What do you say when your child asks, "Why do bad things happen in the world?" How do you talk about spirituality when you and your partner come from different faith backgrounds or religious traditions? What do you do when your child realizes death is a part of life?
When we are faced with our children's wondering about life, there is potential in their questions, for our own powerful reawakening to the world of unanswerable questions.
Children's spiritual journeys as the very same paths we walk our whole lives. There is no arrival; we are always walking the paths of discovery and not knowing, the paths of faith and doubt. Walking these paths alongside children, instead of imagining ourselves somehow removed from these wanderings, reminds us the joys and sorrows of being human are meant to be shared, across ages. Spiritual partnership with children in your life means wonder-seeking. And more wonder is good for everyone's soul. Seeking wonder is a spark--it is the impulse that drives the soul-satisfying practices of making art, writing poems, noticing beauty, being in nature, making a friend. And these are the things that nurture our spirits. There's a flip-side to all that warmth though, isn't there? In the full picture of actual wonder is anger, fear, loneliness, grief...how can we bear these feelings? Turning over the stones and seeing what's underneath is the other part of sharing a spiritual journey with kids. When you endeavor to walk with children on the spiritual journey, you take on the whole of life together. You're not just there for the bad parts, or the good parts or the parts you can fully explain or understand.
When we talk about nurturing spirituality beautiful things happen:
- Free flowing mutual learning and inspiration in between parents and children can bring healing, hope and joy to families and communities.
- Making space for caring for your spirit and teaching your children to do the same is healthy and life-giving.
- Learning more about children's spirituality is a powerful tool in holistic approaches to children's growth and development.
- Spending time in dialogue about spirituality builds trust, shared experience and common ground in any community. Schools, churches and other intentional communities can grow together in caring for the children in their midst more fully by addressing spirituality alongside physical, mental and emotional needs.