A cornerstone of Child-Centered Spirituality is this conviction: We are born with the capability to connect with the divine, and this activity is centered in our soul or spirit.
New York Times columnist David Brooks adds his observations about humanity’s innate spirituality: “Of course people are driven by selfish motivations—for individual status, wealth and power. But they are also motivated by another set of drives—for solidarity, love and moral fulfillment—that are equally and sometimes more powerful.”
I’ve summarized Brooks’ thoughts below and you can read his entire column here.
People have a moral sense.
“They have a set of universal intuitions that help establish harmony between people. From their first moments, children are wired to feel each other’s pain. You don’t have to teach a child about what fairness is; they already know. There’s no society on Earth where people are admired for running away in battle or for lying to their friends.”
People have moral emotions.
“They feel rage at injustice, disgust toward greed, reverence for excellence, awe before the sacred and elevation in the face of goodness.”
People yearn for righteousness.
“They want to feel meaning and purpose in their lives, that their lives are oriented toward the good.”
People are attracted by goodness and repelled by selfishness.
“NYU social psychologist Jonathan Haidt has studied the surges of elevation we feel when we see somebody performing a selfless action. Haidt describes the time a guy spontaneously leapt out of a car to help an old lady shovel snow from her driveway.”
“One of his friends, who witnessed this small act, later wrote: ‘I felt like jumping out of the car and hugging this guy. I felt like singing and running, or skipping and laughing. Writing a beautiful poem or love song. Telling everybody about his deed.'”
Your child’s spiritual development is vital. Your efforts are neither wasted nor ignored.
One of the things I particularly like about this column is Brooks’ way of communicating the universally recognized nature of morality. We all instinctively recognize it when we see it. He captures our natural yearning for good, which still recognizing how challenging it can be to live out. It’s not easy, but it is worth it… and so is teaching it to our children. Moral teaching fits with what they already know on an instinctive level and helps them make sense of the world.
Tweetable: Child-Centered Spirituality champions balance in our efforts to guide a child’s physical, spiritual, intellectual and emotional development. Here NY Times columnist David Brooks shares observations about spiritual (moral) development. Click to Tweet