Skill #1:   Attentiveness: Notice spiritual activity in children.

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It occurs most often in the context of everyday life, but don’t overlook its presence here:

  1. Dreams
  2. Awe-inspiring activities
  3. Peace in hard times
  4. Out-of-control events
  5. Coincidences and unexplainable events

Skill #2:   Active listening: Engage the child in conversation about it.

  • Situation 1    Dreams – “As my son was going to sleep he said he was afraid to go to heaven because he didn’t know what it would look like. I told him to ask God to show him while he was asleep. When I followed up two days later he gave me a detailed description. I asked him if it took away his fears, now that he saw it, and he said yes.”
  • KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERASituation 2    Awe-inspiring activities: “For me, surfing helps. Just being in nature and contextualizing myself with the ocean as this immortal force, this elemental force. And then doing some sort of mindfulness meditation, I think yoga is a good starting point.”
  • Situation 3    Peace in hard times: “I was 6, maybe 7, when my pet cat died. I wanted to know where my cat went, why she couldn’t come back, etc. I was completely satisfied with my parents’ answers of “She went to Heaven.” God is watching over her now.” That’s when I realized there was some other higher being out there. I felt peace. I remember it distinctly. It was peace knowing that there was someone watching and caring for us that we couldn’t see or touch, but they were out there.”
  • 608743_59175138 UgandaSituation 4     Out-of-control events: One woman says, “When I was a child in Uganda I remember times when things were out of control and I didn’t expect anything positive to come out of it. My mother helped me recognize God when something good did come out of it.”
  • Situation 5    Coincidences and unexplainable events: “My teenage daughter called me to tell me that she had pulled a 10-year-old up from the bottom of the pool where she lifeguards. The next morning she said, ‘I couldn’t sleep last night, Ma. I kept thinking about that girl and what might have happened if I hadn’t rescued her. Nobody noticed she was lying at the bottom of the pool. Not even her own sister who was with her. I just can’t believe what happened.’ And I responded, ‘You did something extraordinary. You should feel incredibly good about yourself.'”

Skill #3:   Acceptance: Discern if the child wants information or empathy.

Pay attention to this distinction. Accept it either way and respond accordingly. The child in Situation 3 needs information about her cat. The child in Situation 5 wants understanding.

Tweetable: Good news. We use these same 3 skills with kids to develop either spiritual or emotional intelligence. Click to Tweet