Teaching Kids to Be Spiritual Without Going to Church
Churches provide many services for parents and children, including Sunday school, trips and other group activities that provide a community to engage with. If you are spiritual but not religious, you still can share your values and your sense of spirituality with your children.
According to a 2013 article in "Boston" magazine, the percentage of people who consider themselves nonreligious has been increasing rapidly since the 1990s 1. Twenty percent of all adults in the United States now list themselves as having no affiliation with any specific religion. However, many of those people still consider themselves to be deeply spiritual. As this trend continues, more resources should become available to parents who want to share spirituality with their kids without belonging to a religion.
Sharing Your Spirituality
If you consider yourself to be spiritual but not religious, you might wonder how to share your sense of spirituality with your children without forcing any beliefs on them. According to professor Lisa Miller of Columbia University, kids with a spiritual outlook on life are more likely to avoid drugs and alcohol and are better able to deal with personal problems. You can share your spiritual outlook with your kids without telling them what to believe. The first step is to simply answer their questions on the topic. Tell them what you believe in and then encourage them to explore what they believe in for themselves.
According to sociologist Christine Carter of the Greater Good Science Center, spirituality includes several aspects, including a sense of personal connection to something larger than the self, a sense that life has meaning and importance, and a feeling of awe. You can give your kids the chance to experience all these things without necessarily going to church. Take your kids for nature walks and share your awe for the beauty of the natural world. Volunteer for a charity with your kids so they learn to value the experience of helping other people. Share the spiritual activities you enjoy, such as yoga or meditation. Encourage them to pick their own spiritual activities to explore so they can begin to develop a personal connection with spirituality.
Many people who are spiritual but not religious attend services at churches with open and inclusive approaches to spiritual belief. The congregation at this type of church can include people who identify with traditional religions such as Christianity, but can also include people who consider themselves secular, neopagan, atheist or open to all belief systems. This type of church can provide an opportunity to participate in many different family activities and share beliefs and experiences with people of different viewpoints.
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