“We are spiritual beings having a human existence.” said French mystic and philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. So, aren’t our kids naturally spiritual and there’s nothing left to teach or say? Why am I even suggesting we raise spiritual kids if our kids are already spiritual? We are all spiritual beings, but if as a parent we are not tuned into our spiritual natures, it’s highly likely that we are not guiding our little ones to tune into their spiritual natures.
Many of us start on our rebirth and our path of remembrance later in life due to a parent/child and cultural fear/control cycle (more on this cycle later) while we are still being parents to our little ones. If you have reached enlightenment and consider yourself a Master and guide your kids in your footsteps to seek their spiritual natures, then stop reading here and go share your experience. However, if you are a parent walking your path of rebirth and remembrance and desire to stop the fear/control cycle then stay tuned because this piece is for you.
If we as parents don’t first walk the path of transformation through rebirth and remembrance we won’t know the experience. When I speak of transformation, I am referring to transforming ourselves from a heart and mindset away from fear and control into our spiritual nature of love and expansion. If we don’t know this transformative experience as parents, then we won’t be authentic guides to our children about the soul shifting experience.
We can certainly read about others that have shared their soul shifting experiences and we can even teach from that external understanding. But, if we are going to have whole transformation, inspiration, and courage running through the life blood of our children, then being an authentic guide is the first step we must take to raising spiritual kids in the post-modern world.
I wrote about changing the parent/child formula in Changing the World Through Our Children, see the link here – https://www.solsenseyoga.com/2013/11/09/changing-the-world-through-our-children/
If you have not read that piece, take a look and start there first before you continue on with this piece. If we are already on our remembrance paths then what an honor and a blessing to have the company of our kiddos along for the joyful journey. We inevitably deepen our bond with our children when we consciously invoke spiritual practices in our family lives, but we also deepen our relationship to our highest Self and the Divine. That connection fuels us to brighten our soul lights even more.
You might be saying that I go to church, temple, mosque, or ashram (or fill in the blank) every holy day and I make my kids memorize and recite all the sacred texts, aren’t we spiritual already? Yes, you could be, but without presence and heart threaded through then it’s just another appointment you made and the sacred texts are nothing more than words without deep meaning. Spirituality is all about Divine experience and creative power. We must teach our kids to navigate our post-modern world to hold sacred and honor Divine experience and creative power.
Guiding our kids to connect to Divine experience and creative power are at the core of raising spiritual kids.
In order for us to guide kids to understand and appreciate Divine experience we must guide them in heart cultivation. I’m not saying that we are going to teach a 1 or 2 year old child heart cultivation and suddenly they will share their toys for the greater good of humanity. There are certainly biological developmental stages all of our kids will pass through and ego-centric is one of those stages. Many of us adults are still stuck in this ego-centric consciousness stage.
In fact, we all regardless of age pass through three major life consciousness stages – ego-centric, ethnocentric, and world-centric (for more information see Integral Spirituality). Our goal as parents is to guide them in the direction of a world-centric consciousness while honoring their biological developmental stages and the stages of consciousness they are growing through. When we honor something, we don’t force growth to happen, we allow things to organically bloom.
Around age 7-8, kids learn empathy and this is such a vital age to begin heart cultivation. Prior to that age, heart cultivation is a modeled experience for our kids. They learn heart cultivation from our words and our actions. Certainly our kids continue to learn from us through our own words and actions, but in addition to them seeing us as the model, we must guide our kids to experience heart cultivation in first person. We do this by giving them the creative opportunities to give to others. We must guide our kids to develop a love of giving. We must provide them with opportunities to make cards, special notes, food items, etc., for their friends and family on a “just because” basis.
Just because days are days that are not holidays or special celebrations, but days where we invite the extraordinary into the ordinary to show friends, family, and strangers in our life that what really matters in our lives is our connection to Divine love. The lesson we teach our kids is that our motivation to give doesn’t have to be preceded by an upcoming holiday, but just because we want to give. When we teach our kids to give on just because days we are guiding them in the ways of heart speak or heart cultivation.
We must consciously create opportunities for our kids to experience life outside of themselves or rather outside of the ego-centric view. There are many ways to do this. Maybe it’s cleaning out the closets and donating items together or perhaps as a family you purchase food for donations to food banks. You can also enter a race or activity together to raise money for an organization. The act of doing these things together brings up questions and curiosity about why, and these experiences propel our kids through the door of heart cultivation.
Raising spiritually conscious kiddos is more than just guiding them through heart cultivation. We must also teach our kids to tune in. We must teach them to tune in and make choices from our most amazing and highest Self. As conscious parents on our own transformative paths, we have an opportunity to teach our kids as best we can to tune in without value judgments attached to good choice/bad choice. Instead we can focus our attention on the law of cause and effect. This was the Buddha’s message when he said right thinking leads to right action. Mistakes will be made, but spirits will evolve. When we teach our kids to connect to creative opportunities instead of fear through the lens of cause and effect, we are teaching them critical thinking in life experience and providing them the opportunity to experience life full of joy.
Teaching our kids mindful breathing techniques is an invaluable resources and transformative, but it’s not the only resource. Our kids must feel safe to express their emotions at home and they learn to express emotions in a healthy and loving way when we give them the creative opportunity to do so. The best learning ground for this is expressing and discussing emotions together between parent and child. Kids will learn how to tune in emotionally through these experiences if we are conscious parents asking the right questions and owning our mistakes in conflict. When kids are able to connect to their own emotions in a safe space they are better prepared to connect to others’ emotions and are better able to connect the dots on how our emotions affect those around us and vice versa.
We also teach kids to tune in when we teach them about visualization and its effect on the mind and body. We must help our kids learn how to create loving images of themselves so they can call on them when their faith in their highest Self meets many stressors and is being tested. When we guide our children to tune into their highest Self on a committed and consistent basis – thinking, speaking, and acting from that place becomes as easy as breathing who we are, and at the core of that is love. It’s a challenging path to walk. But if we desire to live a whole and joyful life, we must walk the challenges and we must guide our kids to walk through the challenges.
Teaching our kids to move their bodies in healthy ways also helps them to connect to their visceral knowledge. Our bodies are made to move and when we guide our kids to move them in healthy ways we expand their avenues of gathering data, synthesizing, and knowing.
As we teach our kids to tune in, we are teaching them a master lesson – to experience and create from their Divine internal directional guidance system.
Shades of Gray
It’s essential to connect to our Divine internal directional guidance system in order to walk successfully through the many shades of gray we are faced with in our lives. As parents, we guide our children to face with love the many shades of gray we are blessed with and to forgo fear wrapped up in the black and white lens. As conscious parents, it’s vital we bring up hypothetical ethical scenarios to our kids and talk about the choices we can make and the consequences from those choices. This exercise is a parenting key in raising spiritually aware children and also helps integrate their brains horizontally. When we give our kids hypothetical ethical scenarios to think about, we are teaching them to tune in and think, say, and act from their whole Self (what I’ve been referring to as highest Self) and we are giving them the safe space to practice so when given the real life opportunities their natural inclination to respond will be from a place of love.
There are so many factors for any given life situation that what may be a healthy and loving choice for me or my kiddo, given a different set of circumstances may not be a healthy and loving choice for you and yours. Ethical discussions with our kids also help sharpen their heart language and critical thinking skills. Let’s teach our kids to think about life’s tough questions along a continuum instead of compartmentalized in box 1 and box 2 of the black and white lens.
Routine and Ritual
In our post-modern world, we have a lot of angles thrown our way. We are connected more than we ever have been and without reconnecting to our internal space on a daily basis the information overload can wreak havoc on our brains and bodies. It’s necessary to guide our kids to create healthy routines and rituals for themselves. They learn to do this when we give them the creative opportunity to experience rituals and routines in their lives. To fully experience and be in the flow of the Divine’s grace, our human bodies and minds must be distilled with ritual and routine.
Teaching our kids yoga, meditation, and other mindful techniques are wonderful. Family prayer is powerful too. Let’s teach our kids these things not in fearful rigidity, but in the graces of Divine love. Requiring our kids to engage in daily meditation might not be the best avenue for some kids. Guiding our kids to move beyond their comfort zones we must do, but forcing a habit into their lives crosses a healthy and loving boundary. For some kids the power of routine and ritual is manifested in the experience of life with the parent and child. One of my favorite examples is dinner time. When we get our kids involved in dinner time creation it’s one of the most spiritually joyful practices we can experience together with our kids.
When our kids help with the nutritious creations we make together, we empower them not only with independence, but we empower them with love created by community. We teach them that the love that goes into our food will go back directly into our bodies to cleanse our bodies and our minds so we can be better tuned into our highest Self. At the dinner table we have the opportunity as parents to teach our kids about honor – honor for our blessed experiences and our food. We also have the opportunity to teach them why honoring our food is a choice that creates joyful experience. The dinner table is a time when we can invoke and give thanks and blessings to and for the Divine love in our life. The energy invoked and created at the dinner table is carried forth with us into the evening. The energy created at the dinner table also becomes part of our spirits and we wake up to that the next day.
Dinner time is a time to experience and create in beauty together. Breakfast is another great time of day where we imbibe spiritual tenets through everyday living. Eating breakfast together is another great way to create family intent and set the tone for the day. There’s also power in the ritual of bed time where we send signals to our body that it’s time to rest and integrate the experiences of the day. Sharing stories with our kids isn’t just a ritual to share with our young children, it can be an established ritual well into the teen/tween years. Perhaps you have an established religious or an established spiritual ritual or tradition you partake in together on a consistent basis and of course stick to these wonderful experiences.
God gifts us with extraordinary gifts in the ordinary. Extraordinary joy is a state of being that can be accessed anywhere and at any time. There’s a lot for our kids to learn an connect to temples, churches, mosques, and ashrams, but let us not forget and fall short in the things in our lives that hold some of the most powerful spiritual gifts and lessons – our everyday experience and creative power.
Routines and rituals are like the soil in which our spirituality blossoms. When we feed routine and ritual with nutrient rich foods, our everyday lives organically bloom into Divine creations.
Raising spiritual kids in the post-modern world is about teaching our kids to enjoy modernity’s technologies, but also disconnecting to reconnect to our Divine internal directional guiding system. We teach our kids to disconnect when we guide them in heart cultivation, tuning in techniques, actively and consciously discussing shades of gray, and embodying these actions in our everyday routine and rituals. Our routines and rituals are the thread that holds it all together.
Tying It All Together
So, yes, indeed we are spiritual beings having a human existence, but until we learn and guide our children to learn that we must distill our minds and bodies to clear the path for our spirits we live in fearful and muddied waters gasping for our spirits to come to life. If we don’t guide our kids to learn some of the things I’ve discussed here, our minds and bodies get the muddy fuzzies as I tell my kiddos – the given and chosen ones. The muddy fuzzies are just like when a window is muddy, it’s hard to see through. It’s vital to joyful living that we work diligently to keep it clean and clear. And in this case, we must work to keep our minds and bodies free from fear and control. It’s necessary to teach our kids to view life from their highest Self. How will they know they are leading life from their highest Self? Because they can FEEL it. It’s visceral knowledge. They will be able to feel the deep love within.
I’ve just given a few ways to guide our children to connect to their amazing spirits in all they do. There are infinite more ways to raise our kids with spiritual awareness. Raising kids with spiritual awareness is a process, but in that process, let us not lose sight of the experience in creative process.
Raising spiritual kids in the post-modern world is about guiding our children to become critical thinkers, to navigate a new way of seeing, and to value and honor Divine experience and creativity.
As conscious parents, let us guide our children to open the love letters within and read them through joyful creative experience.
“We are all of us born with a letter inside us, and that only if we are true to ourselves may we be allowed to read it before we die.” ~ Douglas Coupland
Om Shanti Om ~ Athea