The Spiritual Child: The New Science on Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving by Lisa Miller

Summary

  1. Spirituality is an untapped tool for human development, fulfillment, happiness, success. With this, children can learn how to connect with others and better deal with difficult situations. The author aims to map spiritual development from kids to adolescents and show what a pivotal role parents play

Key Takeaways

  1. Spirituality differs from religion and that it is a feeling of being connected to a higher power, whatever that might be for you whereas religion is more specific in what you are connected to. An authentic and personal relationship with the higher power is far more important than the specifics
  2. Spiritual children are 40% less likely to abuse substances, 60% less likely to be depressed, less likely to be susceptible to other types of deviant behavior and more likely to thrive and finding meaning, purpose, and higher levels of academic success
  3. Kids are naturally empathetic, curious, open, caring, loving, and optimistic. It is only through time and for education that they lose these things. 
  4. The 6 spiritual strengths – trusting heart-knowing, validating direct transcendent experience, encouraging natural love of nature, ritual of meditation and prayer, sense of family as special, and belief in right action. These spiritual strengths and mindset will help with feeling connected and grounded, giving meaning to life. This will greatly help with depression and loneliness too
  5. Opportunities to grow spirituality 
    1. Engage honestly and authentically with your child. Give your approval and encourage them
    2. Use spiritual language daily – direct knowing, inner compass, connection, heart knowing
    3. Share own spiritual experiences transparently with your children
    4. Connect with your kids and meet them where they are
    5. Build a spiritual practice as a family – Sunday night meditation, Shabbat dinner, other rituals 
    6. Embrace relationships with everyone and all of nature – we are all one
    7. Express the sanctity of family and how grateful you are to be part of it. You are an inter-generational self, part of a long line within your family, not separate or above, part of something larger than yourself
    8. Strive to live an inspired life. Set a high standard, love others, see transcendence in each moment

What I got out of it

  1. A decent book (far too long and ended up skimming most of it) on the importance of spirituality in a child’s life and how to go about nurturing it