Some adults say they are not religious, but that they are spiritual. So, my question for all of us to ponder today is how we make our religion and/or our spirituality evident to our children through ACTIVITY? A child is about DOING. How does your child see you express your religious and spiritual views? Do you even know what these are? And, if not, can you figure them out?
I like what Donna Simmons has to say in her Third Grade Syllabus regarding festivals: “It seems right to me that as a child develops a new relationship to authority and to his sense of self and place in the world, hallmarks of the Nine Year Change, he needs opportunities to deepen his relationship to the spiritual worlds. And what is most important is that this take place via you, your family and your community. Your child needs to see his parents and significant adults standing strongly in their beliefs. It might be that some day your child’s path takes her quite some distance from your beliefs, but her first steps need to start from standing firmly beside you.”
I urge you to make one of your projects this summer to explore your own religious and/or spiritual beliefs – really figure out what resonates with you! Then, can you use the summer to explore places of worship or other venues where you can be with people who have the same spiritual beliefs you do? But the catch is this: that place, that venue should also be a community in which your children can participate. Yes, this has to be something the family participates in, the child participates in, and something the child can see and do.
The other catch is that you cannot bring your adult perfectionism to the table or your past experiences. Pick what resonates with you from a clean slate and leave your baggage behind! Try it!
Children need this place of religious and spiritual orientation to start from. Give them that boat to start in and show them which way to paddle. If in the future, if they decide to throw away the oars and jump off the boat, that is okay – but you at least are giving them a place to start.
A great meditative summer project! Would love to hear what happens!