Why Kids Need Spirituality

New York Magazine:
By Lisa Miller

You are Jewish; your husband, a lapsed Catholic. Neither of you believes, much, in God, although occasionally you like to meditate and you both would go hiking more if you could. You’ve had those moments — who hasn’t? — on mountaintops or in art museums or even in prayer when you’ve felt that overwhelming sense of bigness and smallness all at once, the awesomeness of existence, the miracle and fragility of being human. But it’s easy to switch the channel. Life — work, TV, an alluring new bar — intervenes and all that reverence dissipates.

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Scientific link between spirituality and health shows that children who have a positive, active relationship to spirituality are 40% less likely to use and abuse substances, are 60% less likely to be depressed as teenagers, are 80% less likely to have dangerous or unprotected sex, have significantly more positive markers for thriving including an increased sense of meaning and purpose, and high levels of academic success.

 

And then you have kids. And that existential shoulder shrug becomes a way of life because … What are you going to do? Entrust an unknown priest or rabbi to teach your children things you’re not sure you believe yourself? Besides, there’s soccer and birthday parties and brunch. But this spiritual apathy nags at you. This isn’t how you (or your parents and grandparents) were raised. And a tiny voice inside you insists on wondering whether you shouldn’t be teaching your kids something about the importance of holiness.

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