Has your child ever asked you about where life comes from? Why trees grow? Why flowers bloom?
While there are straight answers for appeasing their curiosity about the what’s and how’s behind the things they see and experience, for instance, explaining how rain develops and how fish can breathe underwater, the why’s demand answers that textbooks cannot provide.
Spirituality can be defined as a quality of being able to discover their meaning of being in existence, or the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.” In other words, it’s what drives people to live each day; it’s the force or belief that gives every person a sense of purpose in life, and it’s a sense of being connected to others.
Spirituality shouldn’t just be considered synonymous to religion, though. More than stemming from a religious standpoint, spirituality helps your child develop his sense of self-worth and respect for others.
It can be a rather complex idea or concept to discuss, but there are ways to nurture your child’s sense of spirituality during his early years. Give your child the gift of spirituality through these five ways:
Encourage personal interpretations of creation. Whatever the religion of the child, letting him express his ideas and creative interpretation of how things came to be helps him get in touch with his belief in a higher or Supreme Being.
Show gratitude for even the littlest things. When you set an example to your child on being grateful for life’s wonders no matter how simple or small they may be, you are nurturing in him a sense of appreciation for the good things in life.
Read stories that have moral lessons. Any tale that involves lessons on goodness and extending kindness or compassion to others shows a sense of interconnectedness with others. After reading to him, ask him what he would have done if he had been in a similar situation as the story’s characters. Encourage him to express his thoughts and harness these to explain values.
Introduce them to family observances. Letting your child witness and take part in family observances lets him establish his spirituality as a shared activity, or practice among loved ones. Make sure to explain to him why you observe and celebrate such occasions so he understands the higher purpose for them.
Teach him to “pray.” Prayer comes in many forms, and is practiced in different ways, depending on one’s faith system or religion. It is, in essence, anyone’s direct line to God or a person’s idea of a Supreme Being. Set aside time each day to pray with your child and let him “talk” to this invisible force in his own way.
These are just small ways and suggestions on how you may introduce a sense of spirituality to your child. No matter what religion you may have, what is most important is to set an example and express your spirituality in the best way you see fit as a parent.
SOURCES: • Marika Bende. “Spirituality for Kids” Qondio.com • Teri Cettina. “Teaching Spirituality to Kids” Parenting.com