Encouraging children to be spiritual

spiritual-spirituality meaningspiritual gifts-Children-God-Religion-universal love-stress-anxiety-stress-depression- anger-hate-jealousy- suffering -misery

While children are taught moral education and other different subjects in schools, including mythological and religious stories, besides disciplines like languages, sciences, math, there is no focus on spirituality. Unfortunately, people tend to confuse religion with spirituality. But spirituality is different from religion. Spirituality is a way of life. It is beyond religion. Religion is only the kindergarten of spirituality. Religion teaches us the ABC of God, it introduces God to us at an early age. It helps build faith. By giving God a form, as religion does, it can help a child connect to God. Religion also provides us with a certain moral and ethical framework that we can live by, but it stops at that. Spirituality is beyond religion. Spirituality is the science of the spirit. It helps us realize the truth. It helps us realize who we are, who God is, what the purpose of life is and how we can attain it. We realize that we are not the body, mind and ego but the Soul. That God is not a person or saint but a power and we are a part of that power. We realize that God is one and everyone and everything is a manifestation of God.

Spirituality, thus, sets things in perspective. It fosters love

and compassion towards everyone and everything. It promotes togetherness, brotherhood and universal love.

By helping our children become spiritual, we can help eliminate stress, anxiety, stress, depression, anger, hate, jealousy, suffering and misery from their lives. By encouraging spiritual practices, we can help children be happy and peaceful. Our children and our world would be very different if children grew up being spiritual. Spirituality paves the way for a life of happiness and peace.

Unfortunately, we are so lost in this material world that we are ourselves ignorant about the reality and truth of life. As parents or guardians, we pressurise children to come first in whatever they do. We tell them as we were told — ‘be successful’, because we believe that success is happiness. We want them to win trophies and medals in sports, academics — everything. But the truth is that the so-called happiness from achievements is not real happiness. It is only momentary pleasure. It is ephemeral. The fact is that happiness is success and not the other way round. If we are happy, we are already successful. In reality, success brings with it stress and worry. At times, people resort to immoral and unethical ways to be at the top. Most of us don’t stop at our need, we go beyond to greed. But things can never make us happy. Happiness is a state of being. We have to ‘be’ happy, moment by moment. The truth is that nothing belongs to us. Why do we want to amass a fortune? Ultimately, it will all be left behind. Sadly, we end up teaching children the wrong things. Children grow up wanting to become an ace in the race, but finally, they get caught in the maze.

We must therefore encourage spirituality in children. And below are simple ways of doing it:

First of all, we must understand what spirituality is and incorporate it into our daily life. If we don’t know what spirituality is, what can we tell our children? Children learn by example and we must set an example. If we ourselves are busy chasing success and achievements, hoarding and collecting wealth, how can we guide our children? While making money or wanting to be successful in itself is not bad, the problem is that we become addicted to it. We don’t know when and where to stop. We must ourselves do good deeds and treat other people, all beings and nature with reverence. We must, thus, lead by example.

Next, we can encourage spiritual practices like Yoga and meditation. Yoga is not just about asanas or physical exercises or pranayama or breathing techniques. Yoga means union with God. Nonetheless, _asanas_ and _pranayama_practices do promote well-being and peace. Similarly, we can encourage devotion or Bhakti in children by praying together, by singing Bhajans, hymns together.

Next, we must help children differentiate between the myth and the truth. Most of the stories children read or are told are myths, including that of Ganesha or Shiva. While this generates interest in the Divine, as they grow older, we must help them realize that God is not Ganesha or Shiva. God is not a person, but a Power, the Supreme Immortal Power. We must teach them to go beyond praying to Ganesha or other idols to praying through these idols to God, the Supreme Immortal Power.

We can try to guide children in day to day life. We can help them be mindful of nature, to connect with nature and treat other creatures with respect and love. We can help them choose what they read and ensure that they do not pick up more myths and lies. There are many spiritual parables, and stories that can communicate the truth in a simple and engaging manner. We must encourage children to ask questions about life, death, about God and help them understand reality. We must not tell them to blindly believe or follow what has been told to us for generations.

Finally, if we have the blessings and guidance of a spiritual mentor or Guru in our life, a truly enlightened being, we must allow children to have interactions with the Guru, or listen to his discourses. This spiritual interaction and education from a spiritually evolved person can leave a deep impact on young, impressionable minds.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *