How to Talk to Children about Spirituality
by guest author Chloe Trogden
Numerous studies have shown that there is a link between how spiritual people are and how happy they are. The same goes for even children. When people have a code of values and feel that there is a higher meaning to their life, they feel more fulfilled and more happy.
Of course, spirituality is not the same as religion, though it can be for many people. Instead, spirituality focuses on a sense of meaning. While it may seem intimidating to talk to children about such lofty ideas, it is important that you do so in order to help them develop their own sense of spirituality. Here are a few ideas for how you can talk to children about spirituality and spiritual growth:
Ask Kids What They Think About Spirituality
Start your conversations by asking your kids what they think about spiritual ideas. Ask them how they think the earth was created or whether they think that the family cat has a soul. Talk to them about what they think might happen after we die. Keep the conversation open, and just listen. It is important to help them think about these concepts and name their feelings – not necessarily to give them the answers. This kind of conversation will help them develop spiritually.
Make sure that you keep the conversation age appropriate. Very young kids may not yet have an understanding of death, for example.
Keep It Simple
Questions of the origin of life and the meaning behind it all are big and complex. Exploring the answers can be overwhelming even for adults. When talking with children, it’s best to keep the conversation simple. Here’s where it will help to listen to them talk and to be their guide in their spiritual development rather than jumping in with your own ideas.
Focus on simple concepts, such as fairness or togetherness. Talk about the importance of relationships as a way to instill meaning. You don’t have to tackle whether or not there is a god – and all the questions that inspires.
Talk about Connectedness
One of the principle components of spirituality is the concept of our oneness or connectedness – that all living things in the universe are connected as one, whether we understand how or not. You can explain this in terms that are age-appropriate for your child. For younger kids, you might talk about how we all have similar feelings, or how we all want to be treated well. As kids get older, you can explore more complicated concepts of togetherness, like the shared human experience or the fact that we are, literally, made of star dust.
Develop a Family Code of Values
You don’t have to believe in the Bible or any other holy book to have a moral code. You can develop your own family code of values, sharing with your child the things you believe. For example, you can say “This family believes in fairness” or “This family believes in being kind and helping others.” You can even write down this code and hang it in your home.
Read Books Together
Sometimes a good story can help to illustrate complicated concepts. Explore your local library for some age-appropriate books that explore spiritual growth and spiritual themes. Ask the librarian to give you some recommendations, and then preview each book before you take it home to read together. Reading together can help foster discussion and to explain complicated concepts.
Above all, don’t feel like you have to have all the answers – no one does. Just making the effort to have these conversations with your child can help to foster a sense of spirituality, which can help your child to develop a personal code of values as he grows.
How did you talk to your kids about spirituality and spiritual growth? Share your tips in the comments!
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Author Chloe Trogden is a seasoned financial aid writer and a major contributor at www.collegegrant.net. Her leisure activities include camping, swimming and yoga.
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