Copyright 2006 Pat Brill
Building a spiritual home is a top consideration for most parents today. No matter what your religious orientation is, or even if you have one, you want to raise children with a strong sense of morals and a feeling of hope and being connected to something larger than themselves.
There are many things that go into building a spiritual home, but these five aspects are essential to building and sustaining a spiritual home.
1. Compassion. To raise children with compassion, you want to set an example of being compassionate. Volunteering in your community is one way you can show your compassionand take the kids with you. Its a wonderful way for them to learn about people who are less fortunate than they are and also help them be open to the diversity in the world.
2. Empathy. While compassion is a feeling for people, empathy allows you to put yourself in someone elses shoes and imagine how they feel, what their lives are really like. The ability to empathize is vital to ensuring that we will be able to understand others. And with the wide range of people our children will encounter during their lives, being able to empathize with them will help them act and react with understanding, rather than frustration and anger in many cases.
3. Discipline. To achieve anything, we humans need to have some discipline. We need it to enable us to get up each day and take care of our responsibilities. Discipline is necessary for setting goals and reaching them. It is also true that on occasions, disciplining our children and giving them the opportunity to reflect on their behavior is necessary. It helps them recognize what theyve done wrong and discover what they need to do to correct itand to see what not to do next time around.
4. Gratitude. The ability to be grateful for the wonderful things in our lives is an essential part of a spiritual life and home. We need to set an example for our children by taking time to talk about how thankful we are to have our families, health, homes and all the good things were fortunate to have. We need to temper our tendency to complain by spending time reflecting on and talking about the good stuff too. Being able to see the good and be grateful for it is vital to maintaining a healthy attitude when things get rocky and obstacles mount up. Teaching your children to be grateful is something that will be of great comfort and strengthen them throughout their lives.
5. Golden Rule. The foundation of any spiritual home can easily be traced to this simple rule: treat everyone as you would like to be treated. It has been the bedrock of spiritual practices and major religions, practically since the beginning of time, and is a crucial part of any spiritual home. Live by this rule yourself, teach it to your children and expect them to live by it themselves, and your family will have the spiritual foundation it needs to become a strong spiritual home.