As soon as I became a mom I knew I would want to pass on some spiritual tools to my kids. However, unlike organized religion, passing on spiritual awareness is a little less structured in the filtering down and quite honestly, deciphering and figure out the best way of phrasing something can get overwhelming. Over the years, these are the top tips I’ve discovered. It’s sometimes best to pass on a few tools of simple awareness, which then our children can draw their own conclusions, observe, choose, explore and ask their own questions and the answers can then flow in the right time and space. This allows spiritual dialogue to come out of a state of our own connection, and our children’s, which is key. So, I’ve put down a list of the top 5 tools for spiritual awareness. Because let’s face it, sometimes a list is just a nice thing to have.
Emotional Awareness – When we are aware of how we feel, and honestly, can express it, we can use it as our guidance system. As positive spiritual beings, feeling positive emotion is an indicator of feeling as Who We Really Are, feeling like ourselves, negative emotion is simply a sign that we are thinking about things from a perspective different than our true selves. When our children can sense how they are feeling, they can shift to feel better, to connect, and to have an awareness of what action or inaction to take. How do you pass on emotional awareness- simple. Simply talk about emotions in your everyday living. Express how you are feeling, ask how your children are feeling, talk about how TV shows make you feel, or stories. Talk about choosing a story that feels good, talk about not watching something because it makes you feel bad. A craft that’s a great introduction is to simply get a child to color emotions. Ask them to show you mad, sad, stressed, happy, blissful, excited. What colors, what lines? Even in squiggles, a picture can relay feeling and this can be started as young as 2 or 3.
Appreciation – When our children feel bad, and know they feel bad, they sometimes want to feel better but don’t know how. Appreciation is a great bridge to feeling good from a bad space. Simply focusing on the emotion of appreciating shifts us emotionally and creates the space we can focus on new thoughts. I like to create lists of appreciation regularly with my kids. From going through the ABCs and finding something to appreciate for each letter when they can’t go to sleep, to focusing on finding 5 things that they appreciate when they are upset or in a tantrum, appreciating makes us feel good. It just does. Our kids feel it strongly and they LOVE to appreciate any little thing. Soon, they’ll be using it all the time. Note that I used the word Appreciation rather than gratitude. Gratitude, no matter how wonderful to express, doesn’t carry the same feeling space as truly Appreciating. Simply say the two words for a moment, you’ll feel the difference.
The Law of Attraction– we get more of what we send out. It’s law. Our children can actually understand this concept really easily. You can explain it in a number of ways. First, we are like magnets, attracting back to us the same as what we send out. If we are stressed we are holding up a stress magnet, we are asking the universe for more of the feeling we are emitting. If we appreciate (there it is again), we are holding up the appreciation magnet and asking for more of that feeling. Each feeling is an energy and radiates from us. We get more of the same every time. Our children can see this in evidence daily. When they start off a day badly and it never really shifts, when they keep getting hurt, are complaining, and whining, things happen to make them complain more or get hurt more. When good things happen, they build and the day gets better and better. When a child is feeling sorry for themselves, you can pull out the Magnet card and ask them if that’s what they want to hold up. Is this the feeling they want more of? This, in turn, creates more awareness of how they feel and what they are attracting. Another way to explain it is as an echo, echoing back to us. No matter what, we get what we send out. But it’s based on What we ARE, what we are radiating deeply.
Self-appreciation – We are all unique, special individuals and it’s important our children appreciate who they are. This goes beyond what they look like, although they should always be told they are beautiful/handsome and that they shine. I used to tell my children that before they came the world just wasn’t quite right, that something was missing and then they decided to come and the world became perfect. We want our children to feel like being themselves is the most important job for them in the world. That we don’t want them to blend in or sacrifice Who They Really Are for anything or anyone. How we see them sets this up within their foundational perspectives of themselves. If we focus on their successes, their joys, and their experiments, rather than their mistakes, shortfalls and weaknesses, then they will believe that they are capable of great things rather than being shadowed by self-doubt and insecurities. We express ourselves through our opinions and preferences, therefore asking our children what they like and what they think creates a space where they don’t need to agree with us and share the same opinion. When their own opinion is validated they are reminded that it is important to be true to themselves. One way I love to strengthen this perspective is to simply ask two questions daily. “When didn’t you feel like yourself today?” and “When did you feel like yourself today?” When this is asked after school or after a busy day, a child is given time to reflect on how they felt and how they want to feel, as well as ponder on what it feels like to be Truly themselves. Now my children are older they know that, whenever they are trying to make a decision, I’ll always ask them what feels most like themselves.
Silence– Offering our children the grounding space of silence creates a safe place for them to sense who they are. We live in a loud world and we might as well bring that to our children’s attention. Computers, Television, even normal conversation has a fast paced loud energy that children are sensitive to. They react in one of two ways, shutting down completely or spinning out of control. When we bring their awareness to silence, they see the contrast, and in that contrast it becomes a tool for happier living. This can be done at bedtime, with deep breathing, showing them how to breathe all the way to their navel. It can be done in playing games of how quiet can they be or how slow can we talk and awareness can also be drawn to silence in contrasting experiences, such as watching a fast, loud program and then saying you want to watch a slower show after in order to feel the difference, or saying that you’ve had a fast day and you need some quiet, or incorporating the phrase “Having a loud head” in everyday conversation and showing how you deal with it. Meditation is the obvious choice for finding silence, but this can come in a lot of forms. Sitting outside in nature, going for a walk, a five count breathing session, or writing subconscious pages, even coloring can be a statement of silence, which you can share with your child or at least offer them as an example of how silence creates the space for yourself to thrive.
Magic – We need to believe in magic, all of us. We need to trust in unseen forces and the “impossible.” I don’t mean play Santa Claus and be the Easter bunny, I mean go for walks and notice the incredible miracles that happen daily around us. From flowers blooming, to snow falling, teach your children that this is magic. Real Magic. Seeds lie dormant waiting for spring, our hearts pump blood without thought, babies are born, life is full of infinite possibilities. When we offer seeing life as magical we are reminded that we don’t have to fit into any category and life is unlimited. Our children know this when they first arrive and it is so tempting to teach it out of them, but when we allow this view to flourish, they embrace life with intention and openness. One way to encourage their belief in magic is to not always have the answers. When they ask a question about how the world works, ask for their opinion first, how do they think the world was made? Then give your opinion, but remind them that life is magical. For it is. There is a wonderful sense of wellbeing when we remember that other forces, good forces, are at work keeping balance.
No matter what, when our children know that they live in a home based in love and not fear, then they will have a spiritual foundation which allows them to flourish. In the long run, we are all here to remember how to trust in wellbeing and flow with life and love, and the better we trust in that ourselves, the better example we are for our children.