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But I’m Not “Spiritual Enough” to Teach My Children about Spirituality

When I first decided that I wanted to get intentional about nurturing my boys’ spirituality, one of my greatest concerns was that I wasn’t up to the job because I wasn’t “spiritual enough” myself.  What would I teach them?  How would I go about it?  I had a lot of questions and not many answers.  Perhaps you’ve felt this way yourself about spiritual parenting, either now or in the past?

 

WHY I THOUGHT I WASN’T SPIRITUAL ENOUGH

When people hear the word spirituality, I think one of two stereotypes typically spring to mind – either religion or a more “new age” spirituality, characterised by such things as energy healing, crystals and meditation.  But neither of these approaches were a part of my own spirituality when I first started thinking about spiritual parenting.

As a young girl, I had been quite fascinated by religion, wanting to find comfort in it as my grandmothers seemed to find in their Christianity.  But I didn’t have positive experiences with religion and, as an adult, I concluded that it separated me from my spirituality more than it connected me to it.

I also had no special intuitive abilities and was quite sceptical about whether crystals, as beautiful as they were, could have any kind of power.  I hadn’t tried meditation even once before my boys were born.

I knew better than to reduce spirituality to two stereotypes but, as a mother, I kind of wished I had found a tradition to follow because it would’ve provided me a curriculum of sorts to help me when it came to teaching my boys.   Also, I would likely have been involved in a community of like-minded people who could help me in the task.  Without these things, I didn’t know where to start.

I also felt that my life up until parenthood wasn’t a great example of faith and love.  Who was I to teach someone else about spirit-centred living?   My spirituality had been little more than a background niggle for most of my life and I’d spent the majority of my 30-something years floundering in fear. My past was full of messy bits which certainly did not provide the kind of model I wanted to give my boys.

 

FINDING MY WAY

I’ve kept a journal since I was an earnest, anxious 14 year-old.  Writing has always been my way of making sense of things.  So to figure out how to nurture my boys’ spirituality, I started writing this blog.  Taking the time to write regularly on the subject of spiritual parenting helped me to become deliberate about my own spirituality as well as my boys’.  As I wrote, I realised that the essence of my spirituality and the power of my parenting wasn’t in the shape of my particular beliefs & practices, or in a perfect past, but in my willingness to be on the journey alongside my boys.

Having set the intention to give my boys spiritual guidance, my heart began to expand towards all things of a spiritual nature.  The Universe replied by gifting me some beautiful experiences which have helped me to see that anything and everything has spiritual significance if we’re willing to see it.  I was deeply moved when a friend shared the aliveness of her Christian faith with me and I saw that religion can be a path to sincere connection.   Another supportive friend gave me crystals to help me in my spiritual parenting work – they’re here on my desk as I write.  I have received deep encouragement through my first experiences of intuitive readings, given by my hairdresser who has the ability to see things I don’t.  I’m feeling the pull of meditation more and more these days, too.  There are opportunities everywhere to experience my own spirituality and to help my boys tune into theirs’ – Life is our curriculum.

And, as for my past, the messy bits have become pointers towards the truth.  Looking back on them without judgement, I can see that they were the lessons I needed to learn.  Those difficult experiences have provided contrast, showing me what I don’t want so I can focus on what I do want to create in my life instead – essentially, more Love.  Rather than avoiding the messy bits in my history, I can use all that I have learned to help me in life and in parenting.

So it seems my spirituality is in my open heart – my sense of connection to that magnificence that is both within & beyond me, my willingness to let Life teach me, my growing capacity to truly love another, and my ability to have faith where logic does not reach.  These are the things I think we all have the capacity to pass on to our children and whether we do so in the context of a religion, a “new age” practice or something else, is not important.

“Being spiritual has nothing to do with what you believe and everything to do with your state of consciousness.” ― Eckhart Tolle

 

CONCLUSION

I share my journey here to encourage you that you are up to the job.

The truth is that we are all spiritual beings so it goes without saying that we’re all “spiritual enough” to provide our children with spiritual guidance.  Just the decision to connect with that Divine part of ourselves and of our children is enough.  Once I committed to my boys’ spirituality and used the tool that came naturally to me (writing), I saw the opportunities all around me to “nurture their souls”.  It didn’t matter that I didn’t have a tradition to follow or a history of solid connection myself.

We don’t need to tell our children what to believe or what to do.   We just need to show them that they can choose to connect and encourage them to find their own ways of doing so.  My blog post Why We Can’t Pass Our Spirituality Onto Our Children may be a useful read from here.

 

Much love to you and your little souls,

 

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Spiritual Kids E-Course – A Tool Box for All Spiritual Parents

While I’m always on the look-out for natural opportunities to bring spirituality into conversation with my family, I sometimes struggle to engage my boys and bring the ideas to life.  So, when I came across Christina Fletcher’s Spiritual Kids E-Course (Building the foundations for the spiritually aware family), which included activities for parents to do with their children, I was keen to try it out.

Delivered to my inbox weekly over 6 weeks, the course was manageable for our busy family.  Each week, there was a short video for parents to explain the week’s topic, a workbook full of practical ways to share the ideas with our children and, sometimes, a meditation.  Although the course has an easy-to-follow structure, it is designed as a “toolbox” of ideas and activities to dip into as needed.  I have only just finished the course but have already watched some of the videos more than once and used course activities to help me respond to things that have come up in our family.  This speaks to the relevance of the material and I know I will be dipping in regularly!

Christina’s invitation is to “play” with the activities of the course.

“Spirituality, believe it or not, is meant to be enjoyed and lived, and not seriously forced upon us”. – Christina Fletcher

The playfulness of many of the activities make them engaging for parents and children alike! They include crafts, reflective activities, meditations, stories and poems.  Christina understands that children need fun, varied ways to engage and that their attention spans can be short.  Designed for 3-13 year-olds, there are activities suitable for all children in this age range and they be can used over again as needed.  One of the weekly topics was An Introduction to Meditation, an area I was particularly interested to get tips on as I’m a “beginning meditator” myself.  I was able to teach my 6-year-old a simple breathing meditation, which he has asked to do again more than once.  I got some great ideas for “meditative activities” to do with my 3-year-old to introduce him to the idea of taking some quiet time to be with himself.

Christina has set up a Facebook group for parents using Spiritual Kids to share ideas & experiences and ask questions as they use the course materials.  She is actively involved in this group, ready to help in any way she can.

The Spiritual Kids course, is helping me to make spirituality more dynamic and alive in our home.  I am becoming more tuned into myself & my children and am better able to help my boys to tune into themselves.  Christina has created this course with a full heart, sharing her wisdom in a way that allows families to bring their own perspective to the content and activities.  It is both accessible for families who are new on their spiritual path and insightful in a way that will  enrich the spiritual connection within families further along on their journey.

I got even more than I expected from Spiritual Kids – and my expectations were high because I love Christina’s work!  It is an incredible resource and I am excited to see how it continues to deepen the spiritual connection within my family. For anyone looking for a way to shift from just talking about spirituality with their children to bringing it to life, the Spiritual Kids E-Courseavailable here at spirituallyawareparenting.com, will get you started and sustain your journey together.

 

Much love to you and your little souls,

 

29/8/17 – Since writing this review in May, I have purchased other products created by Christina for my personal use.  As a keen user and supporter of her work, Christina has recently invited me to participate in an affiliate program.  I share her offerings with you gladly, knowing from personal experience the incredible value they give to parents and their children.

 

For more support bringing spirituality to life in our family, subscribe to Julie’s weekly Nurturing Little Souls Newsletter.

 

 

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Why We Can’t Pass Our Spirituality Onto Our Children

When I realised that it is not for me to pass my spiritual beliefs and practices onto my children, I was disappointed.  My understandings and ways of doing things work for me, helping me to be loving, strong and joyful, and I want my boys to feel loving, strong and happy.  But I would not be doing my job if I presented my way as the only way.

 

WHY NOT?!

One of our central roles as parents is to nurture our children’s natural spirituality so that they may experience guidance and support in their lives.  To do this, we need to help our children to find what works for them, not to copy what works for us.  This is, indeed, a divine assignment!  If we try to “convert” our children to our own style of spirituality, they may follow us because they feel they should but possibly without ever truly connecting with Love/God/The Universe.

The nature of spirituality is that it is felt with our spirits, not intellectualised with our minds.  We, therefore, cannot just present our children with a set of ideas to believe or practices to do.  We need to provide our children with a range of view-points and ways to practise – opportunities for their spirits to find what helps them to connect.

 

MY TRUTH VS THE TRUTH

Here’s a distinction that I made recently in a moment of quiet while brushing my teeth one hectic morning.  My truth is what works for me.  My truth points me in the direction of the truth, though it could turn out to be less accurate than the truth.

Truth resonates.

If something resonates with our soul, it’s going to work for us.  That resonation is Spirit leading us along our path.  Each person is wired differently so our ways of understanding and connecting with Life will differ.  Even beliefs that turn out to be “false” may serve our spiritual path. Being “right” is less important than connecting.  The intention to love and be loved is enough.

When all’s said and done, all roads lead to the same end. So it’s not so much which road you take, as how you take it. – Charles de Lint

 

SO WHAT CAN I PASS ON, THEN?

What we can pass onto our children is a commitment to their own true path and an openness to others’.  We can steer them inwards to help them recognise their truth.  I have started guiding my son to use what “feels good/right” as his compass of sorts in life.  It can be applied to so many things, including the way he treats others, the way he spends his time and the way he experiences his spirituality.  I am directing him to look inward, rather than to me.

Our own point-of-view isn’t irrelevant, though.  We can share it without insisting on it.  We can invite our children to join in with us so that they may try our beliefs and practices on for size.  My boys are only 3 and 6 years old so they take what I say as truth right now.  But I know that won’t last forever! – and I look forward to exploring other ideas and being spiritual adventurers together.  I’m willing to explore with them things that don’t personally work for me too.  It is important for my boys to see that my heart is open, always ready to grow some more and always respectful of other people’s perspective.

 

IN SUMMARY – SHINE THE LIGHT ON THEIR PATH

Spirituality is a personal experience.  It is guided by internal resonance, by Love.  We need to respect our children’s unique life journey and support them by shining the light on their path, not our own.  I am excited about my boys finding a spirituality that works for them and brings them love, strength and joy as mine does for me.

 

Much love to you and your little souls,

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Earthquake: Shaking up Faith & Gratitude

It was a sleepless night.  Much of New Zealand had been woken by a significant earthquake and every shiver and jolt of an aftershock had us wondering if there was something even larger to come.

My son, Jake (5 years old), had slept through the main earthquake but my husband and I had woken him in order to get him to a safer place in the doorway.  So he was awake for some of the aftershocks that followed and was anxious that the ground beneath him was no longer stable.  He asked me to sleep in his bed with him for the rest of the night.  Of course.

As we lay there in the dark, the questioning began.  “Mum, will there be more earthquakes?”  “Will they be big?”  “What if there’s a volcano?” (a budding volcanologist, he had read in one of his library books that earthquakes can create volcanoes).  His worst-case-scenario thinking was in full swing.

I desperately wanted to assure Jake that there was nothing to worry about.  I wanted him to feel safe and to sleep peacefully.  But I knew that the earth could prove me wrong at any time if I made promises I shouldn’t.   And I knew that children shouldn’t be protected from the truth – they should know the world as it is and be supported in handling life as it really is. When answering Jake’s questions, I erred on the more favourable side of the answers, “there probably won’t be another big one.”  But I also conceded – “I don’t know for sure”.

There’s so much about life we don’t know for sure.  I had to admit to Jake that I can’t guarantee that our home and our lives won’t be disrupted, maybe devastated, by a future earthquake.  In a way, I felt that I was contradicting all I have been trying to show him about having faith in life and the comfort that faith can bring.  I didn’t want to take that away from him.

Later in the week, I got talking to other parents about how they had been supporting their children through the quake and it’s aftershocks.  One mum spoke of showing her daughter that their family was prepared and ready to handle an earthquake.  They had got out their Civil Defence kit and discussed their safety plans so she could see for herself that their family was prepared.  I was reminded that having faith is not trusting that it’ll all be ok according to our own idea of what “ok” is (in this case, no more large earthquakes).  Having faith is trusting that we will be able to handle whatever happens.  Faith is also practical.  We do our bit (prepare the Civil Defence kit, have plans in place etc) and let go of that which we can’t control.

The earthquake has provided opportunity for many spiritual lessons for myself and my family.  I’ve not delved into all of them with my boys as I don’t want to spend too long focusing on the earthquakes.  One thing we did do on the morning of the first earthquake was to offer a prayer of thanks for the safety of ourselves, loved ones and others.  We also asked that those who were worse off than ourselves because of the quake be comforted and receive the help they needed.  When I put Jake to bed that night, we each shared one thing we were grateful for (as we do) and he said he was grateful for our safety.  Gratitude is available every time.

 

Much love to you and your little souls,

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