How to bring up your kids as being spiritually aware & open to Universal truths without them feeling
different' to others & more conventional belief systems?
you need to talk to them when they are very young and they can managed thru
That is a difficult question. I talked to my children as soon as I saw they were open to receive spritual knowledge. I try to make it sound as if we are discussing everyday things rather than some powerful stuff but I make sure my 7 year old doesn't mention it while with her friends. I explained to her that not everyone knows about this or wants to hear about it and that different religions exclude themselves so not all people will honor her perspective. So far it has worked but I am sure we may come across some problems.
First, you need to define your own spiritual awareness and "universal truths" in order to share them. Can you clearly articulate them to yourself and to others?
Most kids have a natural instinct for the spiritual. Many "feel" God before they learn religious systems. Nature, and the wonder children feel at seeing the natural world, is often the catalyst for religious conversations.
For universal truths, you may wish to pull from well-known sources such as the 10 Commandments and other teachings that easily distill right from wrong for children.
Lastly, I suggest exploring Self Realization Fellowship (www.srf.org). This is a group that offers meditation lessons by mail and teachings in books and simple pamphlets on how you can find and know God. It's not a religion, and they don't ask you to believe in certain things, but they focus on helping you find out for yourself that God exists. They have "how to live" teachings for children based on those universal truths you mention that might be useful.
Make them aware that the influence of the spirit is everywhere, and everyone experiences that influence differently. That's why it is such a personal thing. Even as a Christian Believer, I, and encourage others to, study the belief systems of other faiths. I am not so arrogant as to believe that Judaism didn't draw from the ancient faiths of the Indus River area. There are far too many commonalities within them.
Be consistent in what you tell your children, but also be consistent in what you live before them. And don't fall prey to the external self-righteousness of many groups. Even if you firmly believe yours is the only way, don't become a Pharisee.
First, parents should demonstrate an open-minededness and tolerance of others and their beliefs. We don't have to believe what someone else believe to be able to respect their beliefs. If you are a church going person then visit other types of services sometimes. Talk about different religions and how they celebrate differently than you i.e. Christmas, Hanukkah, etc.
Make sure there are books around that help with the understanding and help guide your own spiritual awareness.
I also think it is important to understand that religion and spiritual awareness are different....religion being part of the conventional belief system and spiritual awareness being more personal. There is nothing wrong with either...it is how it is handled that can be stifling.
Discuss many things -- science, religion, philosophy, reincarnation,... all of humanity's thoughts and progress.
Teach the value of humility and restraint in holding onto any belief, no matter how much supposed proof there is. There remain many mysteries yet to be solved.
There is great wisdom in the older religions and even in some newer ones, but there are also so many messy and inaccurate interpretations of them.
Finding your way in this area is done largely by feel, but also some logic and an enormous helping of humility. Without humility, even scientists miss out on discoveries.
Teach others to ask probing questions rather than to spout dogma. Teach them to be ever searching for answers, rather than sitting back, thinking that all the answers are already known.
Keep good books in your home.
Your kids will start asking questions very early.
Before they learn to read, when they ask a question, do not answer,but pick a book,open it and pretend that you read answer from inside.
After awhile they will know answers are in the books.
Soon,they will look for the books and answers inside.
Second:Be slow to anger and fast to forgive your kids.Remember that children learn by observing your deeds,NOT your words.
Third:Keep your word.
If you want your children to become spiritually aware, do not destroy their innocence, inquisitiveness, or ability to sense things.
If you want to have your children spiritually unaware, then teach them things that they have to learn externally, such as doctrines and dogmas. Tell them what is right and wrong, rather than help them sense it. Make them read or watch programs about other religions and add your two cents. Or in any other way, manipulate their thoughts to override their feelings.
Allow their spirits to explore the universe and their own selves in their own due time. Some children will never be spiritually minded to those that judge who is spiritual and not. Yet, all are spiritual to those that understand spirit as All.
Which of us likes to believe that spirit is limited to a lifestyle or exterior spiritual accoutrements? Who would say that one activity is less spiritual than another? Is it not the attitude and state of mind of the individual?
How many of us would choose to limit the "spirit" in any way?
you should let people become spiritualy aware on their own. part of my dislike for religion is the way it is forced on children before they can make their own decisions. and what are universal truths?
Don't make them go to church and make sure they are comfortable with how THEY feel about spirituality.. If they are secure and comfortable with what they believe, then they will not feel weird or different around others. Many more people are becoming open in today's world, so I wouldn't worry about it.... Oh and give them a good Alan Watts book to read.
I would say make them aware that there are a lot of different religions and beliefs out there. And a lot of them revolve around being a good person. Being respectful, honest, wise, compassionate etc. There's religions with a god, gods, or no gods. And over time and research and if you open yourself up to want to learn about the different religions you will someday find your path. Just be open and honest with yourself.
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