“What is spiritual parenting?” – Well, that’s a big question?! Ultimately, we must each answer it for ourselves but I’d like to share my definition with you in the hope that it might help you to clarify yours.
THE PURPOSE OF SPIRITUAL PARENTING
For me, spiritual parenting is parenting with the intention to empower our children to be the unique individuals they are intended to be. This definition rests on my belief that we are all spiritual beings who come here to Earth with a purpose – a contribution to make and lessons to learn. It is when we are aligned with our purpose that we truly thrive. I want my boys to fulfil their souls’ purpose and I want them to thrive so spiritual parenting is an obvious choice for me.
Letting Go of Other Intentions
The first step of spiritual parenting may be the hardest. It is to put aside our own agendas to allow the divine agendas for our children to unfold. These are some of the intentions we may need to let go of –
for our children to be who we wish we could be eg. “I want him to be more confident than I am”.
for our children to be mini versions of ourselves eg. “She’s going to be a piano player like I am”.
for our children to be socially-acceptable eg. “If he doesn’t play sport, he’ll never fit in with the other boys”.
for our children to be our trophies eg. “Everyone will think I’m a great parent because she has perfect manners”.
Once we have released these kinds of motives, we quickly realise that our intention to support our children in being the people they were divinely intended to be affects almost everything! This morning, I took my youngest to kindy dressed in his Paw Patrol pyjamas and my eldest to school in the same clothes he wore yesterday…and the day before. I had to leave my ego (which fears judgement and craves approval) at home. This appears to be a relatively inconsequential example but these everyday choices to allow our children to be who they really are show them that we value and encourage their truth.
HOW TO DO SPIRITUAL PARENTING
Having prioritised our children’s authenticity, we can turn our attention towards how to help them be themselves. The biggest part of this is to honour and nurture their spirituality. Our spiritual connection with Life helps us to make the best choices for ourselves. Faith gives us the courage and strength to live out the guidance we receive. If our children know how to recognise spiritual guidance and support, they will more easily find and follow their own unique paths.
At first, I wasn’t confident I was up to this task as I felt I was still early on my own spiritual path. But one thing that made it less daunting was to remember this – children arrive spiritually aligned. So it’s not that we need to teach them to “be spiritual” but to find ways to maintain their natural spirituality.
There is no fixed way to do this. My approach is to explore together and follow my children’s lead. I believe they will show me what they need and what resonates with them if I am paying attention.
We can invite our children to join in with our own spiritual practices & beliefs but must remember that the real goal is to help them to find what works for them.
For example, I like to begin my day with prayer. Sometimes I don’t get to pray first thing so I invite my son to join me in prayer as we drive to school. We call it our “morning prayer”. I use the same words each time I say it, perhaps adding in details relevant to the day ahead. My son likes to listen and join in with the “Amen”. One day, he might choose to say the prayer himself, using the simple script I’ve created or his own words.
IN SUMMARY: HIGH INTENTIONS & ORDINARY MOMENTS
The phrase “spiritual parenting” can sound a bit lofty but it is not perfect parenting. There are plenty of times when my family’s behaviour (including my own) is decidedly “unspiritual”. Spiritual parenting is everyday and practical – we’re all dealing with dirty nappies, squabbling siblings, hectic mornings and poor table manners, no matter what our intentions! Spiritual parenting is deciding to use the ordinary moments to find out more about our children and show them how to bring forth who they truly are each time. Begin with a big, open heart and you’ve made a great start!
Much love to you and your little souls,
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This post was first published as a guest post on the blog at kidsmindbodyspirit.com. Kids Mind Body Spirit is an online directory of holistic services and resources for children, parents and educators.