Spiritual Parenting

 

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As you juggle between school, tuitions, birthday parties, sports practice and guitar lessons, how do you find the time to teach and encourage your children to become spiritually strong? How do you instill strong faith in a Higher Power, so that they can navigate the storms of life? You can begin your spiritual journey with your children by embracing few authentic practices.

Clarify your own beliefs. Whether or not you practice an organized religion, you’ll need to decide what you “believe in,” in order to nurture spirituality in your child. Do you believe in God or a Supreme Power? Do you believe in karma, or in a hell and heaven? What are your views on life after death? Do you want your child to follow a particular faith and visit a certain house of worship? If you and your partner have different belief systems, it’s wise to decide early on as to whether only one faith would be followed or both – so that as an adult, an informed choice could be made.

Introduce spirituality at an early age. It’s wise to introduce spiritual practices early in life. Whether it’s praying, lighting incense or candles or sitting quietly and connecting with the Divine, these practices will become a natural part of your child’s life. Don’t wait too long to share your thoughts because no matter what you do, child will hear about God soon enough. So it is better child understands it from you, rather than pick garbled information from other sources.

Don’t be afraid of not having all the answers. You don’t need to have all the answers to your child’s questions. If your child asks where God lives and what God looks like, answer honestly and in accordance with your belief. You could say God lives inside every living being.

Show your child spirituality in daily life. Each day is sprinkled with examples of spirituality. Make your child notice them in birds, bugs and butterflies. Point out a beautiful sunset. Help child understand the absolute wonder of food. Create small celebrations and rituals that will make loving, lasting memories to nourish child’s soul.

Let your child see the Divine in nature. There is nothing purer, or a more tangible manifestation of Divinity than nature itself. Teach your child to love, protect and respect animals, plants or any other form. Teach child not to pollute, tell child how wasting paper amounts to cutting more trees, and introduce the concept of recycling at home. If you have a garden, let child sow and nourish plants. Hang a water bowl for birds and let child fill it everyday. Show child how to be kind to stray animals.

Use stories to teach tolerance. Storytelling is a great way to introduce various concepts of right and wrong, good and bad to children. Every spiritual tradition has loads of stories that can help you do that, whilst also subtly introducing the concept of a Higher Power. Read these to your child. Also read stories from other faiths to teach child the importance of respect and tolerance.

Help your child find a metaphor. God is an abstract concept for children. They need a metaphor for it. Something they can see or easily imagine. You may choose to give them an image that reflects your belief system. However, what can be even more empowering is to help child identify a simple image that child can associate with God, like flower or sun that child can simply close eyes and think of this symbol, and connect with the Divine.

Let child communicate with God in child’s own way. Instill the practice of a simple daily prayer. Encourage child to communicate freely, independently, and regularly with the Divine. Let child know that child can talk about anything, without fear, for God will understand. But also teach child that every communication need not be to ask for something. Child also needs to thank God for various blessings and remember that God helps those who help themselves.

Unravel the gift of silence. God lives in silence and stillness, and so teach your child their importance. Encourage child to sit quietly every day for at least 10 minutes. It will help child recharge, reflect, calm child mind, and create stillness.

Give child a secure and happy home. For some reason, people get very serious when it comes to spirituality. However, being spiritual should be joyous and enjoyable. Encourage child to write a story about God, draw portraits, write letters or make songs and dance to them.

Finally, remember the bedrock of spiritual parenting is providing your child with a happy and secure environment at home letting child know that child is a gift from God, and that you are responsible not only for child’s mind and body, but also for child’s soul.

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Posted November 14, 2012 by dranilj1 in Life Lessons

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