This is an odd topic for a blog. I’ve never seen one quite like it before. Why would I even choose to write about something as off-the-beaten-path as spirituality in children?
I just know how emotional I get when I hear stories about the triumph of the human spirit: a person saving someone’s life, an artist’s creation, kindness and goodness shown. I’m not the only one out there who is moved by that stuff. The seeds of these triumphs were planted long before they actually happened. We see them in children all the time, even in a newborn’s face.
From childhood I was aware there was a God. My mother swears this is true: She watched me out the front window of our duplex when as a four-year-old I suddenly stopped riding my bicycle and sat quietly on the bike seat with my hands folded. Later when she asked me what I was doing I told her I was talking to God.
As an adult, I have heard much discussion among parents about the ways their infants and young children are developing. What I’ve not heard much at all is conversation about the spiritual development of children. How does the human spirit develop and how can we see children through the lens of spirituality? Likely this area hasn’t been talked about as much because spirituality is such a difficult thing to “discuss.” It’s hard to pin down. It’s hard for people to agree on. It’s hard to articulate. And yet we usually know it when we see it.
What I hope to explore in this blog is how caregivers can play an important role in meeting the needs of a child’s human spirit. Given the well-known facts of human biology and psychology, parents meet the needs of their infant for nourishment, nurture, attachment, trust and security. Where I hope to focus is on how caregivers can also play an important role in meeting the needs of the child’s human spirit.
For example, just yesterday a friend told me her four-year-old son asked her—with open curiosity—“What does God do all day?” My friend really had to think about how to answer that. Even though she has her own beliefs about God, she’d never thought about that question.
If a four-year-old asked you that question, how would you answer it? What kind of internal response would you have?