Why would I choose to write about something as “off the beaten path” as spirituality in children?
Because it is possible that…
- Their spiritual foundation will spur them to actions that make the world a better place.
- A vibrant human spirit within can lead a young person toward career and vocation, toward contribution and purpose as he or she moves into adulthood.
- Their increased awareness of God’s loving, caring presence with them will reduce attempts to satisfy themselves through too much work, too much alcohol, too much escapism, too much of whatever would make them feel better– in the short-term.
- A faith community, while beneficial to many families, should not be viewed as a child’s primary source of religious or ethical instruction.
- One or two hours of religious education each week do not supersede a child’s daily working out of their real values and beliefs.
- We are the ones on the scene each day to encourage open dialogue and exploration as children engage in their own journeys of ongoing discovery.
Child-centered spirituality is a different way of guiding your child toward God.
It’s not just about teaching right and wrong. It is not dogma-centered. It’s not about indoctrination of your own ideas. The way to encourage children’s spirituality is found in opening yourself up to their world, in asking them questions and answering theirs, in listening.
It’s about honoring the spirituality that is already within them.
Research involving childhood spiritual development (also called moral development) has received considerable attention in recent years. For example, it is the focus of thirteen research projects cited in one New York Times article alone. This blog highlights observations and experiences through children’s eyes and the content is in alignment with current research findings as well. You’ll see citations periodically in blog entries that highlight this research.
God is spirit, but I use the male pronoun because it is what I encounter most often when people talk about God. You are free to substitute the female pronoun if you wish.
I’m Janet Logan and I want to tell you how I got myself into a website about children and spirituality. My ambition for excellence in childhood spiritual development began in my own childhood.
As a kid I never wanted to be anything but a schoolteacher. I felt innately driven to pursue it and received my Master’s Degree in Education at the University of Southern California, taking classes at night while teaching second grade during the day. Decades of teaching children, both inside and outside the classrom, has given me an ease in relating to them.
And for me, spiritual awareness was also a childhood instinct. My mom tells the story of asking me (as a 4 year old) what I was doing when I stopped riding my bicycle for a quick minute and folded my hands in my lap, to which I replied, “I was talking to God.” My parents honored what God had already placed within me and set about to learn how to meet my spiritual needs and desires. Many years later, I studied for and received a Certificate of Distinction as a Spiritual Director.
I gained knowledge and experience to speak out on issues of childhood spiritual development while working as a coach, a facilitator of kids’ support groups and then as a supervisor and trainer of facilitators for those groups.
I’m a big sports fan. I like to travel and explore new places. If I can find an industrial tour or off-beat museum while I’m there, so much the better. I volunteer at retirement communities and senior centers, facilitating discussion groups on finishing life well. Reading, including audio books, is a favorite pastime and I like to unwind at the end of the day chopping, mixing and fixing in the kitchen.
My husband and I have been married for over 40 years and live in the Southern California community of Pasadena, near two of our “adopted” grandchildren.
Tara Miller has been writing for 18 years while raising her children, now aged 14, 16, and 18. During that time she has co-authored four books, including Child-centered Spirituality: Helping children develop their own spirituality. She has also developed other written content and curriculum for clients. Tara lives in Denver with her husband and three teenagers.