As societies around the world grapple with the impact of various social and moral crises, parents are looking at ways to nurture children in a way that they grow up as competent and confident individuals — who are healthy in mind, body as well as spirit.
Parents are increasingly realizing the significance of nurturing the spiritual side of their off-springs with an aim to instil in them a holistic sense of belonging — and empower them with the ability to offer a positive contribution to the society as a whole.
Why Embrace Spiritual Values with Children
The nature of spirituality makes it hard to define. Though it means different things to different people, it is often linked to compassion and experience of joy.
With growing concerns of the impact of our fast-paced and materialistic society on our children, parents are increasingly observing fundamental gaps in children’s lives and the need to incorporate spiritual values somewhere. Inadvertently ignoring spirituality into parenting programs essentially results in disregarding the inner knowledge, strength and spirit of your child. As parents, we can refer many positive values that are common across all religions and gender practices, and help our children embrace universal values, such as care for others, new possibilities of optimism, respect and connection.
Your Role as a Parent
The following are key considerations for incorporating spirituality early in life of your child–
1. The Value of Slowness: Think again, the most important thing for a child is spending quality time, over other packed educationally learning opportunities of their lives? Spending quality time being with children: playing, building blocks, singing, joking or just relaxing could be as highly rigorous as a maths lesson. Or just observing rain-drops falling, or sitting by a small bug passing by the garden soil can provide a framework for day-dreaming.
2. Using Daily Events to Encourage Spirituality: By incorporating fun activities in everyday life, you can inculcate spiritual values in your children. Ordinary actions and words such as “Thanking Mother Nature” for a glorious day or seeking God’s blessings on birthdays and other special days.
3. Modelling Empathy and Compassion: Parents may have less control over everyday activities in school or outside home, where we cannot prevent from ‘bad things’ happening’ to children or eliminating their stress, when required. However, we can model ways of dealing with stress to children and exhibit the calmness and strength in the face of difficulties. In this way we teach them the all important life skill of learning to reduce their negative responses to stress and to treat others with compassion.
4. Observation and Reflection: By drawing attention to our surrounding natural details, such as the shimmer of the morning sun, the texture of a rock or the softness of a feather, adults can encourage children to observe and develop the natural expression of responses and reflection.
5. Analysis: Consider to sow seeds of thoughts in your child rather than give what are ‘correct and readymade’ answers. Adults can encourage child to think for instance, why leaves have different patterns, or how music can change the way we feel.
6. Talking: An important part of inculcating social values for a better society is the understanding that spirituality doesn’t always involve the laws and dogma of an organized religion. Just like you talk about family who lives away, from day one to your children, introducing the idea of good faith in humankind to your children early on is important. Introduce spiritual activities into routine life by singing prayers or hymns together and making simple spiritual rituals fun for them.
7. Understanding Limitations: It is obvious that you may not have all the answers to your child’s spiritual questions. For example, if your child asks where people go after they die, it is best not to impose your strong beliefs on your child and encourage them to find answers. At the same time, understand that you will have to be the source of information for a number of spiritual ideologies. Expose them to the different beliefs that exist and help them find answers that good faith, joy in living and giving and kindness for others are all considered high in spiritual grounds.
With the empowerment of understanding ‘thought and feeling’ your children can be a positive contribution to society with the help of governing spiritual laws.