There comes a time when every parent has to start answering some pretty tough questions about spirituality. Even parents who aren’t religious or spiritual will face this at one point or another, because children are curious about the things that they see and hear around them. Whether they are exposed to spirituality through their friends, family members, etc., they will be exposed at some point, and they will have questions. Will you be ready to answer those questions? This is a subject that many parents try to avoid, or they are too heavy-handed about it, which can have a negative effect. Here are some things to consider before that time comes in your family.
One way to show your children that you are open to spiritual concepts and want to help them to learn more is to start reading about these things together. There are many great books for children on such topics as kindness, tolerance, fairness, and justice, which are all issues that are encompassed by spirituality. Don’t get books that are too deep, or that are going to end up confusing your children. Find books that are written for their age group and comprehension levels, and be prepared for lots of questions.
Spirituality vs Religion
Spirituality and religion are not the same thing. One can be spiritual without belonging to any specific religion or attending church. Spirituality means something different to everyone. This can be a difficult concept for children to understand. One way to help is by exposing them to a variety of religions, spiritual beliefs, etc. Let them see how different people practice their spirituality, and/or religions, and don’t forget to teach them to commune with nature to help them get in touch with their own spirituality.
Be Open with Them
“It may be that your children are learning about spirituality, and they are confused. Let them know that it is okay to be confused about many things. One way you can do this is by being open with them about your own fears, confusion, and feelings,” suggests Kaya Wittenburg from Past Regression QHHT. This includes your feelings about spirituality and religion. Share your feelings with them, and talk about your own personal experiences that led you to the way you feel now. Again, this is a great chance to learn more about spirituality, as well as learn a lot about each other.
You Don’t Know Everything
No one knows everything there is to know about spirituality and religion. Even though your children look up to you and will believe anything you tell them, don’t let them think that you know everything they need to know about spirituality. In fact, it may be that you have a lot of questions yourself about your own spirituality, religious ideas, etc. This is a great opportunity to show your children that you don’t know everything, and that we are always learning. In fact, by learning about spirituality to help your children, you are going to help yourself.
Don’t be Cynical
Children are eager to learn, and they do not have the same cynicism that adults have, so they are more open to a variety of concepts. If you are cynical about religion and spirituality, try not to convey this to your children. Yes, you can teach them that it is okay to question what they are learning, but don’t force your beliefs, or lack thereof, into their minds. Let them be free to choose their own spiritual paths, and help them to learn along the way. You may even learn a few things yourself while you are at it, which will help you on your own spiritual journey.