Kids are naturally “spiritual.” They frequently have imaginary friends. They like to make animal sacrifices, often involving anthills and firecrackers or snakes and BB guns. They are typically pretty ignorant of science, and most often they don’t really understand causality either.
They believe that a birthday cake can grant wishes if you blow out its candles, that monsters live in their closets, that a fat man magically brings them presents once a year, that a “fairy” puts coins under their pillow when they lose a tooth, and that an oversized bunny (not unlike the one from Donnie Darko) was somehow involved in the resurrection of Jesus.
Despite all these things, it’s possible that you’re staying up at night worrying that your kids aren’t “spiritual” enough! And if that’s the case, Ariane de Bonvoisin has got some advice for you:
Spirituality for children is really about teaching them who they are, reminding them daily of their connection to something greater than themselves, to the universe, nature, the energy that flows through all of us.
Although it has been many years since I took science classes, I still kind of remember learning about the energy that flows through all of us.
If I am not mistaken, it starts with the phototrophs, who convert sunlight into glucose and adenosine triphosphate. These products then make their way up the food chain, until decomposers return the energy to the ground.
I suppose this is not an unreasonable thing to teach children, although I worry that without adult guidance they might themselves attempt autotrophy and end up with sunstroke or skin cancer. In any event, it’s hard to see how teaching kids science will make them more “spiritual.” But the advice doesn’t stop there.
And one more note, whatever your child feels or says is completely fine. If they start talking about angels, presences, invisible people, stay open. It’s critical for them to feel heard, accepted, and validated for anything they want to talk about that has to do with God and Spirituality.
So next time your kid suggests that Holy Scripture is “infallible”, that he witnessed a miracle on the playground, that the universe needs to have a “first cause”, that a being “than which nothing greater can be conceived” must necessarily exist, or that the enormous complexity found in nature can only be explained by an “intelligent” designer, make sure you validate him. Otherwise he might learn to think critically, and then you’d no longer be able to use the threat of Candyman to keep him from staring into mirrors all day long.