Parenting is the embodiment of God’s love in the world
In the first decade of life, the child advances through a process of integrating his or her spiritual “knowing” with other developing capabilities, including cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development, all of which are shaped by interactions with parents, family, peers, and community. Without support and lacking encouragement to keep developing that part of himself, the child’s spiritual attunement erodes and becomes “disaggregated” in the crush of a narrowly material culture.
Miller, Dr. Lisa. The Spiritual Child (pp. 3-4). St. Martin's Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Children are born with innocence and then socially conditioned to think certain things, feel certain things, and behave in certain ways. An interesting question is “what does this social conditioning consist of? What are the beliefs, opinions, values, and practices which the child is subjected to?”
Parents are very attentive to material things as they should be because they sustain physical life. Then they are attentive to social and psychological things because they contribute to harmony and peace and enjoyment. Parents are very attentive to whatever they consider “success.” In the United States we are a success driven culture not only for the child’s well being but for the parent’s ego and satisfaction.
Many children are exploited consciously and unconsciously by parents and other family members for their own benefit. In such situations the spiritual well being of the child is overlooked. The child is experienced as a means to an end, not an end itself. Love is conditional and not unconditional. Children become spiritually stunted and damaged.
This spiritual harm and damage is done both by sins of commission and sins of omission. It is not only what is done to the child, but what is not done that contributes to spiritual failure to thrive.
Unitarian Universalists covenant together to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person. This begins at conception and birth and continues throughout the life cycle. We often think life begins at birth but it doesn’t. It begins in the twinkle or lack thereof in the parents’ eyes. Was the child wanted or unwanted or a surprise? Perhaps the first milestone of a child’s spiritual life is in the fact of whether the child was wanted. Was the parent cooperating with the creative power of the universe to bring a new being into the world or just the necessary machinery for the production of a human being.
The responsibility for fertility resides in the person engaging in the procreative act and this is where the spiritual journey of the person begins.
Unitarian Universalists also covenant together to affirm and promote justice, equity, and compassion in human relations. This principle applies to child bearing and raising as one of the first sentences a child can say stringing words together in a sentence is “It’s not fair!”
There is nothing that forces an adult to grow up faster than becoming a parent. The adult’s own spiritual orientation becomes the basis for the child’s spiritual development. Is the child wanted? Is the child loved unconditionally? Is the parent the embodiment of God’s love in the world?
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