A cushion, candle and cup of tea, ready for quiet time

Nurturing Ourselves to Nurture Our Children

As you know, the name of my blog is Nurturing Little Souls.  An important part of nurturing our “little souls” is nurturing their natural spirituality.  Helping them to recognise and develop their spiritual connection is a gift we can give our children that will enable them to live fully, with authenticity and peace.  The idea of being able to give this to my boys is exciting but, I used to feel very unsure how to go about it – so I started writing my blog to figure out the “hows”.  A few months into writing, I realised that it’s not as complicated or mysterious as I first thought and I actually wrote a post called Relax, It’s Simple.

Deeper into my spiritual parenting journey now, I’ve realised how important it is to nurture my own soul in order to nurture my children’s.  During the recent school holidays, I struggled to find quiet time for myself to connect.  I usually spend time alone each day either before my family wakes in the mornings or during Thomas’ afternoon naps.  But I was tired, needing to sleep in a little longer, and I didn’t have Thomas’ nap time to myself because Jake was home off school.  My parenting suffered in various ways from not taking time for my spirit.  I don’t say this to judge myself, I accept that my usual routines can’t all stay in place during the holidays, but it has helped me to understand more fully that nurturing my own soul is essential to my parenting.   Here are 3 reasons why –

 

1. TO BE AN EXAMPLE TO MY CHILDREN

I know I sound like a broken record when I say that our example is our most powerful tool as parents – but, it’s the truth.

“Children learn more from what you are than what you teach”. – W.E.B. DuBois

When I have spent time attending to my own spirituality, I am a much better example of Love for my boys.  Having connected with Love/The Universe/God, I invite its power into my days and find myself recognising and taking more opportunities to be compassionate, trusting and grateful, for example.

I am also giving my children an example of a spiritually-led way of life.  Jake, the next to rise in the mornings after me, comes downstairs to where I am in the lounge and he knows I’ve spent time praying and writing – two of my main spiritual practices.  During the day, I sometimes share a spontaneous moment of gratitude with my boys or invite them to say a short prayer with me when we hear bad news. It’s not that I want them to live my way, they must find their own, but to know that they can include Spirit in the way they live their lives.

 

2. TO HAVE PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE & EXPERIENCE TO SHARE

Life is full of big questions and children are great at asking the tricky ones!  Having had a recent death in the family, Jake has had a lot of interesting questions for me.  Over the past few years, we’ve also had great conversations about the nature of God/Love/Source and intuition, for example.  If I had not had some experience of these things myself, I wouldn’t have anything meaningful to offer Jake.

I’m interested in introducing my boys to meditation  as I know it can be a great tool for letting go, relaxing and tuning into Spirit.  The thing is, I don’t do much of it myself.  I know I don’t need to be an expert to be able to offer it to my boys, but I’m fumbling to explain it or to suggest practices that are accessable for their ages because I don’t know it well enough myself.  So, first step, commit to regular mediation myself.

Having said this, I think it is absolutely okay to reply “I don’t know” to some of our children’s questions or to frame our answer as a hypothesis.  We can’t possibly know it all.  With older children, we could even write down our questions and endeavour to find some enlightenment together.

 

3. TO FILL OURSELVES UP SO WE HAVE SOMETHING TO GIVE OUR CHILDREN

It’s the old “you can’t give what you don’t have” scenario.  Nurturing my spirit fills me up and my capacity to be patient, non-judgemental, present and creative with my boys expands.  I also find I get more information intuitively about what they need from me when I’ve taken time to connect.   Another benefit of taking time to journey inwards is that it helps me to be more aware of my pain points, fears etc so I don’t take them out my boys.

 

IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW WE NURTURE OUR SOULS

How we fill ourselves up really doesn’t matter, as long as it works for us.  Praying and writing are my first choices and, as I’ve said, I am going to meditate more often.  I also sing to my favourite songs as I cook, do my nails or sort the plastics cupboard in the kitchen – sometimes, I just need to do something fun and frivilous which takes me out of my head and brings me to the present.  I do lots of different things and my style is to follow what I feel I need, rather than have a set-in-stone routine.

From my experience, it seems that consistently taking time alone is more important than how long we actually spend.   So I’m learning, also, to take the short moments available to me in a busy day to quiet my mind and sense Spirit within and around me.  When a spare minute arises, I’ve stopped reaching for my phone and instead take the opportunity to just be.  When I’m taking my morning shower, I use the time to chat to God, instead of to plan the day ahead.  When I’m stuck in traffic, I notice my surroundings and what it feels like just to be where I am in that moment.  When I haven’t been able to begin my day connecting in the ways that I like to, I can at least find small moments to remember my Spirit.

 

IN SUMMARY – YOU’RE WORTH IT!

I think it’s fair to say that our lives are often not well set up for taking quiet time and it is really something we have to  intentionally carve out for ourselves or, at least, grab for ourselves when an opportunity arises.  Taking care of ourselves is really taking care of our families.  I think many of us can be resistant to taking Spirit time because it feels luxurious and, sometimes, selfish when there’s a family to look after.  Let’s do it anyway.  I’m finding that the more I do it and the more I see the benefits, the less guilty I feel.  Also, we’re worth it.

 

Much love to you and your little souls,

 

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