Spirituality is a fundamental part of the human experience and a part of the heritage we pass down to our children. Regardless of religion, it instills in kids what will become their framework of ethics and personal conduct throughout their life.
Here are some simple ideas to help you develop spirituality in your children.
1. Teach children to believe in a Higher Power
. In our home, we teach our kids that they are children of God. This allows them to understand their relationship with God and that there is something greater than what they experience day in and day out.
2. Pray with your children morning and night, and help them pray on their own
This will bring them great comfort in times of trial and allow them to rely on someone superior to themselves.
3. Schedule one day a week to sit down as a family and talk about your religion or discuss spiritual questions.
When you share your beliefs with your children, you can help them to solidify their own. Make sure the discussion is open and free from judgment so your kids can address any doubts they may have.
4. Schedule time each morning for a short devotional
where you can read from your religious text or share a spiritual thought that your children can ponder throughout the day. When you start the day on a spiritual note, inspirational feelings will stay with your kids all day long and will be a benefit to them in difficult times.
5. Implement spiritual family traditions in your home and make those traditions more than just family getting together.
Explain to your children the significance of your religious holidays and why they are important to you. Lighting a menorah, observing Ramadan, or celebrating Christ's birth will create memories that will stay with your children long after they have left home.
6. Teach your children to be of good moral character
Teach them to value honesty, kindness, virtue, obedience, respect, compassion and courage. Not only will these characteristics aid them in becoming well-respected in their future endeavors, but they will provide greater unity in your family now.
7. Teach your children to serve others and provide service opportunities for them
Not only will this create family unity, but it will help your children understand that all people are connected.
8. Teach your children to keep a journal
Writing is very therapeutic. Through writing, your kids can ask and answer questions while working through their own thoughts and feelings. This will provide them many unique and personalized spiritual experiences. In addition, you may want to encourage kids to keep a gratitude journal. The journal can become a valuable motivator for them as they add to the list of things for which they are thankful, and a source of encouragement on days when life isn't so kind.
9. Learn meditation techniques and teach them to your children
This will give both you and your children time to ponder and unwind, allowing for a clearer head and an open mind.
10. Teach your children to do their very best at making right choices
Challenge them to be the best person they can be. Set a good example by being that person yourself. Goodness promotes goodness.
11. Teach your children to play the "glad game" in every difficult situation
If children can focus on what they are glad about, remembering the positive side of every situation, rather than the negative, they will have a better outlook on life. Being glad dispels negativity and will keep kids from closing their heart to others.
As you strive to develop spirituality in your children, you will realize that you are not only unifying your family, but you are building spirituality within yourself. Spirituality builds character and helps children realize that they are not the only person of importance in the universe. It can help them rely on a power greater than themselves and teach them to think about life and life's questions in a sensitive and thoughtful way. To help get your family on the road to greater spirituality, choose one idea from the list above that either you are not doing with your kids, or could be doing better, and begin working on it this week.