I strongly believe that children have an innate potential for spiritually. We need to listen carefully to children sharing their spirituality. As adults it is easy to believe that we’re the ones teaching children and youth spirituality in the same way we would teach them how to behave in the street to avoid being run over by cars. It is not as simple as that.
Spirituality is a posture, it is a way of being, of placing oneself in the universe. It is something that draws us beyond what we are and who we are.
We have all experienced when a child asks a question and we try to answer, only to find that it is followed by another question and yet another, and yet another. It is a never-ending story and as adults we mostly lose out, since we live with the pretension of always having to have an answer. The challenge for us is to realize that we are here actually experiencing a spiritual moment with our child. A spirituality of moving beyond is not satisfied with answers. To move beyond is to question. The more questions, the more movement towards the beyond. We are sometimes so sure we have the answer that we fail to ask the question. The spiritual posture cannot be satisfied with answers alone. This is a challenge for us.
Nowadays, my best spiritual moments are when I sit and read a story with my grandchildren. We have time, there is silence around us, and nobody interferes or diverts our attention. The story I read triggers off reflections. We wonder, we get engaged, we explore, we share and most of all I learn so much from their questions, thoughts and reflections. Who said that children can’t grasp the deepest questions of life and death? Those who say so haven’t had the privilege of a story-telling moment with children.
The best way to nurture spirituality is to provide space and time for reflection and introspection, to halt our hectic lives to allow for a journey of self-discovery, which includes exposure, reflection and dialogue with others. It is in the presence of the other that I learn empathy and respect and to nurture spirituality that gives a handle to channel my emotions, feelings, and compassion into an engagement, which in turn, is the dynamic of liberation and empowerment.