the life cycle of animals and insects, changes in our thinking and skills. We looked at fossils, saw a brief animation of the book The Perfect Square, and talked about other observation of change.
Each meeting we follow the same structure with a different topic. The children have become comfortable sitting silently for 3 minutes at the beginning. We begin with our topic by reading a story. We talk about it, and then follow it with an art activity. Sometimes we practice walking meditation in a circle or with a chalk labyrinth drawn on the floor. Whatever we are doing, there is always help available if someone needs it.
We end with a snack and another brief sit. We hope everybody has a great time, but we hope also the children will learn to be attentive to themselves and each other, and to come to see the meditation as a reliable, helpful and skillful means to navigate their day.