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Moral Development of Children: Spiritual Inheritance
A common complaint of American parents is that they no longer have the tools to teach children right from wrong. Parents argue that because their tool of spanking is gone, so is their ability to discipline. In light of the principles of spiritual and moral development, the problem may not be technique, but lack of "spirit." Without the inner discipline, taught by a parents words and deeds, the outer discipline is unprofitable (spiritually speaking).
So, what can a parent do to increase the interest rate of their child's moral bank account? Mimi Doe, in 10 Principles for Spiritual Parenting offers various exercises, affirmations, and activities for parents for each spiritual parenting principle:
- Spiritual Principle #1: Knowing God Cares for You. "Establish daily spiritual habits and household rituals�pray anytime you hear a siren�Send a blessing to everyone involved in the emergency incident�paint or draw pictures of God�point out simple signs of God in your child's life: the perfect snowflake, the lunar eclipse, the magic of spring�Learn about the worlds religions�create a family altar."
- Spiritual Principle #2: Trust and teach that all life is connected and has a purpose. "Bring nature inside and let your family observe growth�Get involved in neighborhood beautification projects�Celebrate Earth Day�Take a hike�plant a butterfly garden or window box�Adopt a cause."
- Spiritual Principle #3: Listen to your child. "Have mealtime conversations�ask your child to write some prayers that the whole family can use�Make dates for one-on-one with your children�Set up specific discussion themes and times�Read books with your child�have family meetings�Wish upon a star with your child."
- Spiritual Principle #4: Words are important, use them with care. "Write a poem about your pets�Create a cartoon character that represents you�Create a story box�Grab your journal before you go to sleep at night and jot down five images of your child from the day�write the story of your child's birth�plant secret love notes�Pray together as a family�tape record your daily conversations."
- Spiritual Principle #5: Allow and encourage dreams, wishes and hopes. "Spend time role-playing a dream�create a dream book�point out examples of good luck throughout the day�encourage team activities, sports, and interest groups�Ask each family member to draw or write his goals or dreams"
- Spiritual Principle #6: Add magic to the ordinary. "Look for the fairy in the soap bubbles when you wash dishes�walk in the rain�Arrange the bedsheets into a tent and turn an ordinary night into an enchanted imaginary camp-out�watch the moon come out�Have a picnic indoors�Try waking your child with a song�Play in the snow�come up with a family logo or family slogan."
- Spiritual Principle #7: Create a flexible structure. "Take a recess from dishwashing for a night�turn out the lights and just use candles�have fun with a monthly dinner with international cuisine and music�choose a direction and walk for ten minutes that way�get silly�talk in a silly language."
- Spiritual Principle #8: Be a positive mirror for your child. "Acknowledge your mistakes�sing hymns, drum, chant, or pray�Ask the blessing at mealtimes, say goodnight prayers, ask for a safe journey�laugh�List five traits you like about yourself as a child�support and cheer on others�yell or hold up cheering signs�smile."
- Spiritual Principle #9: Release the struggle. "Release you image of an ideal family�accept that children are not always going to please you�take a quiet day�slow down�Help your child create a peaceful place in her mind�imagine a restful setting�Ask your child to place his hands on his heart. Feel the beating�picture light around your home�meditate�take a hot bath�Form a parent group�push back the furniture and allow your child to dance their energy out."
- Spiritual Principle #10: Make each day a new beginning. "Validate successes at the day's end, even small ones such as waking up on time�It's alright to say no�Don't sweat the small stuff�rethink your priorities today�Play with the idea that you have no limits�Start the morning on a peaceful note. If it means making lunches and laying out school clothes the night before, do so�get up fifteen minutes earlier�Encourage children to eat slowly�Walk like a winner�In the evening visualize how you would like tomorrow to turn out."
�2002 Ron Huxley, LMFT
Ron Huxley, LMFT is the founder of parentingtoolbox.com and angertoolbox.com. He is also a licensed child and family therapist and father of four!
excerpts taken from an article in Soul Parenting, Inspiring Spirit Wise Parenting Choices.