Friday, March 16, 2018

Friday Q & A -- inspiring children spiritually

We've been been in Utah this week moving Max into his new life and visiting family.  It's spring break in the desert.  Dave had to fly back early for work and the girls and I are just setting off on our long journey driving home.  Wish us luck!

I finally got the chance to respond to some of the comments in past posts yesterday.  


I'm never great at replying to questions and thoughts in the comment section but I've been even worse lately because I haven't been around for the past few weeks... I've mostly just had posts scheduled as I've been in and out of much internet connection.  So there there are some answers to questions back there if you want to scroll back.  

But for today, here's a question someone asked that I wanted to get to because it's something I'm constantly working on...and I know others are too.  So here we go:  

Would love to hear how you inspire your children in a spiritual way. Love that you have a lot meaningful talks in the midst of everyday life. If you ever want to share a post on your tips on developing spirituality in children I would be all over it. Struggling on how to tap into my kids innate way of connecting with God. Thankfully my girls are still young, so there is time and some maturity will help. As for now, my five year old laughs during prayer and thinks God is not real.

I wouldn't worry too much about that sweet five-year old of yours...I think faith and spirituality are always evolving.  I love what you said about your kids' "innate way of connecting with God" because I do believe each child (and adult for that matter) connects in a slightly different way.  The key is building spirituality into part of a family culture.  Dave and I feel strongly that if we help our children develop a strong relationship with God they will be able to weather anything that comes their way in life.  If they can only remember to reach out, reach up, and let Him be their guide.

There are a few things we do in our family and I'd love others to pipe in because I know there are lots of good ideas out there.

Family Scriptures.  I know I've talked about this a lot lately, but I do believe it's the best way to have that "spiritual repetition" (remembering the "signs" like I talked about back HERE) simply built into the day.  It serves as a constant reminder that we can connect with God.

Family Home Evening.  We do this on Sundays and have a lesson about some spiritual aspect each week.  Sometimes these are impromptu lessons (most of the time)...just something we've been thinking about.  Sometimes the kids will want to relate something from a church lesson (in Primary sometimes their teachers have encouraged them to go home and teach their families about what they learned that day and I love that).  There are lots of good Family Home Evening ideas on lds.org over HERE, my sister Saren just sent a great one in particular HERE, and I've posted about FHE back HERE and one little "FHE series" idea we did back HERE (and lots of other places I'm sure).  Having an opportunity to discuss faith and spiritual ideas in a safe place is a beautiful thing.

Each month for that FHE on Fast Sundays we have our own family Testimony Meeting (see below).

Family Testimony Meeting.  This is one of my very favorite things.  Because I believe "a testimony is to be found in the bearing of it" (I have no idea who said that, but I've held onto it for a lot of years).  If kids are given the opportunity to express what they believe, what they're struggling with, even what they are hoping to gain a belief of...to share experiences in a safe environment it builds those feelings and thoughts into tangible parts of their hearts.  Not sure if that makes sense, but lots more about family testimony meetings HERE along with "fasting club."

Family Prayer.  We do this at meals, after family devotional, during Sunday Family Home Evenings, at bedtime, as a "huddle" a lot of the time, right before everyone leaves in different directions.  Oftentimes we will ask if anyone has anything particular they'd like us to pray for (a test at school, something they're struggling with, etc.) so we can be united in pleading from Heaven for them.

We do all these things and others I'm not thinking of right now, but I believe what you mentioned in the question is what really cements it all together: working meaningful conversations into the minutia of every-day life.  Because really, that's were all that faith-building comes into play.  

All day, every day.  

Whether it's in the car on the way to practice talking through what someone on the team who may not be the nicest may be dealing with, or one child's sorrow over feeling intensely lonely and like they are lacking in friends, or struggling in a particular class at school or requesting guidance to figure out the next step in life or how to deal with emotions that come, how to deal with a sibling who might be driving them crazy...every thing that comes along can be related back to that relationship with God. That all-knowing loving God who wants to carry them through the hard things if they'll let Him.

Sometimes it takes reminding ourselves that He's there.  Wanting to hold our hand through the tantrums and the sorrows and the hardships and also celebrating the triumphs (often when something great happens we gather immediately in a little huddle to THANK GOD for the good things that happen...from finding car keys to an "answer" to a tough decision).

He is there.  Oh, how I hope these kids can always remember that.  And that they have a Savior who paved the way so that we can all return to Him some day.

18 comments:

  1. "Finding spirituality" and "teaching religion" are two VERY DIFFERENT things.

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  3. Hi, Shawni - I wanted to ask your opinion about mainstream Christian worship music. A couple Mormons I have talked to have expressed that they don’t listen to worship music, aside from the hymns that are taught within the church. Personally, music has always inspired me spiritually and helps me feel more connected to God!

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    1. Mormon here and I love worship music😊. It's just not some people's thing, but it's not connected to the religion necessarily. I love all music that helps me feel connected to God👍.

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    2. We on the other hand sang "I am a Child of God" at the Catholic baptism of my son.

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    3. I’m also Mormon and we love worship music! That’s mostly what we listen to in the car. The messages are MUCH better than mainstream radio songs. I took my 13 year old daughter on a date to a worship music concert and we had a great time!

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    4. I'm with you, I love any music that inspires...music is an amazing way to be uplifted spiritually. Some of my favorite spiritual songs are not necessarily hymns...although I love those too. Lucy has been insisting we listen to "The Miracle" over and over again over here in anticipation of Easter (here: https://shawnaedwardsmusic.com/pages/the-miracle) and there are some awesome songs on EFY albums that have such beautiful messages. Kerstin I love that you guys sang "I am a Child of God" for the baptism...one of my favorites :)

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  4. thanks for this inspiring post :)

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  5. I went back and forth on whether to comment or not. Original poster, I also do not believe that a god is real. I'm quite happy with my life. It's entirely possible that your religion will brush off on your 5 year old. But if not, it's not the end of the world. As I said, I'm quite happy. My family does worry for me but I don't. I don't really know what to say and maybe I shouldn't have commented but it's possible to have a good, fulfilling life without religion. I know it's not ideal for you, but isn't life and parenting really about making them happy and making sure they turn into good humans? I love this blog and I read a lot of catholic mom blogs and I'm not a jerk. To each their own. But they can still be good humans. :)

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    1. You should comment, it’s a valid point! (And you don’t sound like a jerk). The original poster probably wants her daughter to experience the same bond she has with God because it’s something she values. Belief in God or not, this daughter will probably turn out to be a kind person and a positive contributor to society. It’s like tasting good food—you want someone you care about to have the yummy experience, too. (At least, that’s how I feel as a religious mom). I’m sure you have certain experiences you value that you would hope others you care about would value, too. But you’re right, our kids may find happiness and fulfillment in a different way than we do, and though it can be hard for us, that’s the beautiful thing about our freedom to choose ��

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    2. I love your comment, BearikaBallerina, I am so grateful when people add different perspectives in such a positive way to this blog. Lauren's response was better than one I could give (thank you Lauren) so I won't re-state but I do want to thank you for your input.

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    3. You two are awesome. I love the positivity (my computer says that word isn't real...what...) in the blogs and how they carry into the comments. Thank you for your kind responses. :) I wasn't sure what kind of response I would get and I'm so glad to see I didn't get ripped to shreds because, sadly, it's hard to have a civil conversation with adults these days, especially with different viewpoints, and especially when it comes to people expressing different beliefs. This is refreshing!

      I hope you both had a great weekend and have a great week. :) I'm so tired.

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  6. These are such wonderful ideas/tips (my parents did some of them growing up, which I greatly appreciate!). And, I love that you can do most of them for any religion. Thank you for your thoughts ��

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    1. Sorry, there shouldn’t be ?? at the end (oops!)

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  7. You quoted a line from one of my favorites, President Boyd K. Packer: “A testimony is to be found in the bearing of it. Somewhere in your quest for spiritual knowledge, there is that ‘leap of faith,’ as the philosophers call it. It is the moment when you have gone to the edge of the light and step into the darkness to discover that the way is lighted ahead for just a footstep or two.”

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  8. Here's the link for the talk by President Packer that contains your quote and a treasure trove of ideas on the differences between spiritual knowledge and physical knowledge and how to go about gaining both. Great topic today! Thanks!
    https://www.lds.org/ensign/1983/01/the-candle-of-the-lord?lang=eng

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    1. Thank you so much for helping me with these sources LauraB and Carla!
      xoxo

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