Rev. Rich Lang
With spiritual parenting, adults can show young people the bounty that life offers
We need to raise our children with a different story than that of military-fueled consumerism. We need to raise our children on stories of connection and compassion, on sharing and the delight of welcoming the stranger. We need, I think, to help our children cultivate an inner core of strength that sees through the vanity of power, privilege and status. We need, in other words, to learn how to practice spiritual parenting.
For example, many of us have experienced a very personal inner phenomenon in which a feeling of compassion and grace simply wells up from within us. Many have experienced being “in the zone” of creative expression. The muse falls upon us, and suddenly, trance-like, we begin to write, or paint, or shoot three-pointers from every side of the court. These experiences are felt as gifts and are received with great surprise and gratitude.
A spiritual parent knows that these experiences are what we are trying to say when we say that God is real and present within history. Understanding that God is part of our human experience is the key to helping our children understand the great mystery that is life and comprehend their purpose within this mystery. It is the key to helping them grasp their fundamental freedom from all forms of oppression and domination.
So much of what we are taught through the free market, media, military and government is that we are passive objects, and our worth is predicated on the belief that others can use us. But a deep spiritual wisdom of contradiction teaches us that we are each fantastic subjects in a great drama of redemptive and joyous connection, each person benefitting the other.
As parents we are needed now more than ever to help our children see beyond the surface into the deeper reality that life is good and bountiful, and that it bubbles up with surprise and kindness and mercy. Life is fundamentally an ecstasy of soul-filled appreciation for the sheer delight of being part of the cosmos, this unbridled creation.
As parents, where can we dip deeply into these secrets? Where can we go to immerse ourselves into such a joyous story? I believe this is what faith communities are all about. This is why I think parents need the structures, rituals, habits and countercultural, sacred stories embedded in such communities. Spiritual communities give us new interior scripts through which we can read life, and they give us new vision and creative imagination through which we find the strength to build a better world for better people.
For those who want to learn more about spiritual parenting, the Common Good Cafe will host a seminar, “Nurturing the Spirit of our Children,” on Oct. 30, at 5:30 p.m., at University Temple United Methodist Church, 1415 43rd Street NE. All faiths are welcome. We’ll have child care, food and a lively time of learning as parents together.
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