10 Principles for Spiritual Parenting: Encouraging and Honoring Your Child's Spirtual Growthby Mimi Doe
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In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, how do we, as parents, honor the spirituality of our children? As we shuttle between school, soccer practice, piano lessons, ballet lessons, birthday parties, and doctors' appointments, how do we find the time to encourage our children, through the ups and downs of growing up, to turn to God for guidance?
In 10 Principles for Spiritual Parenting, Mimi Doe and Marsha Walch open our eyes to the spontaneous, creative, freethinking joy that characterizes a child's innate spirituality. In ten easy-to-follow chapters containing exercises and practical suggestions, the authors point out that opportunities to express spirituality are abundant in our routine life. Talking at dinner, lighting candles, performing daily chores--all of these events have the potential to be sacred moments.
Contemporary parents face unique challenges: In our media-saturated culture, children are continually exposed to violence, cynicism, and a confusing code of ethics. By offering concrete ways to help children develop positive values, Mimi Doe and Marsha Walch support parents' efforts to counteract negative messages.
10 Principles for Spiritual Parenting is an invaluable guide for parents who yearn to help their children nurture a rich spirituality of their own.
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Read an Excerpt
KNOW GOD CARES FOR YOU
I get a warm feeling around my heart. That's how I know God cares for me. (Age seven)
Most children have clear ideas and images of God. They easily acknowledge that there is a sacred Higher Power. Our role as parents is to reinforce our children's natural acceptance of this Higher Power, by recognizing and supporting their unique understanding.
I think God is a blaze of light-a powerful force that is in my eyes and heart. (Age nine)
God's place is filled with all of the colors of the world mixed together. God brings that place to me sometimes and it makes me really happy. (Age six)
I envision "God" as a gigantic web of diamonds connected by gossamer threads of consciousness, slowly turning, created and fueled by infinite compassionate love, of which we (and all that we know) are a part. Usually I call "God" the "cosmic glue." (Age seventeen)
Children's true identities are expressed when they are connected with their inner guidance-God within them. This is their spontaneous, creative, innate way of being. As they grow older they often become focused on the external, physical world as their only reality and took outside themselves for happiness. As many of us have come to realize, the real fulfillment in life comes from our connection to the power of the universe, the power of God, and when we drift from this union we feel a great, often unnamed void. Our goal in this book and in our work is to help you help your children maintain that connection so they'll never have to experience this void.
Sometimes I sing "Oh Dear Lord" from Godspell when I'm on the playground because I don't have any best friends, so that song keepsme company. I feel friends in my heart but don't see them in my eyes. (Age five)
We explore God the same way we explore the spirit of another person-we spend time in God's presence, we watch our world for signs of God's spirit, we attempt to bring God's light into our decisions and actions, we read about others who are journeying closer to God, and we talk with those in our lives who are also seeking a close connection to spirit.
We grow up with God. He is with us when we aren't invited to the slumber party or when we are sitting in a "time-out" chair, when we wake up, and when we are dreaming. He won't leave us if we are naughty or fail to measure up to someone else's standards. God loves us even when we fail, especially when we fail, because God is our courage to try again. Nothing in our past, present, or future can keep God's stead fast love from us. When children know and trust in the everlasting and unconditional love from their spiritual parent, God, they will find healing, understanding, direction, peace, and support. What more could we ask for our children than to have them tuned into the source of all that is good?
Making a Connection
Children experience God in many ways. The relationship changes as they grow and evolve. To some children God is a white-bearded old man who judges them from heaven, while others hold a childhood image of God as an invisible pal. As children grow older their innocent acceptance of a loving God can become jumbled. They become accustomed to prizes, rewards, and goodie bags as symbols of affection and may begin to wonder where the wizard is in this God.
If we can bring our children's attention to a loving, constant, and available Source, perhaps they can feel a more comforting connection. An integral key to making this connection is to become aware of God's always available presence within. When children see themselves as part of this holy force, they understand God's power is inside them-they are divine, sacred beings.
I think that God is the sun because it is so powerful and always there when you wake up. It soaks into you and you don't even notice. (Age four)
When we witness children's naturally joyous and exuberant natures we glimpse the "wizard" at work-the shimmering White Light that fills us with great love. What a gift it is to see our children bring that love to one another. A family we know has two daughters, and the younger was having a hard time adjusting to her "big girl bed." She was worried she might fall out. One night the older sister tiptoed into her room and reassured her by telling her not to worry because "God puts a cover over the earth at night so we won't fall off The frightened girl was calmed.
To easily illustrate the light of God, use a flashlight. The flashlight is an ordinary-looking object that becomes bright and sends out a beam of light when it has a battery inside. We are like the flashlight, dark and plain, until we plug into the magical power of God's light; then we are brilliant and shining. We can see where we are going, and everyone can see us coming. With God as our battery we work-we are charged and we send out our own beams. We light up our world.
Remind kids of God's power-God is the ultimate "Super Hero." When we link with the power of God we have amazing courage. For us, as for the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, courage is always there; we just need to acknowledge it. It is exciting and empowering for kids to know they have immediate access to the Divine Mind, the creative Power of God.
They can draw as much power from this source as they wish. People aren't the power; we are only an avenue through which the power flows. just as cars use gasoline to run, we can fill up with God's energy and soar through our lives.
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Meet the Author
Minu Doe received her master's degree in education from Harvard. In addition to leading workshops on spiritual parenting, Doe is an award-winning television producer and is the cofounder of Pink Bubble Productions, a multimedia company dedicated to developing nonviolent, multicultural programming for children. Their first project, Concert in Angel-Land, aired on the ABC affiliate in Boston and is now available on home video. The coauthor of Drawing Angels Near: Children Tell of Angels in Words and Pictures, Mimi Doe lives in Concord, Massachusetts, with her husband and two young children.
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