The six core spiritual strengths
Your child is born with a capacity for spiritual knowing. Rather than leave it to be winnowed away by neglect, we can support their natural spirituality, hold open the space for expression, provide a language for it, and help their spiritual assets grow into these six core spiritual strengths:
1. A spiritual compass for trustworthy inner guidance
2. Family as a spiritual “home base” and sustaining source of connection, unconditional love, and acceptance
3. Spiritual community as an extension of the family’s field of love, a shared experience and a lifelong “road home” to spiritual connection
4. Spiritual “multilingualism” that broadens their access to a world of sacred experience and inspiration
5. Spiritual agency that empowers them to right action that expands the field of love into a culture of love
6. Transcendent knowing: dreams, mystical experiences, and other special knowing
These core strengths build out, like nesting dolls or concentric circles, from the most singular, intimate inner compass, extending and resonating through a child’s spiritual experience of family, community, the multicultural world, and ultimately into their own sense of spiritual agency and transcendent experience.
Miller, Dr. Lisa. The Spiritual Child (p. 177). St. Martin's Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
As you can see these six core spiritual strengths don’t have much to do with what we normally think of as “Sunday school” or religious training. These core spiritual strengths refer to the “perennial philosophy”; what all religious traditions have in common.
As Dr. Miller has made clear in her book, “spirituality” is the relationship the individual has with the Transcendent Reality whatever form that takes for the child. This experience of the Transcendent Reality is first based on attachment to primary caretakers and later to the broader community and then to interreligious experiences and awareness which gets manifested in the individual’s participation in society. Lastly there is an awareness and a vocabulary for the interior spiritual like which is composed of dreams, special knowing, and even what might be called mystical experiences described as “awe” and a feeling of oneness with everything.
Miller’s last chapter in Part One of her book describes the six spiritual strengths in more depth. It is well worth reading and discussing. However, we will not do it here but encourage readers to study this material.
- What thoughts do you have about Miller’s description of the six spiritual strengths?
- To what extent have these spiritual strengths been intentionally and unintentionally nurtured in your life?
- Having reviewed this model, do you have any ideas about how you can nurture the development of these strengths in your children and/or great grandchildren?