Why Talk About Spirituality In Schools? (Best solution)

provide experiences of awe for their students through art, music, nature, or studying great people are helping their students connect to something larger than themselves. teach prosocial skills such as gratitude, compassion, empathy, mindfulness, and altruism are helping their students develop positive relationships.

Contents

Why should spirituality be taught in schools?

The purpose of spiritual education is to fulfill the divine potential of children, and to prepare them for life by giving them the tools they need to keep on learning throughout the many experiences that will come to them. Another purpose of spiritual education is to build the person on all levels.

Why is spirituality so important?

It encourages people to have better relationships with themselves, others, and the unknown. Spirituality can help you deal with stress by giving you a sense of peace, purpose, and forgiveness. It often becomes more important in times of emotional stress or illness. Positive impacts of spirituality.

What does spirituality mean in education?

Spirituality in education refers to no more—and no less—than a deep connection between student, teacher, and subject—a connection so honest, vital, and vibrant that it cannot help but be intensely relevant.

What is the benefits of spiritual student?

The benefits: wisdom, insight, encouragement and support — that you give and you get. “It helps develop empathy and a wider perspective that could lead into service, which is a very important component of all of spirituality,” shares Olson. Read about why service-learning is an important part of education.

How do you show spirituality at school?

provide experiences of awe for their students through art, music, nature, or studying great people are helping their students connect to something larger than themselves. teach prosocial skills such as gratitude, compassion, empathy, mindfulness, and altruism are helping their students develop positive relationships.

Is spirituality important in the life of a student?

In the same vein, spirituality can be an ethic of caring which directs the student’s commitments for helping others. It can also be a means of equanimity which measures the magnitude a student is able to find meaning during hard times, sees each day as a gift and feels at peace.

What is your understanding of spirituality?

Spirituality involves the recognition of a feeling or sense or belief that there is something greater than myself, something more to being human than sensory experience, and that the greater whole of which we are part is cosmic or divine in nature. An opening of the heart is an essential aspect of true spirituality.

What are the benefits of spiritual growth?

So, here are five benefits to developing your spiritual nature.

  • Hopefulness. If there is one thing that spirituality can add to our life it is a sense of hope and optimism.
  • Compassion and Understanding.
  • Sense of purpose and meaning.
  • Inspiration and appreciation.
  • Peace of mind.

How education affects your values and spirituality?

Education in values can make a significant impact on many of social ills that exist due to lack of values. When education in values and spirituality is integrated into technical education programmes and provided to both genders equally, it results in more balanced individuals who are properly equipped for civil life.

How does education help in spiritual development?

Spiritual development is the development of the non-material aspects of life, focusing on personal insight, values, meanings and purpose. Pupils should have the opportunity to experience the “awe and wonder” of life.

What is school spiritual development?

Context. In England, schools are required to promote spiritual development, defined by Ofsted as pupils ‘ ability to be reflective about their own beliefs – religious or otherwise – that inform their perspective of life and respect for other people’s faiths, feelings and values.

Why is spirituality important for teachers?

“In general, spirituality means the connection with the infinite and powerful divine superior. If a teacher ties himself to this source during his teaching, he emanates the positive energy that promotes his education.”

What is the characteristics of spiritual student?

Astin’s Findings These are: Equanimity, Spiritual Quest, Ethic of Caring, Charitable Involvement, and Ecumenical Worldview. Astin found: “Students show the greatest degree of growth in the five spiritual qualities if they are actively engaged in “inner work” through self-reflection, contemplation, or meditation.

What Does “Spiritual Education” Mean?

The nonsectarian spiritual ideas that guide LWS’s everyday operations are a daily element of existence. Attitudes of compassion, collaboration, attentiveness, and joyous desire are praised and rewarded in this environment. (Click on the image to expand it.) It was the establishment of a school for young boys that was Paramhansa Yogananda’s first public service endeavor after his ordination as a swami. “I was committed to build a school where young boys may develop to the full size of manhood,” he said in 1916, when he opened his first school in the Bengal hamlet of Dihika with only seven students.

The first Ananda school was established in 1972 in Ananda Village, some sixty years after Yogananda’s death, and it was built on the goals and directives that Yogananda put forth for education.

Adapted from a discourse given by Swami Kriyananda in which he outlines the Education for Lifesystem that is utilized in the Ananda Schools, the following article is available online.

Yogananda was passionate about children’s education, yet he only stated a few words about it in his published works.

  • At the Living Wisdom School, there is a “altar of all religions” in one of the classrooms.
  • (Click on the image to expand it.) At Ananda, we are working on the development of a system called Education for Life, which is something that is desperately required in today’s world.
  • Despite the fact that children have a natural yearning for values and ideals, our society has created an environment and a life in which they have no faith.
  • It is the fault of our civilization that such atrocities may take place on our streets.
  • When we talk about spiritual education, we don’t mean the kind of education you get at a church.
  • Children who have a small bag of dates and consume them all by themselves are not nearly as happy as children who share their dates with others.
  • In addition to school, they can apply this understanding at home and in other aspects of their lives.

Another goal of spiritual education is to help the individual grow on all levels of consciousness.

A fascinating aspect about persons who write, as an example of a mental activity, is that they very often engage in some form of physical exercise to keep themselves grounded.

It is possible that we will become imbalanced if we allow one to take precedence over the other.

An education that is thorough, long-lasting, and successful must be highly customized in order to be effective.

We don’t want them to go out into society and discover that they are unable to relate to what is going on in their environment.

They do not, however, require that those facts be taught to them in a way that leads them to believe that there is no value in anything.

The foundation of spiritual education is to educate students for society in a way that will allow them to maintain their idealistic outlooks throughout their lives.

When kids venture out into the world, they may encounter hostility, criminal activities, and a variety of other undesirable experiences.

This is, without a doubt, the most pressing issue that individuals have about spiritual education.

Not that people become ignorant or lose their capacity to relate to the world as it currently exists is the case.

This is supported by several examples of people who conduct their lives in this manner and who are far, far better equipped to deal with the various obstacles that come their way.

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Even in the worldly definition of success, a spiritual education can really provide a guarantee of higher achievement.

He served as chairman of numerous significant corporations and was the owner of several others.

The fact that his consciousness was anchored in God, as well as in the desire to do what was right, was the key to his achievement.

An unfortunate aspect of modern education is the assembly-line approach to teaching, in which the same information is more or less dumped on everyone at the same time.

Small classrooms, in which the instructor can get to know each kid on a personal level, are vital for providing particular attention and for determining each child’s natural level of comprehension.

Lynn, Paramhansa Yogananda had many disciples, including James J.

(Click on the image to expand it.) The teaching of compassion, focus, will power, character strength, honesty, and other higher characteristics to youngsters enriches their lives.

The ultimate goal of life is not only to get a position of employment.

If you don’t know how to be really happy, no amount of money will ever be able to make you happy.

Do you know how many people get married and then divorce because they don’t know how to get along with their significant other?

neither for the rest of my life.

After we graduate from high school, when we are engaged in a never-ending conflict on the battlefield of life, this is preparation for the process of true learning that takes place after we leave school.

We can help children achieve long-term happiness by providing them with the skills and information they need to make the best decisions in life. It is only through spiritual wins that people may truly understand what it means to be successful in life.

Spirituality in Education

Inherent in all human beings is an inherent potential for spirituality, which is a necessary component of their overall growth and development as individuals. Developing a spiritual way of being helps young people develop in all areas of their lives, including their intellectual, emotional, moral, social, and physical development. Children’s spirituality should be nurtured since there is growing factual evidence that doing so promotes their health and happiness, as well as their ability to be more involved, higher achievers, and better citizens.

  1. These findings hold true independent of one’s gender, socioeconomic status, ethnic origin, or any other background.
  2. It is not only beneficial to the individual kid, but it is also necessary for the formation of a society of active citizens who are devoted to the common good, the regeneration of American democracy, and the advancement of sustainable development.
  3. The Collaborative for Spirituality in Education (CSE) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to sowing the seeds of social transformation and cultivating spiritually conscious citizens and leaders for a new generation.
  4. Spiritual growth may be fostered both within and outside of the framework of institutional religion, demonstrating that everyone has an inbuilt ability for spiritual development.

Bringing Secular Spirituality Into Education

Inherent in all human beings is an inherent capacity for spirituality, which is a necessary component of their overall growth and development. When a young person develops their intellectual, emotional, moral, social, and physical abilities, spirituality provides a foundation for their growth. Children’s spirituality should be nurtured since there is growing factual evidence that doing so promotes their health and happiness, as well as their ability to be more involved, high achievers, and good citizens.

  1. This holds true regardless of one’s gender, socioeconomic status, ethnic origin, or any other factor.
  2. It is not only beneficial to the individual kid, but it is also necessary for the formation of a society of active citizens who are devoted to the common good, the rebirth of American democracy, and the achievement of sustainable development.
  3. The Collaborative for Spirituality in Education (CSE) is a non-profit organization dedicated to sowing the seeds of social change and developing spiritually conscious citizens and leaders for the next generation.
  4. Spiritual development can be cultivated both within and outside of the framework of institutional religion, demonstrating the universality of the human capacity for spiritual development.

The Commission on the Status of Education affirms that all schools, whether public, private, religious, or charter, have the ability and responsibility to promote the healthy spiritual and moral development of students.

Spirituality in Education Conference Featured on NPR’s “Here and Now”

“The Next Wave in K-12 Education: The Spiritual Core of the Whole Child,”a conference on spirituality and education organized by theCollaborative for Spirituality in Education, brought together hundreds of educators, philanthropists, and nonprofit representatives at Teachers College in November. Robin Young, host of NPR’s “Here and Now,” was on hand to cover the event. When the Collaborative was founded, it was with the goal of spearheading a worldwide movement based on the belief that children are intrinsically spiritual and that they benefit from learning about spirituality in school.

Rather, adds Miller, head of the Collaborative for Spirituality in Education, “spirituality is a profound way of being that allows us to feel linked to all life while also being filled with wonder and reverence for the mystery of being.” Everyone have a spirituality.

As she explains, our ability to have spiritual experiences is “one-third heritable and two-thirds socialized,” which implies that parents, schools, and communities all have a significant role to play in developing the spirituality of children.

(Photo courtesy of the TC Archives) When it comes to education, the majority of efforts are channeled through curriculum, but Miller believes that the spirituality in education movement is about infusing a school’s culture with spiritual principles that inform the way students and educators relate to and treat one another – something he refers to as the “unspoken curriculum.” Among those cited is the philosopher John Dewey, who was a key architect of Teachers College’s educational philosophy and world view at the turn of the twentieth century and who stated that before we can have a political democracy, we must first have a “spiritual or social democracy,” in which we learn how to communicate effectively with people with whom we disagree.

Miller and other keynote speakers were featured in films that were broadcast on the Collaborative’s website as part of a summary of the conference.

  • Steven C. Rockefeller, professor emeritus and former dean of Middlebury College, who worked with the Earth Charter Commission and the Earth Council on the creation of the Earth Charter
  • Among those in attendance were Timothy Shriver, co-founder and Chair of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), as well as the International Board of Directors of Special Olympics
  • John (Jack) Miller, author of The Holistic Curriculum and editor of The International Handbook of Holistic Education at the University of Toronto
  • And other educators. In a panel discussion moderated by Robin Young, participants Mary Evelyn Tucker, Rabbi Judd Kruger Levingston, Sam Crowell, and others discussed the meaning of life. Walter Fluker is a well-known author.

This year’s national conference was organized by the Collaborative for Spirituality in Education, which has its research hub at Teachers College, and the National Council on Spirituality in Education. It was inspired by Miller’s 2015 conference, which was held on the belief that schools of all kinds – public, independent, charter, and religious – have a critical role to play in fostering spiritual and moral development in young people. Miller is a professor of education at Teachers College. The Collaborative’s work includes research, seminars, work on culture and climate in schools, and participation in the National Council on Spirituality in Education, which is building a national movement through conferences, training, and outreach.

For a one-year intensive training program in creating a spiritually supportive school culture, the CSE [email protected] now accepting applications from teams of educators from K-12 schools around the country. Published on the 29th of January, 2020

Religion in the Curriculum

Religion is not authorized to be taught in public schools, however teaching about religion in a secular setting is permissible. 1 The Bible may be taught in schools, but only for its historical, cultural, or literary significance; it may never be presented in a devotional, celebratory, or doctrinal manner, or in a way that fosters acceptance of the Bible as a religious text.

SPECIFIC ISSUESQUESTIONS

Religion can be taught as part of a secular educational curriculum, if that is what the students choose. Students learn about the significance of religion in the development of the United States’ historical, cultural, literary, and social development, as well as the history of other countries, through programs that “teach about religion.” Understanding, tolerance, and respect for a heterogeneous society should be instilled through these activities. Religious discussions in this environment must be conducted in a neutral, objective, impartial, and factual manner.

  1. Students should learn about the principle of religious liberty, which is considered to be one of the fundamental elements of freedom and democracy in the United States, through such programs.
  2. A public school curriculum may not include any religious or theological content.
  3. Teachers are not permitted to promote or disparage any specific religion, religion in general, or a student’s lack of belief in a particular religion.
  4. When it comes to religious views and practices, teachers must be highly attentive in order to respect and not interfere with the beliefs and practices of students.
  5. A program meant to teach religion, but disguised as a program about religion, will be determined to be unlawful under the First Amendment.
  6. While it is constitutionally permitted for public schools to teach about religion, it is prohibited for public schools and their staff to commemorate religious holidays, promote religious belief, or engage in religious practices.
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It is imperative that school officials and parents avoid crossing the line between “the laudable educational goal of promoting a student’s knowledge and appreciation of this nation’s cultural and religious diversity and the impermissible endorsement of religion, which is prohibited by the Establishment Clause.” 6

May schools teach the Bible as literature?

The Bible may be studied as a work of literary, but not as a source of religious instruction. There must be no religious overtones in the lesson, and it must be objective.

7 Classes on the Bible as a work of literature should be available as an option. 8 Ideally, such lessons should be conducted by school staff who have received some instruction in Establishment Clause problems, according to the Anti-Defamation League’s recommendations.

May schools teach secular values which coincide with religious values?

It is true that schools may and should teach secular principles like as honesty and respect for others. They can also teach courage, kindness, and good citizenship. These ideals, on the other hand, should not be taught as religious doctrine. The fact that these ideals are taught in the majority of religions does not negate the reality that teaching them is both legal and desirable. Students should be taught qualities such as “independent thought, tolerance of other viewpoints, self-respect, maturity, self-reliance, and logical decision-making,” which should be instilled in them by school administrators.

What are some concerns that arise regarding “teaching about religion” in public schools?

Education on secular principles such as honesty, respect for others, courage, kindness and good citizenship is permitted and encouraged by the government and the educational establishment. In contrast to religious doctrines, these qualities should not be taught in religious institutions. Although most religions teach these values as well, the fact that most religions do so does not change the fact that teaching them is both legal and desirable. Students should be taught qualities such as “independent thought, tolerance of other viewpoints, self-respect, maturity, self-reliance, and the ability to make rational decisions,” which school administrators should instill in them.

  • Students are very vulnerable to peer pressure and coercion, as well as public pressure and coercion. Of course, at the primary school level, this is a source of particular worry. It is important that any discussion of religion in the classroom be attentive to the differing religious beliefs held by various pupils in the class. There should be no reason for any student to feel that his or her personal beliefs or practices are being called into question, infringed upon, or compromised in anyway. A student should never be made to feel excluded because of his or her religious views
  • If religion is mentioned, great care must be taken to treat both minority and dominant religions equally and without bias. A classroom debate that only includes the main faiths does not accurately portray the genuine religious variety that exists in our society and around the world. Course discussions will gently question the legitimacy of minority religious views held by certain individuals, regardless of whether or not followers to minority religious beliefs are represented in the course. It is important to remember that these students may feel excluded or coerced if they are present
  • Students should not be put on the spot to explain their religious (or cultural) traditions. It is possible that the learner will feel uncomfortable and that he or she will lack sufficient knowledge to be truthful. Furthermore, by requiring a student to serve as a spokesman for his or her faith, the instructor is giving the message that the religion is too “foreign” for the teacher to comprehend and appreciate. In other circumstances, the instructor may be opening the door for a student to engage in proselytizing activities, which should be avoided at all costs
  • Every effort should be taken to get factual knowledge about different religions. Special training may be necessary to equip instructors to address religion in an acceptable manner in the classroom
  • Nevertheless, discussions of religion in the classroom may alienate pupils who have been reared without a religious belief system. As part of a secular educational program, even these pupils have a duty to understand what is being taught to them. However, it is critical for teachers to avoid debates that appear to support religious belief over nonreligious belief. Otherwise, such students may feel pressured to adhere to the majority’s expectations, or they may be pushed to feel inadequate about their own backgrounds. Discussions about religion in the classroom may alienate students who have been reared in religious traditions that are considered orthodox. It is also critical that teachers should not appear to be critical of faith, since this might alienate students who have been nurtured in a religious environment.

If students object on religious grounds to portions of a textbook, may they be excused from studying the material?

No. Public schools have the authority to demand that all students study a defined set of textbooks as long as the texts do not promote or oppose any religious practice or belief. Only the reading and discussion of the material should be required of the students, and they should not be obliged to perform or refrain from performing any act banned or demanded by their religious beliefs. Compelled conduct, on the other hand, does not rise to the level of a free exercise claim in the same way that exposure to concepts one finds abhorrent on religious grounds does.

Aren’t these rules just promoting a “secular religion”?

Accordingly, the state may not establish a “religion of secularism,” which is defined as the state’s affirmative opposition to or demonstration of hostility toward religion, thereby favoring those who believe in no religion over those who believe in religion. In spite of these restrictions, the prohibition on the teaching of religion and religious activity assures that the government does not advance or promote religious belief over non-religious belief or a specific religious belief over other religious views.

What happens when a student responds to a secular assignment with religious expression?

This is a matter of free expression as much as it is a matter of religious liberty. An assignment (such as a book report) that a student completes with a religiously-themed project (such as reporting on a religious tract) may not be rejected by a school only because it has a religious foundation (students have a right to free expression). 14 However, if, while seeing the presentation of the assignment – particularly expressive assignments such as artwork, plays, and reports that are given publicly – an observer comes away with the impression that the project has been supported by the school, there is a problem.

As a result, educators have significant control over “student expression” in order to ensure that participants learn whatever lessons the activity is intended to teach, that readers or listeners are not exposed to material that may be inappropriate for their level of maturity, and that the views of an individual speaker are not erroneously attributed to the school.

SAMPLE SCENARIOSSITUATIONS

Mr. Clark’s sixth-grade class utilized a basic reader that had stories on a wide range of themes, according to Mr. Clark. One section in the book dealt with the first immigrants in the “new world,” while another hailed Leonardo da Vinci as the person who “came closest to the heavenly touch” because of his creative intellect and ability to “saw the future.” In Mr. Clark’s lesson, Talia Berk expressed interest in the section about the earliest settlers and inquired as to how the religious beliefs and customs of these settlers differed from those of the Native American Indians.

Clark say in response to Talia’s inquiry about the settlers?

Parent of Sixth-grader Objects to Reading Assignment on Religious Grounds

As previously said, Joe Smith, a student in Mr. Clark’s class, gave his mother the section on Leonardo da Vinci that was mentioned in the previous scenario. His mother became extremely unhappy with the text because she believed it was in violation of her religious views. Joe’s mother approached Mr. Clark and requested that Joe be excused from using the reader. In order to get clarification on how to reply to Mrs. Smith’s request, Mr. Clark sought advice from the school’s principal. Should Joe be excluded from the requirement to use the standard reader?

Although it is important that the standard reader neither supports nor opposes religion, the school must make certain that Joe is only forced to read and debate the material, and that he is not required to perform or refrain from performing any act banned or prescribed by his faith.

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Jewish Student Asked to Explain Hanukkah to Class

The fact that Mr. Parker is not Jewish causes him to be concerned that he would mischaracterize Hanukkah while he is speaking about the festival. In class, he approaches a Jewish student to ask if she would be interested in explaining the meaning of Hanukkah to the rest of the class. She makes an attempt to do so. Later that day, the student informs her mother of the incident, who expresses her displeasure with Mr. Parker. Mr. Parker proposes that the mother come to class and explain the holiday of Hanukkah to the students.

  1. Mr.
  2. Should he have approached her mother with the question?
  3. Parker separated the girl from her friends and created the impression that Hanukkah was too strange for him to fully comprehend.
  4. Mr.
  5. The teacher must, however, make certain that the mother’s presentation is impartial and objective, and that it is integrated into a larger lesson plan pertaining to the holidays.
  6. Parker should read one of the many books available on Hanukkah and prepare himself for the task of teaching the lesson.
  7. School District of Abington Township, Pa., 374 U.S.

(1963).

Paul Dee Human, 725 F.

1503 (W.D.

1989), affirmed without opinion, 923 F.2d 857 (8th Cir.

denied, 499 U.S.

Conecuh County Board of School Commissioners, 656 F.2d 999 (11th Cir.

Paul Dee Human, 725 F.

1981).

Poway Unified School District, 658 F.3d 954 (9th Cir.

denied, 132 S.

1807 (2012); Lee v.

2007), cert.

950; Williams v.

Supp.

Cal.

York County (N.D.

2005).

Lee County School Board, 1 F.

2d 1426 (Federal District Court of Florida) (M.D.

1998).

Cherry Hill Township Board of Education, 838 F.

929, 932 (D.N.J.

Marple Newtown School District, 567 F.3d 89 (3rd Cir.

7Schempp v.

Supp.

Pontotoc County School District, 656 F.

Pontotoc County School District, 1 F.

1426; Herdahl v.

Supp.

Pontotoc County School (N.D.

1996).

Sorenson, 568 F.

1422; Crockett v.

Va.

9Smith v.

1987).

If administrators are not directly supervising courses, the only way they will be made aware of difficulties and constitutional breaches is through student or parent complaints, which may not always be forthcoming.

Hurley, 514 F.3d 87 (1st Cir.

815; Mozert v.

1987), affirmed, 484 U.S.

Mead School Dist.

354, 753 F.2d 1528 (9th Cir.

(4th Cir.

12Schempp v.

203.

Clauson, 343 U.S.

Clauson (1952).

Ct.

Poway Unified School District, 658 F.3d 954 (9th Cir.

Ct.

Marple Newtown School District, 567 F.3d 89 (9th Cir.

723 (Eastern District of Michigan 2006), which was aff92d; Curry v.

2008), which was refused certiorari by the Supreme Court of the United States at the time of writing (555 U.S.

In Hazelwood School District v.

260, the court held that (1988).

See, for example, Downs v. Los Angeles Unified School District, 228 F.3d 1003, (9th Cir. 2000), cert. refused, 121 S. Ct. 1653 (2001); C. H. ex rel. Z. H. v. Oliva, 195 F.3d 167 (3rd Cir. 1999), rehearing en banc granted, opinion reversed on other grounds by C. H. v. Oliva, 226 F.3d (3rd Cir. 2000).

Spirituality in Schools: The Link Between Spirituality, Health and Academic Success

Spirituality is defined as being in touch with one’s own values and having a sense of purpose that directs one’s life, according to some sources. For some, spirituality is associated with religious activities and institutions, and for others, spirituality is associated with a profound connection with nature, a higher entity, or something more than one’s own self. Because spirituality acts as a compass for many people when it comes to decision-making, cultivating an inner sense of self and a connection to a greater purpose is essential when faced with choices and obstacles throughout life.

However, while St.

The Chapel, where we begin each day, is a communal meeting that focuses on spirituality and global religions, as well as character and leadership.

I recently finished reading Lisa Miller’s excellent book The Spiritual Child: The New Science of Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving, which helped me to better grasp the process of growing spirituality in my own life.

To demonstrate how spirituality is beneficial to a child’s physical and mental health, Miller persuasively weaves together scientific research and anecdotal evidence from her work as a clinical psychologist.

According to Miller’s study, children who have a strong relationship with spirituality have much more favorable markers for flourishing, such as a greater feeling of meaning and purpose in their lives and better levels of academic performance.

At St.

Young people who possess strong core qualities are more likely to accept their good fortune with appreciation and humility, rather than feeling a sense of entitlement to their good fortune.

During the adolescent years, when young adults begin to establish their independence and parents become less active in their children’s social life, this is especially crucial.

It is possible for parents to play an important role in assisting their children in exploring spirituality and providing touchstones along the way. Here are some suggestions for assisting youngsters in developing a healthy spiritual relationship with God:

  • It is spirituality, according to some definitions, when we are in touch with our own values and have a sense of purpose that guides our lives. Religious activities and organizations are associated with spirituality for some, but for others, spirituality is a profound connection with nature, a higher entity, or something more than oneself. Because spirituality acts as a compass for many people when it comes to decision-making, cultivating an inner sense of self and a connection to a greater purpose is essential when faced with difficult decisions and obstacles throughout life. Growing up with a strong spiritual foundation helps children develop on a variety of levels, which is beneficial to their overall well-being. However, while St. Thomas School is a non-denominational institution, spirituality is an integral part of everyday school life and an essential component of our approach to teaching the complete child, which includes the development of the physical, cognitive, and social/emotional skills. Throughout the week, we begin our days with Chapel, which is a communal meeting that focuses on spirituality, global religions, character, and leadership. Student’s are encouraged to focus on their own spirituality, to practice mindfulness, and to become more attuned to their own inner voice in this environment. I recently finished reading Lisa Miller’s excellent book The Spiritual Child: The New Science of Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving, which has helped me to better understand the process of growing spirituality in myself and others. Much to my delight, it revealed conclusive scientific correlations between spirituality, health, and academic achievement. To explain how spirituality is good to a child’s physical and mental health, Miller persuasively weaves together scientific studies and anecdotal evidence from her clinical psychology practice. The opportunity to read actual research that backed up what I, as a school administrator, had always felt was a real delight for me! According to Miller’s study, children who have a strong relationship with spirituality have much more favorable markers for flourishing, such as a greater feeling of meaning and purpose in their lives and better levels of academic achievement. She has demonstrated, for example, in her study that children who have a spiritual basis are “40 percent less likely to use and misuse substances as children
  • 60 percent less likely to be sad as teens
  • And 80 percent less likely to have risky or unprotected sex as teenagers.” At St. Thomas School, we believe that children who develop a spiritual core also develop a strong sense of self, compassion, and a sense of purpose, rather than focusing solely on achieving success and defining their self-worth through constant comparisons to others, as is the case in many other schools. Instead of feeling entitled to their good fortune, young people who possess strong core qualities prefer to embrace it with appreciation and humility. Building a spiritually grounded foundation helps children develop a strong moral compass that will guide them throughout their lives, allowing them to make good decisions when confronted with everyday problems and temptations, such as bullying and peer pressure. Particularly crucial throughout the adolescent years, when young adults begin establishing their independence and parents tend to become less active in their children’s social activities. It becomes increasingly important to have a strong spiritual foundation as the weight of coping with moral difficulties and peer pressure grows. In order to help their child explore spirituality and provide touchstones along the way, parents can play a significant role in their child’s spiritual development. Some pointers to consider in order to assist youngsters in developing a healthy spiritual relationship with God:

Miller’s work has piqued my interest tremendously! As a Christian, I believe that assisting children in nurturing their spiritual core may have a good influence on their character development and better prepare them for the decisions they will encounter in their lives, as well as societal pressures and moral difficulties. Authored by: Kirk Wheeler, Ed.D

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