As parents we try our best to impart our moral code to our children. When we watch our kids mature and learn lessons in their lives, sometimes they may find other religious views more in line with their own experiences. Fostering our children’s spirituality is important as it may give them security and comfort in a world when they grow up and learn more life lessons on their own.
There can be several factors responsible for your children having a different view of spirituality than yourself. Kids at school, a girlfriend or boyfriend, even a book that spoke to your child can alter or enhance your child’s view on religion and spirituality. Personal experiences, even at church, mosque or synagogue, can impact what your child thinks about religion.
The key to dealing with your child’s different religious view is to not freak out about it. If you do then your child will feel as if he or she is being punished for thinking a certain way. My wife and I have told our children they will never be punished for telling us the truth. Even if our kids tell us they believe a certain way we will never hold it against them.
As an example, my daughter was reading young adult novels about paranormal activity. She is already a fan of the “Twilight Saga” and “Harry Potter” but she wanted to branch out and read other novels about spiritual issues and supernatural happenings
One day she asked my wife and I if we believed in ghosts. We knew she had been reading a scary book and asked her if she felt creepy when she was reading. She told us she hadn’t, but a scene in the book spoke to her when she had a personal encounter she couldn’t explain. She says the book makes her want to talk about what happened.
At this point my wife and I became concerned. We calmly listened to her story. The incident occurred several months ago and she didn’t want to tell us because my daughter was afraid we wouldn’t understand. She was alone in her bedroom one night and felt like someone was watching her. Her room is on the second floor and the house is locked at night so the chances of someone being in the house are minimal. She got cold even though we keep the house at the same temperature each season and she was covered in a blanket. She only slept a couple of hours that night but told my wife and I she was doing homework as to why she was tired the next morning.
My daughter is a smart girl and we don’t blame her for wanting to keep this experience to herself. It was disconcerting to say the least, but the book she read gave her personal comfort when she felt like she was unable to talk about it just yet.
Education is the key to finding out more about a particular religious view. If your child thinks they have encountered something akin to a haunting the way to lose any fear about it is to research other people’s dealings with such a phenomenon. We looked up more books about it on the Internet and she did some of her own research.
Our personal response was to share our own experiences that we thought might have been ghostly in nature. Even though I was raised Jewish and my wife was raised Catholic, we decided to be more liberal than our parents when we raise our children. We didn’t discount the notion entirely but looked up reasons for having such an occurrence which may not lead to a spiritual encounter.
We allowed our daughter to have her own spirituality by telling her it’s okay to think differently. Even though our own religious backgrounds don’t offer much in the way of ghosts, we still were open enough to the possibility regarding our daughter to find some manner in the way of explanation for what she went through on a spiritual level.