Children have an inborn spirituality, a spiritual compass, according to Lisa Miller, PH.D., the author of The Spiritual Child: The New Science of Parenting for Health and Lifelong Living. She calls it “heart knowing.” As a clinical psychologist, Miller has been studying spirituality and its place in child development for fifteen years. She believes parents are unaware of the research. That’s why she wrote this book.
In the introduction, she gives her credentials and summaries of case studies, interviews, and neuro-imaging research. She defines spirituality for the reader as “an inner sense of relationship to a higher power that is loving and guiding” and believes it does not necessarily equate with religion.
Throughout the book, Miller gives tips for parents such as recognizing the importance of commitment to family and to a spiritual community. She points out that unconditional love is spiritual parenting. I like her analogy that parenting is not a scorecard, but more like a” tidal wave of love that we are learning to surf.”
Adolescence can be one of the most stressful times for parents and their children. If you have an adolescent, the chapter The Quest: The Adolescent’s Search for Life’s calling, Meaning, and Purpose will give you insight into the changes in the adolescent brain and how senses are intensified in the rapidly changing brain.
The Spiritual Child will help you to recognize your child’s spiritual awareness and learn to encourage it, to start a conversation in unplanned spiritual moments, and to teach your child appreciation for spirituality in other cultures.
If you like The Spiritual Child, and are looking for a Christian aspect to nurturing your child's inner development check out In This House We Will Giggle; Making Virtues, Love & Laughter a Daily Part Your Family Life. It’s full of fun activities, such as “The Kiss Attack” or a whole list of ideas to encourage generosity.
To read with your child, I recommend If You Plant a Seed, a large-sized picture book that illustrates kindness and compassion. All of these titles are available at the Virginia Beach Public Libraries. Review by Sandi H.