Monday, March 17, 2008

The Spiritual Mom's Corner - Teaching Our Children About God by Danah HIlden

Teaching Our Children About God

You know I guess I have procrastinated about blogging about this show. I really like doing the show but it also gave me some personal anxiety (Danah here). It seems to me we are all on a journey to learn and grow and as Eva says be our best spiritual selves. But this looks so different for each and every one of us. I will use myself as an example.

I was brought up by very strict Christian Reformed grandparents. This is a religion which started in Holland and as my family came to the US they brought it with them. It is very strict and in many ways did not match my own personality. So this show was a tough one for me as I believe I left . . .More... spirituality with my being uncomfortable with the religion I was born into. So I sure don’t feel like I have much to say on teaching children about God because I am still learning and at the infant stage myself.

With this disclaimer, I will recap some of the thoughts which were shared in the show. Jamilah interviewed some other parents who shared how they taught their children. One of the thoughts shared was to teach by example. Pray or meditate (whatever you choose to call it) with your children. Jamilah shared how saying a prayer (even if you don’t quite get all of it) helps as it helps change the energy around and within you. For example, I say a Hindu prayer that is aimed at getting rid of one’s ego. When I first said if I did not really understand it, but even so, having said it for a year now I see the difference. Jamilah shared about contemplative prayer. This is going silent to discover better ways to communicate with the Divine. Some say this is the way to be able to really hear divinity. Some of us struggle with quieting our Ego or inner voice enough to hear guidance from above. Jamilah, a Muslim, shared some of the rituals her religion does and how these help her and her children connect to God. We went on to talk about other rituals which occur in many religions such as burning incense and candles. We can also use the power of scents to help us pray or even scents such as lavender can help us or our children relax or we can use frankincense when praying. These simple rituals can help our children feel closer to God and when coupled with prayers can be quite powerful indeed.

We discussed how powerful prayer has been shown in studies. For example, in a study published in the Journal of Conflict Resolution of a two-month study on a coherence group in Israel. While the group was meditating there was a 76% drop in the number of war deaths in Lebanon and a 68% drop in war injuries. A Yale professor of science, Bruce Russett published this study and said "Although the theory seems impossible, the study met the stringent scientific standards needed for inclusion in the journal." This means these drops in violence could not statistically have occurred by chance.

A caller called in and shared she was reading the book, The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz. This is a great simple, straight forward book with principles to live life with keeping four agreements. According to Ruiz these agreements are as follows: 1) Be impeccable with your word. 2) Don’t take anything personally. 3) Don’t make assumptions. 4) Always do your best. Ruiz gives us these simple yet really powerful messages.

There are so many ways to learn about God and so many roads to get there. Rather than allowing religion or beliefs to separate us we need to focus on commonality and realize we are children of God. Our hope for this show is to bridge divides by openly exploring and communicating with each other to help us be better people and better parents. Whether you are a parent with a specific religion which you follow or you are learning and trying to find one which resonates with you we hope this show can help all of us share and grow together.