Sunday, April 6, 2008

Spiritual parenting

I enjoyed listening to the podcast of “The Spirituality of Parenting,” which aired yesterday on American Public Media’s "Speaking of Faith" program. It’s an interview with Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, an Indianapolis-based rabbi and children's book author.

Sasso offers a simple framework for how to think about spirituality in children, regardless of what religious path you follow, and reminds listeners that: “Society does a very good job of teaching us how to be consumers and how to be competitors. The question is how do we not just teach our children’s minds – how do we teach their souls. We want our children to be gracious and grateful, we want them to have courage in difficult times, we want them to have a sense of joy and purpose.”

She offers some simple suggestions for making prayer a meaningful practice for children, and she suggests that taking a bit of time daily for silence and reflection is nourishing for a child. Her suggestion for saying a bedtime prayer with a child: “Ask children if they will tell you a prayer from their heart.” And if they don’t know what to say at first, then offer a model. She suggests saying: “ ‘Well would you mind listening while I say one from mine.’ Name your hopes, name what you’re grateful for, name your fears."

She also offers a list of book suggestions – including children’s literature with spiritual overtones and books on parenting and spirituality.

And while I'm on the subject of spirituality, I’ll mention that this book has meant more to me than just about anything I’ve read in the past few years. It also reaches across faiths -- and it offers some insights about parenting too. More on that in a different post….

1 comment:

shannon said...

A New Earth, even with funny title, has also changed my inner world. Peace has been a constant in my brain and not just my heart, consistently, after reading this book! I recommend it highly, also. I am finally convinced that this is how I may change the world- by enjoying it and accepting it, not by arguing with it or changing others. It's about me and my non-reactions. That of course, has opened up my relationships with my children in a very meaningful way as well. Thanks for mentioning this book with the kooky title and questionable dilemma about an old and new earth. . . .It deepens my own faith tradition which I feel is very important to pass to my children.