We all know that kids can come up with very tricky questions as they grow up. And sometimes those questions are about the mysteries of life and spirituality. So if you are coming from one of the great religious traditions of the world, you may already have answers for those. But what if you don’t? What if you consider yourself spiritual but not religious? How do you start to answer these questions that your children come up with around death, life, God, the universe…
In this blog, we’re gonna talk about four different ways that you can raise more spiritually conscious kids.
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1. Personify the great mystery.
Choose a face of the divine that you feel comfortable with. It might be God or it might be universe, or it might be nature with a capital N. It might be the Great Spirit, it might be Mother Earth. It could be the divine Mother or the divine Father. You’ve seen this in my other blogs and I really drive this home in our Practical Spirituality training– it really helps you if you have your own foundation of a bonafide spiritual practice outside of religious tradition. If you’re interested in that, I’m taking a group through live this fall so check out those links below.
One of the things that’s challenging is you have to have a place to start. One of the reasons why we need to personify the divine, to have a figurehead for how we interface with this aspect of reality in a way, is that in some way, the divine is immeasurable. It would blow up our little minds to really understand and conceptualize the greatness of it.
So most world traditions figure out a face of that interaction that allows our human minds to sort of create a personalized relationship with this greater force. So number one is to personify and decide how you’re going to talk about this greater, wider force and knowing what that means to you.
2. Add rituals to your daily life.
The most important or easiest places to start are generally the bookends of the day when you wake up in the morning, when you go to sleep, and then ideally often when you’re eating. So if you don’t know what to do or you don’t have any particular spiritual practices that you feel aligned with, gratitude is a great place to start. You’ll notice that saying gratitude for things is very close to and a good way of connecting with the heart, outside of necessarily it being a Judeo-Christian grace or praying in those ways.
You could at meal say something like, “Thank you for this food. Thank you for all the people that prepared it.” Gratitude at meal times is a great practice and helps us create more mindfulness when we’re consuming food and ultimately encourages digestion at the bookends of the day.
Some ideas for morning, you can do things like greeting the sun. You can go outside together and face east and do a little bow to the sun. You can do your intention for the day. You can connect with nature in a way and see how the divine essence is flowing through that.
You can think about different people in your family and sort of connect with them in a heartfelt way, holding them in your heart. (Side note, energetically, if we’re holding other people, we always wanna be holding them in our heart space, which is more of the divine space versus sort of like holding them in our body, which is not really an appropriate energetic way and kind of creates energetic drain.)
So you can hold different people in the family, in your heart, feel grateful, and celebrate grateful things that happen in the day. This is also a great way to help kids in a mental way, to reframe and focus on what they’re grateful for. This will serve them as a lifelong skill.
3. Think about how you answer the big questions in life.
-What happens when you die?
-Why do people do bad things?
-Where do babies come from?
Two Very Different Stories
Growing up in my family, I was the oldest of all of the grandchildren. I had a lot of younger cousins growing up and I remember the example of two different cousins from two different families with two very different mothers.
And somehow we got into the story of where do babies come from? How do babies get born? And the one cousin from her family, her mom sort of got more of a Christian viewpoint of when God decides you’re ready, you know, he changes your body and the baby comes out and is born.
Another cousin got the story in her house that what happens when mommy has a baby is she goes to the hospital, they give you some medicine to go to sleep, they cut her across her belly and then take the belly out and take the baby out. So that was two quite different versions of stories that will lead ultimately, intentionally or not, to different worldviews in that child’s life. There’s no absolute right or wrong with anything in spirituality as well.
Judge By Results
So as you think about what you wanna create for your family and children, it’s good to pre-think a little bit about how you will answer these questions and what feels comfortable to you. And remember that you can always do a comeback card when your child has these questions. It’s not the easiest, but if you really feel stuck or you feel triggered yourself by the own question, you can always say, “Hey, that’s a really good question and you know, I wanna do a little thinking.” And then let’s talk about that and then give them an actual timeframe where you do come back. It’s not just a way to pass and avoid answering these questions, that creates a little bit of a suppression energy. But coming back and actually bringing up the conversation again and talking about it in a way still creates that cycle of being able to field and work on those things in yourself while also supporting your kiddos.
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4. Tips and ideas are just stories.
Stories are a great way to learn! I’ll put a link below to one of the books that I’ve found that is really quite lovely and has a variety of stories from across the world, spiritual traditions that hint on different sorts of spiritual principles and expose children in thoughtful, mindful ways to different ways of being and interacting with the divine.
5. Connect with your child’s experience.
This last one is a bonus. As you feel comfortable, when you’ve already taken the steps of personifying the great mystery and telling stories about it and bringing that into your daily life, you can start this advanced move. Start connecting this with your child’s experience. Use their experience of awe and gratitude and also challenge and difficulty to start to connect into what you are creating as the greater framework of why we’re here.
Nature Is Amazing
Start to use either challenging or really celebratory moments in life of being excited about something in nature. And then you reflecting of like, wow, this is how nature really is connected with us. It takes care of us, it gives us food, and it gives us comfort and it helps us to feel more relaxed. We can really connect and feel the energy of nature with also challenges explaining the difficult parts of life, whether it’s losing a soccer game or a toy getting lost, that sometimes things are very hard. But we can remember that the divine Mother is always with us in our hearts, that her love is really the most important. So even though it feels sad when we lose something or when a friend hurts our feelings, that we have this inner friend in our hearts of the divine mother or the divine father who is always with, with us and caring for us.
So as you start to connect these for your child in different ways, you help them also learn to regulate themselves in the wider picture. I hope this is helpful. If you have other tips, please leave them below.
These are ideas to get you started and if you are looking to formulate and really land in your own practical spirituality, I invite you to check out my Practical Spirituality training. It’s a really a wonderful fun time together where we go deep, not just in the mind, but also in experientials of how to go deeper in your system. And we debunk a lot of dogma and rituals around newness or meditation and help you find the landing place of a foundation where you feel really connected with what is in alignment with ancient spiritual principles. Remember the inner game, the inner world is what really creates our outer world.
Disclaimer: This program is not intended to be a substitute for professional mental health or counseling services. No practitioner-patient relationship is established and the training content is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and nothing here is intended to diagnose, cure or treat any disorders.