A Guide on Instilling Spirituality in Children
Spirituality is the deep connection we feel with something bigger than ourselves. It is the realization that we are part of a bigger picture and form a small slice of a more meaningful whole.
Many look upon spirituality as a constant search for self-awareness and for a better understanding of our feelings and emotions. Spirituality also is a yearning to find ways to liberate ourselves from negative and harmful emotions, and to have better and more harmonized relationships.
But when we are, in many ways, unsure of our own spirituality, how is it possible to guide our young children towards a better understanding of their relationship with the supreme power?
Children need to get in touch with their spiritual being as early as possible, ideally right from their infancy. This will help them learn and recognize finer human emotions like love, joy, forgiveness and kindness.
There are several ways in which you can teach your young child about the greater force out there which holds a power over our lives. A mom can very well do with the following helpful tips.
Experts say the basis of spiritual growth and betterment is trust. The tender words, lullabies, and kisses and hugs you shower your baby with help him recognize and trust you. All the undivided attention you pay to him fosters the bond. He learns that his mom loves him, appreciates him, enjoys spending time with him and is ready to attend to all his needs.
The love, care, concern and nurturing that a baby gets from his mom help develop his sense of self and person. With his complete trust in his mom comes the acceptance of the values and principles that his mom will gradually teach.
Help Him Relish the Beauty of Nature
Most of our days fly past in tearing hurry. We worry about getting late to office, dread missing the school bus, stress about not finishing the presentation for the next day and have a panic attack seeing the piled up dishes in the sink. We transfer the same ‘lack-of-time’ mentality to our kids who forget to appreciate the sunset or the bird’s nest that has come up on a branch of the tree in the yard.
Appreciating the beauty of nature helps nourish tender emotions, feelings and empathy in children. They realize that Earth is home to vast and varied forms of life, and is a place where lovely and amazing things happen on a daily basis.
Your child realizes he shares the earth with other living things, both microscopic as well as gigantic.
The emergence of a butterfly from a pupa or the sight of a trail of ants carrying food to their subterranean home will ignite the curiosity of your toddler and set his imagination on fire. He will see that there is a miracle called life happening every single moment of the day.
Help Your Child Feel Gratitude
Gratitude is the most important lesson you can teach your child about human goodness and God’s love. We teach our children to pray to God, and to trust in their guardian angel when things go wrong or when they face challenges. But it is also important you teach your child to be thankful for all that he and his family have.
Help him list the wonderful blessings he has in his life-like his best friend Brian, food to fill up his tummy, toys to play with, his sister and the rest of his family to love him, and good health which allows him to be happy and active the whole day.
Young children find it difficult to understand the need to be thankful for the things they have. But gradually your child will discover the meaning of the thank you prayers he says at the bedtime and daily habits like saying grace before meals.
And the best way you can do this is by being a good role model for your child. Be thankful for the bright and sunny day, and tell your child how grateful you feel for getting time to tend to his ailing grandmother.
Don’t Shy Away from Having Deep Conversations with Your Child
As your child grows older he will definitely get more curious about all that is going on around him. You need not worry if you don’t have the answers to all that he asks. You can encourage him to think and discover answers on his own, make up stories to give him a better understanding and most importantly encourage him to come up with more questions.
If he sees violence on the evening news or disturbing images in the newspaper, explain to him that bad things do happen and they are for real. But they can be stopped if the rest of the world tries to be more understanding and helpful, and attempt to stop the people who are being violent.
Pain and hurt should not be inflicted on others and he should not join in with people who do so. Help him understand that love and kindness will end suffering and wars.
Your child does understand the deeper meaning of what you are trying to say and you need to trust him to learn the lessons right.
Religion and Spirituality Are Not the Same
Spirituality is in many ways a way of life. You can try to understand the deeper meaning of life in your own unique way and there are no rigid rules to follow.
Religion is dogmatic and you have plenty of dos and don’ts. The more liberated your child is in interpreting the joys of life, the more he will tend to think about them.
So try not to infuse too much of religion into how he experiences life on a daily basis.
And you can rest assured the more grateful he is for the beautiful sunrise, the closer he will feel to God.
Cut down on Screen Time
Television and other tech screens eat up a huge a chunk of precious family time. Television drowns out any chances of meaningful conversations you can have with your child.
So set down strict family rules regarding the time spent viewing TV, surfing the Web and playing video games. And all members should strictly adhere to it, no matter their age.
The time spent together will help your family develop deeper bonds and come closer to each other. And a good family teaches children more values than all the religions in the world put together.
Spirituality is something we all need to cultivate, especially in today’s disturbed and strife-torn world. We need to instill purer feelings in our children, so that they grow up to create a better and a safer place for the future generations to live in.
Korie Cantor has been working as a freelance writer for a long time. She has a diverse background in health and fitness. She loves sharing her opinions on the latest issues affecting parenting and also recommends to use health product samples.