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How do you teach a child to be spiritual with inner wisdom?

Posted Sept. 21, 2010 by duquem in Open

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commented on Aug. 28, 2014
by SufferingServant



What are some ideas as to how teach a child starting at a very young age if you do not belong to an organized religion. Any suggestions?

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 28, 2014

    I'm a big fan of 'the village environment' for raising children, and just generally working and living together where everyone within the group helps the entire group.

    In villages, often the older women are very involved with raising the children. They have many of the tools to do so much better than young or first time mothers. I could go on and on about this topic....

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    SufferingServant Aug 28, 2014

    The same basic principles apply to older children, though I am not practiced yet with older children so I cannot contribute much there, yet.

    It's very important to teach children how to be individuals, but equally important to teach them that their environment is part of them, and they part of it. They need to learn to respect their environment as much as they do themselves.

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 28, 2014

    To answer the original query, I believe we can teach our children to develope inner wisdom by starting at a young age, teaching 'you are your environment'. Teach them to be more considerate in their actions, taking into account how their actions may affect their environment (including the people around them).

    Then we have to really figure out how to compliment their strengths by giving them opportunities to learn about and discover what they are naturally interested in. We have to learn how to play with our children, and most importantly to teach them how to play on their own.

    Also, we have to figure out what NOT to do. We don't want to punish our children incorrectly, or make them feel uncomfortable in their own skin. Often parents will smack/spank their children and send them to their room. This is terrible!

    I have a 2 1/2 year old son and a 11month old daughter. They love being around each other, but he can be to rough with her. He will sometimes push her out of the way, or yank 'his' toys from her hand. When I see him do it, I do this:

    1) make sure he's aware of what he did. Children are very good at understanding you if you know how to communicate with them.. And they communicate well if you know how to listen.. Even before they can speak clearly.

    2) Then I will spank him. Not hard at all, it more or less just scares him. If he smiles like he doesn't care, I will spank him again on his exposed skin, such as his thigh.

    3) Usually he will cry, or at least look at me with a shocked look on his face.

    4) Then I will pick him up and hug him, letting him know I love him. He always lays his head on my chest while he continues crying.

    5) While I'm holding him, I will continue talking to him letting him know what he did, why it was wrong, that it hurts his sister, remind him he loves his sister, tell him it hurts her when he does what he did, tell him he needs to share his toys, etc.

    6) Then when he's done crying, I will get him to laugh.. Usually by tickling his side with my mouth like I am pretending to eat him (he loves it)

    7) Then I will take him to the baby, remind him how he should play with her. I let him know and show him it's okay for the baby to take toys from him because she is still a baby.

    I rarely have to spank him, usually just a few stern words accompanied by a look and then calmly reminding him how he should act - I often say 'Mason! That is bad. You are being bad. Can you be a good boy please like Calliou, his favorite cartoon character. Most often that works.

    Most important observation is to follow up punishment with love.

    I obviously never spank my daughter, but my son is old enough to comprehend so when he intentionally does something 'bad' I am required to not let him ever believe I will allow it.

    When he does smaller things that are 'bad', like dumping out his juice, he never gets sparked. Only when he does something mean to his sister.

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 27, 2014

    Ermm... Maybe we should've listened?

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Aug 26, 2014

    Many religions for thousands of years have taught their children "to be spiritual with inner wisdom." Where has this gotten us?

  • Anonymous Icon

    SufferingServant Aug 26, 2014

    It's the unwise who have 'gotten us' where we are.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Aug 26, 2014

    Many religions for thousands of years have taught their children "to be spiritual with inner wisdom."
    Where has it gotten us?

  • Silverghost Aug 03, 2014

    G'day Ros

    We live in a reality of ignorance, we might be knowledgeable but we still live in a reality of ignorance for the main reason we express very little wisdom within our knowledge, the state of the world is a good example of how unwisely we are using this knowledge.

    My wife and I have subscribed to a magazine called World of Knowledge, in the recent edition it describes how China is using this knowledge unwisely, destroying their own environment and turning it into a toxic waste land. These unwise practices don't just affect China either, people in Oregon in the US are being affected as well from what China is doing and of course other developed countries have been doing this for some decades as well to one extent or another.

    I think we need to teach wisdom before we teach knowledge, it's no good having all this knowledge and not being able to use it wisely and properly.

    The problem with modern day science is it’s put all it’s efforts in to separating itself from other ideological principles and in turn lost such wisdom. We live in ignorance more than ever throughout human history, yes we have all this knowledge and better ways of gaining more knowledge but we have lost our wisdom by replacing wisdom with knowledge instead of using wisdom with this knowledge.

    The ego tells us that science it the be and end all only because science is living in ignorance, the ego can’t exist without ignorance so of course science will, in ignorance, forgo wisdom as wisdom relates to other ideological principles. The ego of course tells science it doesn’t need other ideological principles to function properly but of course it is obvious it does as it lacks wisdom to know how to use this knowledge wisely!!

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Jul 31, 2014

    Comment that I posted in another discussion, "Is Believing In God Evolutionarily Advantageous?" are relevant here as well. One can easily extend the term "God" for all spiritualistic BELIEF.

    Let's add to this the age old notion of "spirituality." Those that use the term rarely know its origins:

    The term spirit means "animating or vital principle in man and animals".[web 1] It is derived from the Old French espirit,[web 1] which comes from the Latin word spiritus "soul, courage, vigor, breath",[web 1] and is related to spirare, "to breathe".[web 1] In the Vulgate the Latin word spiritus is used to translate the Greek pneuma and Hebrew ruah.[web 1]

    The term spiritual, matters "concerning the spirit",[web 2] is derived from Old French spirituel (12c.), which is derived from Latin spiritualis, which comes from "spiritus" or "spirit".[web 2]

    The term spirituality is derived from Middle French spiritualite,[web 3] from Late Latin "spiritualitatem" (nominative spiritualitas),[web 3] which is also derived from Latin "spiritualis".[web 3]

    One only has to look at the Wiki to see that the term take several form.

    "Waaijman points out that "spirituality" is only one term of a range of words which denote the praxis of spirituality.[11] Some other terms are "Hasidism, contemplation, kabbala, asceticism, mysticism, perfection, devotion and piety".[11]"

    Waaijman, Kees (2002), Spirituality: Forms, Foundations, Methods, Peeters Publishers

    Let me challenge those that use the term to explain where they learned about the concept.

  • Anonymous Icon

    RealityOverScience Jul 31, 2014

    A wonderful companion resource for parents and teachers, that also makes a beautiful gift (of the *gift* ...of growing up/living Awakening/Consciousness) would be:

    Planting Seeds
    (Practicing Mindfulness with Children)
    - Thich Nhat Hanh, and the Plum Village Community (his meditation center in France).

    This is such an adorable book, filled with illustrations throughout as if drawn by children, stories, lots of activities, meditation guides for children (including cut----out colorful meditation cards), songs to sing (including a CD!) with lyrics and musical notes to play them!

    Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, and the book is "saturated with a deep respect and sensitivity for children and families, a veritable cornucopia of ideas, exercises, activities and resources for anyone interested in mindfulness in education or in parenting...(with an)... underlying spirit of gentleness in tone and substance that reminds us all of the precious responsibility we have in regard to the nurturance of the minds and hearts of children."

    I have such a ~ special place ~ in my heart for Vietnamese Buddhist monks, :) , after one day (trying so hard to save people's lives) being literally laughed out of the physics dept. building of my University by a head physicist who (following me out after a long talk, laughing all the way), couldn't begin to hear me, despite an Einstein paper on his desk, right in front of us as we talked, saying precisely the very same thing I was trying to convey to him! He then had to run off to ...present... that very paper at a lecture, and I'd always wished I'd been a little fly on the wall to see how he was going to suddenly keep *hearing me trying to wake him up* as he presented it. Moments later, feeling frustrated and distraught, as if planted there by the Universe itself, I stumbled upon a Vietnamese Buddhist monk studying for an exam in a glass-walled classroom and asked if I could sit to talk with him for a few moments. We didn't need that few moments! He could hear me inside and out at our very first glance into each other's eyes! Instant empathy! Aka...Telepathy of the Enlightened Ones! :)(: It was the first time in my life I experienced such profound, instant, immediate validation on my *far more highly evolved* level of superConsciousness! With a wink ;) he told me everything I'd just tried to share with the physicist (and the others who directed me to him), and then we smiled and shook our heads at modern science's adamant determination to "take centuries" to figure it out!

    I am forever profoundly grateful to *my* Vietnamese Buddhist monk, and his *being there for me* in that moment.

    Thich Nhat Hanh also doesn't disappoint! :)

    Gotta love reflection/*reflection.*

  • Silverghost Jul 30, 2014

    Wisdom is about thinking for yourself, not about how others are thinking for us.

    What you have supplied Ros takes wisdom to successfully collate together to make sense otherwise all we would be doing is counterfeiting/ plagiarising someone else’s thoughts.

    What you have supplied here takes wisdom, don’t expect anyone who isn’t wise and can’t think for themselves to make any sense of this or accept this info you have given here.

  • Anonymous Icon

    RealityOverScience Jul 30, 2014

    Model *balance* with consistency. :)

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Jul 30, 2014

    Some believe you can actually teach children.....

    "In Asch's experiments, students were told that they were participating in a 'vision test.' Unbeknownst to the subject, the other participants in the experiment were all confederates, or assistants of the experimenter. At first, the confederates answered the questions correctly, but eventually began providing incorrect answers.

    At the conclusion of the experiments, participants were asked why they had gone along with the rest of the group. In most cases, the students stated that while they knew the rest of the group was wrong, they did not want to risk facing ridicule. A few of the participants suggested that they actually believed the other members of the group were correct in their answers.

    These results suggest that conformity can be influenced both by a need to fit in and a belief that other people are smarter or better informed. Given the level of conformity seen in Asch's experiments, conformity can be even stronger in real-life situations where stimuli are more ambiguous or more difficult to judge."

  • Silverghost Jul 30, 2014

    I missed this one, philosophy, get them to think for themselves instead of others thinking for them. Philosophy as a whole does teach one to think for themselves however this will most likely get them into trouble with various people unless they practice in a spiritual practice to become less judgemental and egotistic. This of course depends on what kind of philosophy one gets into.

    List of philosophical concepts: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_philosophical_concepts

    Glossary of philosophy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_philosophy

    Philosophy isn't the only answer of course but many ideological concepts use philosophical concepts within them including spirituality.

    Simple philosophy: http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/life-strategies/inspiration-motivation/philosophy-101-00000000018872/

    Extract: Everything on earth, whether an object (such as a car) or an idea (such as justice), is actually an imperfect copy of an ideal and permanent “form” that exists somewhere, beyond our universe. This is known as the Theory of Forms. The place where all these ideal forms exist is guided by a heavenly force that Plato believed should influence our behavior. (This notion shaped Christianity.) The ideal that was the most important to Plato was moral goodness, which he called “the good.” He believed that we should spend our lives trying to attain absolute goodness, even if we always fall short, because it is the path to happiness.
    Plato believed that the ideal version of love is a meeting of the minds and doesn’t entail a physical aspect―hence the term “platonic relationship.”

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Jul 29, 2014

    I am search back through all the discussions for a historical perceptive of this community.
    This discussion was one of the more interesting ones.
    I won't debate the issue of teaching vs learning beyod the point of saying that we have been teaching spiritualism to children for centuries.

    There are two ways a child learns directly and indirectly.
    I've read that a child's first sense of an other is a mother's unconscious voice and not her conscious voice.
    Can we infer that here that what we currently see in the world is what our children are learning from us and that this is a reflection of our true nature?

  • mysticmuse Jan 09, 2011

    They get it more from what we are than what we say. Maybe to be a supernaturally good person, and not try to hard at at teaching. Share in a spontaneous way without forcing anything. Learning is a joyful adventure. To be full of love and bright thoughts will make things go as well as might be.


  • Anonymous Icon

    Giorgio Piacenza Cabrera Oct 13, 2010

    If you have genuine, practical and universal principles they have to believe you more than their peers. Sometimes. a combinaiton of clear structure, hierarchy and authority combined with care, love and playfulness, does the trick. If you walk your talk, this also helps.
    They may or may not have an inborn tendency towards spirituality but don't overwhelm them with expectations as they are going to detest them. Forget about the "indigo children" stuff.
    Working in shared interests and projects also helps children take your values more seriously.

  • frequencytuner Oct 08, 2010

    There are no right or wrong answers. Learn from each other. The unconditioned mind of a child has much to teach you, especially during that first 7 year 'sponge period' where they absorb everything and judge nothing. This is perhaps the greatest gift they can teach us. The key is to perpetuate it by mirroring it back and forth to each other as you both learn and grow together. The 'master teacher' is born within this dynamic balance.

  • Tess89 Oct 07, 2010

    Until the age of seven they are more open/spiritual than we are. So then I would think that you don't need to teach them anything about being spiritual but that they could teach you something about being spiritual.

    After the age of 7, I agree with frequencytuner that if you want your child to use his inner wisdom that you should use it too and that you sjould be spiritual as well.

  • MysticalSadhu Sep 29, 2010

    The mundane world may necessitate boundaries, though the mind, in psycho-spiritual pursuit, must not have boundaries, for it is only this realm where unfettered infinity exists, the solely spiritual realm having a steady constancy we simply must discover, allow, acknowledge in the most subtle realm of our being. The material and sensual worlds are temporal, not lasting, and the mundane intellect comes up with ideas, though they invariably reach their obsolescence and have debilitating influences upon the material world when not modified for time, place and person. In the psycho-spiritual realms these can be treated and operated more ethically as we polish our psycho-spiritual realm. As children we know such already, indoctrinations lead us astray, demonstrating the point being made.

  • Fallensoul Sep 29, 2010

    It depends on what exactly you expect to learn. Spirituality and inner wisdom are quite open topics (as we can see by the comments from everyone), so you'll have to refine your question based on what you are actually serious about learning. For example, do you want to understand and love God and all beings, do you want some mystical experience or to be less materialistic and loving in your life without anything divine etc. These all fit in spirituality. What are you searching for? What is it that you expect to give to your child? Then a teacher can be found the same way you would go about finding a violin teacher.

  • Anonymous Icon

    ommadevaki Sep 28, 2010

    I've had the pleasure of raising seven sons. Each arrived with his own distinctive wisdom. When Jason was two years old he said to me, "Who are you?" I said, "I"m your mother." He said, "No really, who are you?" That was a clue that Jason was already in tune with a dimension that I had never known, or perhaps forgotten about. I've come to believe that each human arrives with a goal that will further the growth of his/her soul, and the best way to facilitate spiritual growth is pay attention to the child's gifts and help him to refine those gifts. Jason went to Stanford...he also played for the NFL for twelve years using a zen approach. My child who has Down's Syndrome has a different type of gift, he understands heart. One time when I was reprimanding his brother, he came into the room and said, "What are you two doing? I thought we all loved each other in this house." My advice? Give yourself permission to learn from your children. Empower them to follow their own inner light.

    Before I visited Ananda Mayee Ma in her ashram in Haridwar, India, I thought to be spiritual meant to sit in silence. When I stepped into her ashram I was greetied by a wonderful cacophony of sound: Drums, chanting, people talking above the din....While I gain a great deal from sitting in silence, I have learned that that isn't necessarily more spiritual than clearing my mind and listening...to my child, my husband, my students.

    Peace at the core,,,,

  • Anonymous Icon

    duquem Sep 28, 2010

    All wonderful suggestions.

    Fallensoul, you have a very good point. How does one go about finding a teacher?

  • Fallensoul Sep 28, 2010

    Well, how do you teach a child violin? Get a violin teacher who knows. You cant teach your child something you dont understand yourself or is vague to you. Find a guru who knows very clearly what spirituality and inner wisdom is, without the vagueness - it should be clear and make concrete sense to you and you should have strong faith in the teacher as an authority on the subject, just as you would choose a good violin teacher. For example, the ancient Vedic scriptures of India defines spirituality as a clear understanding of who we are, who God is and what our relationship between God and ourselves are. Good luck!

  • Xiakathy Sep 25, 2010

    Children need boundaries, and to be taught that screaming in supermarkets is not on. That making decisions about whether to buy cake or biscuits is not a tangible learning curve for a xis year old. That having treats in life is a privilege, not a right. And that love is preferable to fear, that's really important and can only be taught by example. Polarities and paradoxes are real things - maybe write little bedtime stories for those. "Once there was a caterpillar living in a tree, and the tree never moved, so the caterpillar didn't ever think the tree was alive...." :) While meditation might be a bit advanced for most modern parents (hopefully it won't always be, but it certainly was for me!) general measures of respect for life and experience (and their unfathomable enormity...!) need to find a place again, or society cannot evolve.... there's that word again......! wonder why E is so important...?

  • Anonymous Icon

    niceast Sep 22, 2010

    Children learn by observation and mimicry. If a child sees his parents or peers meditating with satisfaction, he or she will want to attain the same level of satisfaction. Treating children with proper respect for their abilities and needs encourages them to try new (to them) activities to which they are exposed. We have the ability to facilitate our children and grandchildren in their spiritual quests and should encourage them to experiment in meditating. I have given others opportunities to learn the kind of meditation I do and many have taught themselves how to listen to the wisdom within. Learning to quiet your mind first id usually the big problem for youngsters, but when they become quiet, they can hear their Souls speak. Then they will begin to remember what their Souls already know.

  • frequencytuner Sep 22, 2010

    Be that spiritual wisdom yourself. If the child looks to you for guidance your example will be enough.

  • MysticalSadhu Sep 21, 2010

    Acknowledge that it already has such wisdom and lovingly preen them to use it with confidence.

    There are many things we tell our children, both consciously and subconsciously, directly and implicitly. As we move through time to concise moments when we give children a piece of wisdom [we think] appropriate for a given moment, some of the difficulty in conveying such at such moments will have been asuaged if we had done this years earlier. Walking down the street with babe in arms? Speak to it of how to negotiate traffic, show respect for others, and say so very softly, lovingly.

    When the moments, years later, bring the opportunity to teach such more overtly, there will be more profound resonance and far less resistance. The same goes for morsels of wisdom. For many of us Westerners, particularly Americans, we have an aversive balkanization between adulthood and childhood that debilitates our wisdom or even rapport for and with children and childhood as adults. That should surely be resolved, in ourselves and prevented of our children to suffer as well.

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