There is a lot of power in words. Words can change the way we think, the way we act and the way we react to the world around us. A daily devotional is an opportunity to bring powerful words into our day to shape our thoughts and behaviours. Over time, this practice can lead to profoundly positive growth and mental health. Here I’ve brought together some wonderful resources to make secular daily reads a part of your every day.
Inspirational Secular Daily Readings for Growth, Knowledge, and Positive Mental Health
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Did you know I grew up attending a Catholic school? I have a very interesting history with religion. See although I attended a Catholic school I am not Catholic and never have been. I’ve always been an outsider with religions. I find them fascinating to study and observe. And although I do not belong to any church or practice any particular religion, I have learned a lot from studying religions from around the world. One of the most profound things I have noticed, is the benefit of daily readings of uplifting and empowering words, plus daily moments of quiet meditation.
The power of words can not be underestimated. The right passage can give you peace, happiness, strength or positivity. It can help you reframe how you view the world around you. It can be so easy to stay stuck in a rut of thought. Thinking the same way every day, perceiving the world around you in the same way. It can make you feel drained, depressed, sad, frustrated, angry or simply stuck as the world spins around you.
For our children, they are still learning how to compartmentalize their world, how to process everything around them, and how to embrace positive self perception. Think about the power the right words could have on how their minds grow. Think about the impact it could have on their whole lives if they go into adulthood with positive mental health practices.
Now here it the problem, finding secular daily devotionals can be challenging. Often these materials are very religious in nature. So I’ve rounded up some secular daily devotional reads for you to share with your kids to inspire positive growth and daily mental health practices.
Two quick things!
Some of these are more appropriate for teens, others for your tweens and younger. I’ve tried to provide a little something for everyone.
Although I have tried my best to ensure these are all secular resources, there may be some religious references that I have missed. If I did miss something, feel free to leave a comment below about the reference so others are aware.
Big Life Journal (Regular or Teen Edition)
This is our favourite journal to do with the kids. It is not technically a daily read. Instead you have a weekly reading, then little exercises to do each day. There are two journals, the original is for elementary and tweens, and the other one is designed for teenagers. I love the messages my kids are getting from these journals and the skills they are developing in the areas of growth mindset, gratitude and positivity.
These fables go back many generations and are believed to have been written by a slave storyteller in Ancient Greece approximately 2500 years ago. Each story has a lesson which can lead to some wonderful discussions with your kids. You could also take one fable each week and develop a little unit study around it. There are some gorgeous copies of Aesop’s Fables available.
The Intellectual Devotional
There are actually a series of books from the Intellectual Devotional, which could keep you busy for many years! Arranged like a traditional religious devotional book, each of the Intellectual devotional books has 365 inspiring short reads. They focus on seven fields of knowledge: history, literature, philosophy, mathematics and science, religion (from a secular perspective), fine arts, and music, and aim to inspire curiosity and learning.
365 Days of Wonder
If you read and loved the book Wonder, this is the perfect daily read for you or your kids. This book is a follow up of the novel and shares glimpses of life after the novel ended, plus precepts (a beloved approach of the English teacher, Mr. Browne) for every day of the year. These are very short, but if you find longer daily devotionals too much, these short bite sized precepts are a fantastic way to take a moment every day to reframe and focus on hope and the good around us.
Three Hundred and Sixty Five Starry Nights: An Introduction to Astronomy for Every Night of the Year
What better way to gain perspective, knowledge and a thirst for greater knowledge than by learning about the universe? In this book readers learn a little bit about the stars and astronomy every day. A great way for space enthusiasts to learn and grow, while also gaining a greater respect for the vastness of the universe. Although not this one is not a book focused on personal growth or mental health, the topic is one I know will resonate with many tweens and teens and will help them the habit of a daily devotional read.
Maybe you don’t have an aspiring astronaut or astrophysicist in your house, there are also a number of inspirational daily readers for aspiring writers and artists.
Another great way to introduce children to daily devotional readings is poetry. There are some Poem A Day books available or you can pick one of the many poetry books designed for children and read one every day. Poetry is so powerful. Doing a daily poetry reading with kids is a fantastic way of incorporating secular devotional readings into your days. Plus, the insights and conversations that will come from reading poetry together are profound. I always get so excited doing poetry readings with my kids.
The Celtic Spirit: Daily Meditations For The Turning Year
This book is on my Amazon wish list. I love reading about ancient Celtic and Druid practices and this book brings together lore and legends from the past into daily lessons, readings and inspiration for our modern age. I am not sure if this book will be too advanced for my kids, I will need to read it first, but I can’t wait to dig into this one for myself.
If you wish to delve into some other ancient cultural knowledge daily reads I also found Tao and Ancient Native American books that look fascinating.
Tips On Doing Daily Devotionals With Kids
Once you have chosen your daily readings, take the time to find a quiet moment to do it every day. Often this is best to do first thing in the morning.
Read slowly and let the kids ask questions. Discuss the topics. Use open ended questions rather than questions they can answer with a yes or no. See if you can get them to think a little deeper about the topics and gain greater understanding.
Ask the kids to sit for one minute in silence to think about what they have read. This can be hard but with practice that quiet, meditative time can be extended.
Don’t make the daily devotionals a punishment. If the readings you are using are not resonating, look for something new. Or if that time of day is too hard, try a different time. Don’t give up.
If your children are interested, ask them to write a devotional or find quotes from books, famous figures, movies, or other sources that they can share as a daily devotional with everyone else.
Use this time as a time to really connect with your kids. Listen to them. Don’t correct or direct the conversations. Get to know what they are thinking, how they are thinking, and be a peace, present source of comfort for them as they explore these topics.
Most of all, enjoy these moments together.