food explorationWhen two of our nieces were small, they and their parents would get together with us about once a month and it always included a meal. When it was my turn to cook, I made lots of recipes not in the girls’ normal diet. On the drive to our house, their mom would play a guessing game with them, which she says was a high point of the drive—What kind of meat do you think we’re going to have? salad? dessert? Their mother was preparing them to try new tastes and textures, and to eat, with gratitude, whatever was put before them.

The power of diversity

exploration abroad“Diversity gives the brain a powerful workout. And, just like a physical workout, it can be incredibly good for us,” says Julie Van de Vyver, assistant professor of Psychology at Durham University.

We may tend to gravitate toward people with whom we share life experiences and values, but Julie goes on to say, “When people are exposed to a more diverse group of people, their brains are forced to process complex and unexpected information. [We see this in] teens who study abroad and demonstrate enhanced creativity.”

Take the same attitude toward spiritual exploration.

As adults we need to develop and guide children’s innate spirituality. We encourage open dialogue and exploration as children engage in their own journeys of ongoing discovery—even it if makes us uncomfortable, and even if we run the risk of them coming to different conclusions from our own. Our role is not to make their choices for them—which we cannot do anyway—but to guide them in their own unique process of spiritual development.

Some ideas–

  • Read books or watch movies about children with different religious backgrounds from your family.
  • Welcome friends to share your religious holiday traditions and then switch and participate in theirs.

Opening ourselves to new experiences can seem hard to do, but it can help children cross divides and create a feeling of connectedness with others and with the divine.

* Inspiration for this post here.

Tweetable: Reflections on the power of diversity, even in spiritual exploration with children. Become an advocate for them to form their own expressions. Click to Tweet