The research shows a clear difference between strict adherence to a particular religious denomination and personal spirituality, with the latter focused upon spirituality as “an inner sense of living relationship to a higher power (God, nature, spirit, universe, the creator, or whatever your word is for the ultimate loving, guiding life-force).” This focus may seem clear and self-evident, but it took nearly two decades for the scientific community to embrace it.
Miller, Dr. Lisa. The Spiritual Child (pp. 6-7). St. Martin's Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Some people are religious but not spiritual, and some people are spiritual but nor religious, and some people are both religious and spiritual and some people say they are neither.
What about you? When the Pew Research Group does studies on the topic of religion they find that in the United States people increasingly say they are spiritual but not religious. It is ambiguous about what people mean by this. When questioned further they say things like “There is something out there bigger than me.”
So the way it winds up being discussed is the belief in a “Higher Power” whatever that Higher Power might be for them.
The first question for the parent-child relationship is what does the parent think about a Higher Power and having gained some clarity about that, what do they want to nurture, inculcate, and teach their children?
The important point here is that religion and spirituality are two different things and what a parent shares with their child about a Higher Power is important for the child’s development.
Children in the United States are encouraged up to the age of seven to believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Guardian Angels and other mythical creatures. At age seven the child comes to the “age of reason” and gives up these beliefs, and what, if anything takes their place? Parent-child discussions about Higher Powers after age 7 become more difficult.
What do you believe and what do you want to teach your children and grandchildren that would be helpful and healthy for their development? What kind of social support would you like for your efforts?
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