Spirituality In Children"
spirituality and why is it of value to children are questions that I
am sometimes asked when people hear about my book, Nurturing
Spirituality in Children. In answering, I quickly point out that
spirituality doesnt mean the rules and dogma of any organized
religion, nor the value system of a culture. I rather like a
definition from Webster, showing much refinement of thought and
feeling. To me, the
thought and feeling is an awareness that we are multidimensional
beings, living in a spiritual universe governed by spiritual laws.
so, why is spirituality important to children? Because, like us, they
are spiritual beings having a physical experience. The fresher they
are from the spirit world, the more expanded their awareness. They
know our thoughts and feelings, see into other dimensions, and
remember where they came from. It is important that these natural
gifts be supported, not denied or made fun of.
spirituality based upon true identity can build childrens
self-esteem. They need to see themselves as short people here
for a purpose, not as incomplete or unfinished.
understanding of spiritual laws that can be counted on in all
situations gives children a sense of security and control over their
lives. In age appropriate ways, they can be taught the creative power
of their thought. Principles such as what you focus on expands
or where your attention goes, there energy flows, put them in
charge of their life.
way that spiritual understanding aids children is that they come to
see this world as an ordered place run by higher laws, a classroom
where they are totally supported in learning what they need to learn.
In this context, the world is seen as a benevolent place, not chaotic,
haphazard or dangerous.
Einstein was once asked, What is the most important question that a
human being needs to answer? He responded, Is the universe a
friendly place or not? What messages are we giving children about
the universe? Do we want them to grow up feeling that it is
non-supportive and wrought with danger? This creates a feeling of
helplessness, and with it, low self-worth which, in turn, contributes
to teen suicide, gangs, drug use, violence and promiscuity.
must embody the consciousness that we want for our children because,
as the saying goes, more is caught than taught. Are WE choosing
to live in a safe world that responds to our dominant thoughts
important as our modeling is, it is still not enough, however.
Children need to be told that spiritual laws and principles exist. And
these need to be discussed and demonstrated. As an analogy, consider
virtues education. A parent valuing the universal virtues would be
leading a life that embodies most of those virtues. However, many
children dont get it just from that! They need to have the
virtues named (i.e. perseverance, compassion, orderliness,
self-discipline, loyalty, humility, purposefulness, courtesy, courage,
etc.). Then these need to be explained, observed, and become part of
the language of the family. It is the same with spiritual principles
my son was about nine, I was desperate for ways to teach him
underlying spiritual principles. He was open to such knowledge, but
there were few books appropriate for his age level. As I read my
spiritual books, I would come across simple analogies and lights
would come on. Here was a way, I thought, for me to demonstrate some
of these abstract ideas for my son. I began a constant lookout for
concrete objects to explain abstract spiritual ideas. Most were
triggered by a few words here and there from various authors. I
stepped these concepts down to be age appropriate, and before I knew
it, I had enough for a book. Experiments with Sunday School classes
convinced me that children above six would retain such lessons, as
they were not only visual but also concrete, and the children could
handle the objects.
brain research shows, 83% of what we learn is through seeing and
doing. The ancient Chinese said, I hear and I forget, I see and I
remember, I do and I understand. Such visual analogy lessons work
wonderfully for the parent who is juggling a job, home chores and car
pools because they take only 5 to 10 minutes, and some can even be
done in the car.
urge you to consider principles you deem important and then look
around your house for tangible ways of demonstrating them. If you need
idea starters, my book has 50 such lessons. They are for the child
within just as much as for the children in our lives.
ancient sage said, Woe to the man who has to learn principles in
the time of crisis. Now is the time to nurture the spirituality of
our children and our own inner child.
Dr. Peggy Joy Jenkins is an adult educator specializing in parent/teacher education, understanding behavioral styles and activating inner joy. She is founder of Joyful You-Joyful Child, Inc., a non-profit organization. Her book Nuturing Spirituality is available for purchase on the website order form. Or you can e-mail her at email@example.com or call 928-282-1311.