Children's spirituality

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by earl, May 1, 2005.

  1. earl

    earl ?

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    Adults write all the books, found all the religions, yet it is written in the Bible-Matthew 11:25, "At that time Jesus began to say, I thank you Father, Lord of heaven and earth that you have hidden these things from the wise and clever and learned, and revealed them to children."

    We-adults-tend to dismiss the thoughts of the very young as "immature" and that the role of adults is to instruct children in the ways of "heavan and earth." For many years, psychologists (and theologians?) have assumed children are incapable of having as porfound, deep, and rich of a spiritual life as adults. but, hey, ya think they might actually know stuff we don't?;) Whatcha think?

    Take care, Earl
     
  2. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    I most definitely think that children have a spiritual life. They might lack the language to express what they know, and perhaps even learning that language is part of what causes them to lose touch with it as they are "socialized," but I'm certain that they commune with the Spirit very early on.

    lunamoth
     
  3. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Certainly a child's view can be very simple, but it could also be argued that the adult view is over-complicated. :)
     
  4. earl

    earl ?

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    Children naturally, before development/socialization sets in seem to function in ways we adults ty to recapture after adulthood: spontaneity, taking delight in the simple, (literally a "beginner's mind"), a natural "forgiveness"-5 minutes after fighting with a playmate, they're friends again. But beyond these kinds of things, literature documenting the possibility that children may have a natural ability to experience psychic/mystical experiences, has been published in recent years-see work such as Tobin Hart's book, "the Secret Spiritual World of Children" and inof @ his website, http://www.childspirit.net. In the case of my own now 6 yo grandchild, between the ages of 2 & 4, he would say things that clearly suggested he may have been experiencing such things as telepathy, precognition, and perhaps the ability to see "ghosts." Now. don't hear any of that from him-theorists speculate (as do "New Agers") that as development kicks in, the ability to access that form of awareness closes off. But, yes, with the development of ego/self, I do tend to think we adults start over-thinking, over-complicating life to some degree. We adults give all sorts ofnames to how we define "spiritual reality" and develop all sorts of rules re how to "be spiritual;" children simply are. Ironically, it seems that for adults to find/"regain' a capacity ot feel "spiritually connected," we do indden have to "become as children" again as Jesus said. Goona hang out with my grandson again today. I can think of nothing right now that makes me feel more "spiritually connected" than whenever he say "come play with me grandpa." He's my call to worship. Have a good one, Earl
     
  5. Abogado del Diablo

    Abogado del Diablo Ferally Decent

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    I love that. Nice message earl.
     
  6. Spritey

    Spritey Curiously Wiccan

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    I am by no means an adult, but I like to think I'm old enough to formulate my own opinions about religion and spirituality :) When I was younger, I was taken to church and sunday school a lot by one of my relatives. Now I think about this, it makes me a little upset. It feels like I was pre-programmed with a set of beliefs that I didn't necessarily believe but was told was true. When you're 4, you don't tend to question what adults tell you :rolleyes: Oops, I'm rambling...anyway, I do think children have a sense of spirituality, they mostly know the difference between wrong and right, so why shouldn't they know about religion?
     
  7. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    I'm with you, Earl. I most definitely believe that children are spiritual creatures as well, and in some ways a lot better off than adults. I think we train children out of their natural, innate spirituality and into a religion for the most part. Perhaps part of it depends on natural biological development, but in looking at cross-cultural studies, I would theorize that it is much more an issue of certain cultures (like the US) trivializing children's spiritual lives and then training people out of that innate spirituality and into a religious system that makes sense to the adults. There is a lot of diversity cross-culturally in this- in many cultures it is acceptable and not uncommon for an adult to say that they speak with nature spirits, or have visions from God, or even travel into an Otherworld/different reality. In the US, that doesn't fit with the dominant interpretation of Christianity, so children are mostly trained out of such experiences and learn to view their innate spirituality with distrust. My experience was that because my mother did not do this to me, I retained much more of a mystical path in my spirituality than most adults, and recognize the value of the "beginner's mind."
     
  8. earl

    earl ?

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    Thanks for your reply path-of-one. I'm aware from other of your posts that you may have had various spiritual/mystical experiences from a very young age, (I'd be delighted to hear more re your experiences in general-I'm a believer in such things obviously, but apparently too "thick-skulled," be it from no initial "opening" to begin with or a too hardened "fontanelle" later so to speak to have had any of those experiences). Both based on folks I've met & what I've read, psychic if not mystical experiencing ability may be affected by "genetics'" i.e., seems to run in families. Was that the case for yours? Thanks, Earl
     
  9. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    I'm not sure about the genetic thing. No one in my grandparental generation was/is mystical. But my mother and sister both are. All three of us also have what some call psychic abilities, though I don't really think of them that way.

    My husband doesn't have mystical experiences, but he has psychic abilities that are pretty strong. No one else in his family back to the grandparental generation seems to have that at all.:confused:

    I've met folks in which it seemed to run in their families. Who knows?

    You might look at Myers-Briggs. Some anthropological work has speculated that shamans the world over tend to be INFP (and occasionally INFJ). In some cultures, they recognize future shamans as the kids that are always out in the woods somewhere talking to trees and in a bit of a fantasy world of their own. It seems that mystical/shamanic is almost a personality and is recognized in many cultures. That makes a decent amount of sense to me, since it certainly is a fundamental part of my personality.
     
  10. earl

    earl ?

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    Interesting re your mother & sister in that when I've read about or encountered apparent multigenerational abilities, it has tended to be among females. I work as a psychotherapist in community mental health and at one time worked with and adult woman who had come from such a multigenerational arrangement who had psychic abilties, (and had significant psychological disabilties), who later brought her then 14 yo daughter to me to help her adjust to her burgeoning psychic awareness-much stronger than her mothers' & fortunately she was healthier psychologically as well. A whole other angle on such a story would relate to how being a skeptical materialistic therapist wroking in such settings affects how they perceive children as I've seen my colleagues struggle trying to figure out what to make of the young children they see who speak of such things as "grandma coming to visit them at night" after she's died.;) My wife has some psychic ability. but, alas, as I said, I'm pretty "thick-skulled." Thanks for sharing path-of-one, Earl
     
  11. truthseeker

    truthseeker New Member

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    If you don't mind me butting in a bit, I think that psychic frequency is multigenerational. I was heavily psychic as a child, so much so that I knew what would be said before it was said. I could almost hear thoughts. I knew the things that would happen, good or bad, before they would happen. Like I've said in another thread I can today feel spirits though I don't see or hear them.

    As I got older and more 'religiously learned', my connection with that has decreased to the size of a peep-hole. Now I know that the psychic ability is okay. Recently I began talking with the siblings of my grandparents. My mother's side of the family are seriously shallow. But my dad's side, wow! I learned that my grandmother's grandmother talked to spirits who spoke back and anybody in the room could hear. My great grandmother was a healer. My grandmother and I knew eachother without even speaking (though she would disown that and became a JW fanatic and wanted me in the kingdom hall so that I could be saved too). My grandmother's brothers were preachers with the ability to heal. My dad's brother has a very strong energy that he's trying to identify with. My parents are shallow, but I got it. And I like it.
     
  12. InLove

    InLove at peace

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    One day recently, my love and I visited a place we often go--not for meditation or anything, just someplace we have to go for practical reasons. Really quite a mundane place, all said. Except that for some reason, the sky always seems to be incredibly blue and clear and open. It made us both think of when we were children. Maybe because when we were children, we spent more time doing that--perhaps we even saw more then. Adults often speak about what incredible imaginations children have, but sometimes I think that they just may have a clearer, fresher memory of God.:)
     
  13. earl

    earl ?

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    Truthseeker & Inlove-thank you both for your responses. May I some day grow down into childhood. Take care all, Earl
     
  14. Awaiting_the_fifth

    Awaiting_the_fifth Where is my mind?

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    When I was a child, I had religion forced on me which served only to drown out any true spirituality. It took me a long time to realise that the religion they had forced on me was a lie and even then they made me feel like something of an outcast for rejecting it.

    If children have an innate spirituality then we should encourage it to grow and help them find their own path. Nothing more.
     
  15. truthseeker

    truthseeker New Member

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    Your post is lovely, ATF.

    I was touched by it.
     
  16. InLove

    InLove at peace

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    Dear Spritey,

    Thank you for posting here. It is almost as if my goddaughter was here. I came here to find a place of peace to learn how to interact before I run her off. She does not know my history, nor where I come from. She cannot see me for who I am and have always been.

    She is so caught up in defending her position that she cannot see that I am not the enemy. I am not judging her. If only she knew that.

    If you are "curiously Wiccan", perhaps I shall see you down the road sometime.


    Anyway, just thank you for being here.

    InPeace,
    InChrist,
    InLove
     
  17. ISFP

    ISFP New Member

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    i agree with Awaitng The Fifth- i don't think it's religiosity that's innate to children, but spirituality.

    there's nothing like having a kid drag you by the hand and point out things like cool bugs, clouds, nifty cars, weird plants, music you hadn't heard of before... many kids' enthusiasm for the things that inspire is itself inspiring. it helps you to open your own spiritual eyes and say "yeah, you know what- the world is a neat place".
     
  18. InLove

    InLove at peace

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    Ah--ISFP, I believe you've got it! I can tell you about "Christina the Butterfly". I tried desperately to tell my eldest daughter (Christina) to let the beautiful creature go. But she wanted to keep that lovely thing, and she did an amazing job.

    About ten years later, my youngest daughter was in love with a Beta. Just the other day she told me what that dear fishy's name was, but I have forgotten it again. What I do know is that I made it a beautiful casket out of a matchbox, and all the neighborhood kids came for the interment--LOL--3 weeks later, they were out there digging the poor fish up to see what it looked like "now". To this day, my dear little girl, who is all grown up (sort of) tries to convince me that she had nothing whatsoever to do with exhuming (or however it is spelled) of the body--but I spent enough time with her to know she is fibbing! That little girl picked up and examined every living creature she could possibly get her hands on--dangerous or not--it is just that now she is older, and thinks it isn't important, or part of her now. No matter--she knows--she cannot hardly keep from laughing (or crying) when she talks about the whole fish thing.

    Well, good golly--I could ramble on and on....better stop for a while.:)

    InPeace,
    InLove
     
  19. ISFP

    ISFP New Member

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    InLove-

    some of my favorite books are written for children on ths subject of death.

    there's one beautiful book about a girl and her mom and dad who go out on a fishing boat one night to remember her older brother and how he used to catch crabs. how the older boy died is not touched on, but the scenes where the small family catches crabs for him and passes around his old sweatshirt to smell ("it still smells like him, mom") made me cry.

    we do need to tell children about death, but we also need to step back to let them grieve and discover and ask questions and just be alone when they need to. often, the best lessons one can learn come from experience and from listening. probably no one can tell you this better than a kid.
     

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