Whether we are a parent, grandparent, brother, sister, aunt or uncle, we’d all love the children in our lives to grow up healthy in every way. We likely have thought a lot about their physical and emotional health, but how often do we consider their spiritual health? Spiritual development definitely goes hand in hand with emotional development, encouraging children to recognize what they are feeling, be able to verbalize it, and to learn techniques for grounding themselves during the storms of life that surely come for us all, with children being no exception.
But more than emotional maturity, wouldn’t it be wonderful to also help them develop ways to become more whole-hearted, expansive, joyful, and life-embracing at each stage of their development? Whether we want to use terms associated with religious traditions or not, it is important to provide them with help recognizing and being able to name what it feels like to be completely loved and grounded in the more subtle aspects of life, such as being in communion with nature or whatever else that fosters a sense of deep connectedness with things beyond their immediate field of focus. There are many benefits of having children develop and come to trust their “inner compass” as an aid in making choices in their lives, even when they are complicated.
This episode features two wonderful guests, Jon Ogden and Amanda Suarez, who are both grounded spirituality and also immersed in understanding child and human development. They are two of four founders for an organization called “Uplift,” which provides resources for parents and others who want children to experience spirituality in healthy ways that open them to the world’s widest contexts. Throughout their conversation with LDF host Dan Wotherspoon, they discuss approaches for developing these qualities and awarenesses for three age groups: teens, kids, and “littles.” As children in each age range have different capacities, Uplift provides ideas, videos, art, and ideas for helping convey spiritually expansive things at a level that each child can understand.
The discussion has many touchstones to Jon and Amanda’s work with Uplift, but it is geared to be something interesting to all listeners rather than just a pitch for what their foundation provides. It’s a great episode. Not one to be missed! So don’t!
Jana Riess, “A More Inclusive Family Home Evening,” Flunking Sainthood (Religion News Service), May 2, 2022