Raising a spiritual child without religion

by Lindsay on December 3, 2017

in Inspiration, Intuition, Kindness, Personal Growth

Artwork by a friend of mine – the prayer I wrote for Evelyn is wrapped around the hands.

When my daughter was born, I knew I wanted to raise her to be in touch with her spiritual dimension, but I also knew following one particular religion wasn’t something I am comfortable with. So, I wrote a prayer for her. Over the years, I have given considerable thought about raising a spiritual child without religion.

You don’t have to believe in a supreme patriarchal being to teach your child the great spiritual lessons. Whatever your beliefs, you probably want your children to know that life is sacred; that their presence in the world can and does bring joy and goodness; that things have a way of working out (not always as we expect, but always as we need them to). We want our kids to know that life’s greatest joy is often found in the small things and that our purpose in life – the purpose we all share – is to love generously.

I knew that even if I didn’t teach my daughter about a “God”, per se, that I wanted her to know that she is a co-creator of her life, that the Universe has her back, and that her intuition should always be her guide and that it won’t ever steer her wrong.

When I was little, I recited a bedtime prayer each night. I wanted that tradition for my daughter too, without religious undertones, so I wrote this prayer and have been saying it with her every night since she was a wee baby:

Thank you Universe for this day

For the blessings and lessons that came my way

May my sleep be filled with dreams and rest

And tomorrow may I do my best

After we say that, we list the people we love and ask the Universe to take care of them and keep them safe.

Non-religious spiritual lessons for children

Your intuition is your guide 

We want our children to believe in their own power and inner wisdom. One of the things I always tell my daughter is to trust her own gut. Trust what her ‘belly’ or feelings say about a person or a situation. Children are fantastic judges of character. When my daughter feels uneasy with someone or tells me directly (once we’re out of earshot) that someone isn’t a good person, I believe her. Children (and animals!) always see someone’s heart.

I want her to believe that her heart knows best even as she grows into a teenager and grown woman. Teaching her to listen to her inner wisdom is perhaps one of the most important lessons I want to teach. If I hadn’t spent so much time doubting my inner compass, maybe I wouldn’t have gone through some things I have in the past. Intuition never steers us wrong.

There is always something we can do to make things better.

Whether this is through a small act of kindness for a stranger, doing something thoughtful for someone we love, or trying to change our own frame of mind about a situation, we can always do something. Wishing is good. Dreams are important. And even the occasional pity party when things are going wrong is okay. But we need to take action in order to change things for the better. It is my belief that raising children spiritually means raising empowered children who believe in their ability to make things better – whether for themselves, another person or even their community.

Practice gratitude 

Gratitude is a tried and true spiritual practice that works regardless of your beliefs about the nature of the divine. Regularly practicing gratitude makes us happier. When we’re struggling emotionally, gratitude can lift us up. Looking at what we do have and acknowledging the good brings more good to us. Somehow, gratitude seems to open the door to the life we want. When the Universe sees us practicing gratitude, we’re able to receive more, and we get more out of life as a result.

For this, I try to model the behaviour. I say aloud how lucky we are to have this beautiful day, a family as loving as ours, friends as generous in spirit and time, each other’s love and support, this cozy home we share, her incredible school and teacher, etc..

Respect nature

I’m sometimes sad about the world – the earth – we are leaving behind for our children and our children’s children. Will they have wars over access to clean water? Will their oceans be so polluted they’ll be void of life? I don’t spend time focusing on that, though. I focus on the kind of child I can raise who can be a steward to the Earth.

My daughter was born with a natural inclination to be good to Mother Earth. She often picks up (safe) litter and carries it to the closest trash can. She speaks of this frequently – that she wants us all to be good to her, to respect all of all the animals who share this planet with us. This is all stuff out of my daughter’s mouth – she has taught me how to be a good citizen to this planet.

We want to raise children who appreciate nature. Who know the divinity of dipping into a cool lake on a hot summers’ day, and the peace that can be found sitting underneath a tree. And who want to make sure that we treat this planet we have respectfully, so we leave a clean and livable place for future generations.

Spirituality and deep connections can be found in the stillness

My daughter and I have our best conversations when the electronics are turned off in the house, there’s no background music playing. We have our deepest chats and our creative breakthroughs in the still of the quiet. We have our emotional connections strengthened when it’s quiet. I want my daughter to know that it’s okay to be quiet and in fact, it can be healing. Even if sitting with a friend who is hurting – sometimes quiet is better than saying anything at all.

There’s meditation too (and YouTube has some great children’s meditation videos!). Any adult who has taught themselves how to meditate can tell you how hard it is to quiet our minds. Children, I think, have an easier time at this. So if we can teach them the tools for meditation early on so it’s not a struggle later, why not?

These are some of the spiritual lessons I hope to impart on my daughter, but this is not an exhaustive list. Stay tuned for part 2: more on relationships with angels/guides, kindness to others, etc…

If you are a parent/auntie/uncle/guardian, what are some of the spiritual lessons you hope to impart on the children in your life?

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