Spirituality is passed on from generation to generation. How can you help the important children in your life learn to offer strength of spirit to others?
Look at the peer counselor-mentor programs in schools.
In all the programs I studied, teachers select children to be mentors-helpers who display traits and qualities arising from the human spirit, like honesty, caring, tolerant of differences and interested in guiding others. They may help students make a smooth transition into a new school or increase acceptance of students with diverse needs.
A child’s experience of God is just as legitimate as that of an adult.
But passing along spirituality to others can be fraught with many pitfalls and misconceptions. So we show children how to do this appropriately through modeling, dialogue and encouragement.
Here are a few specific strategies for passing along spiritual vision to others.
Adapt them to fit your context and faith tradition.
- Because I take classes, read, and am active in a faith community, I demonstrate to the child that the spiritual journey is lifelong.
- I talk about and model my own life purpose with the child. The child has heard me describe very simply the essentials of my faith and what I believe God is like.
- When the child asks me questions about God, heaven, etc, I tell him or her what I believe to be true, add one differing viewpoint, then ask what the child thinks.
- I teach the child about the major world religions and their founders.
- I know the spiritual legacy I want to leave in the lives of my family and friends, and I am working toward that goal.
We must never try to force or convince, yet we must still be open to children and adults who are curious and seeking. After all, consider how grateful we are to those who shared their spirituality with us in positive ways. We needed their help and guidance and they were there for us. We can be there for the children in our lives as well, and we model for them how they can in turn pass that benefit on to others.
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