Teaching Spirituality to Children
As adult women, we have grown into our essence and sense of self, mostly through trial and error. We have gained our own personal truths from a spiritual perspective. For instance, the way we live, our daily habits and our level of consciousness, all have centered on a foundation of having achieved spiritual clarity to some degree. With this knowledge and experience, we should guide children into the same path of spiritual understanding.
Spirituality in itself is a child-like innocence. It is an awareness of a deeper knowing and a higher truth. Children naturally possess this ability to see and understand, from a pure space. As adults, we can sometimes lose that child-like curiosity, but we can tune into that vibration through our own experiences.
From my own personal experience, I remember my years at college studying Pre-med and Psychology and having a part-time job as an afterschool teacher at Mazol Day School. I always had a deep and effortless connection with children and for me it was a perfect opportunity to help young kids with their homework and give them activities to do when they completed their work. All the children were so beautifully unique—some kids loved finishing homework first while others would rather go outside to play.
Each child develops in their own way, both mentally and collectively, and in terms of spirituality, I think fostering each child’s uniqueness is the goal.
Children tend to be aware of the connection to a higher being more so than adults. So, when adults force an idea or a concept onto children, they may get rebellious for the simple fact that they feel blocked out of their own thoughts and feelings. Additionally, children can feel if you are presenting ideas of spirituality from love or fear, and the rebellion will increase if they sense you are connecting God (or the Divine/Source, etc.) to fear in any way.
Therefore, what I learned was that freedom is paramount to give kids that liberated experience of simply showing love to others when they feel and see fit. Talking about spirituality to your child can help to you relate more closely to their unique perspective and understanding of the world. It will also make the connection between what they do and how they feel about it much smoother and more interesting to them.
Writer Lisa Miller argues that children who grow up with a sense of spiritual self are better suited for adult life. “Children who are raised with a robust and well-developed spiritual life are happier, more optimistic, more thriving, more flexible, and better equipped to deal with life’s ordinary (and even extraordinary) traumas than those who are not.”
We should raise children to be spiritually balanced, which includes providing a sense of discipline as well as personal freedom to express their thoughts and feelings.
Some ways that we can start teaching children to be more spiritual are easier than one may think. Try some short meditation exercises to practice mindfulness with your children. This is an especially great activity before bedtime, as it offers an opportunity to relax and reflect on the day before your child goes to sleep.
Spirituality is a place that we can all encounter to propel us towards a more meaningful existence that leads to inner peace with ourselves and supports our contribution to the greater good. There are benefits no matter what age you are.
Cultivating spirituality from a younger age has been shown to greatly strengthen an individual’s level of success through self-awareness. Goldie Hawn, known infamously for her role in the movie “Overboard,” has teamed up with MindUP. This organization strives to create a curriculum for schools that assist children’s brain growth by providing tools they need to be better learners through managing emotions in a way that fosters more care and kindness. She believes that “kids need to know how to live in the world. They need to have a deeper understanding of how to navigate through the new world we’re living in. And kids that do well socially and emotionally, they actually do better in life!”
We are raising kids to be strong, empowered, and successful individuals. It begins at home and continues in schools. Spirituality can have a positive ripple effect on so many aspects of a child’s life, from doing better academically to handling aggression in a better way.
This is what spiritually aims to master.
Spirituality helps kids to process their thoughts about the world in a more nuanced way. This will help children resolve conflicts faster and improve compassion for others. Consider teaching the children in your life the benefits of being spiritual and see the positive outcomes for everyone involved!