When our granddaughter, Olivia, lived close by guiding her spirit was a daily joy. We would take Nature walks and marvel over clouds and ants. We rescued earthworms from the sidewalk, tipping them back into the lawn. When Olivia slept over, we’d go into the garden to recite Modah Ani, a Hebrew prayer thanking God for giving us a new day for learning and playing. She came with me to synagogue nearly every Saturday morning and felt very much at home there. Admittedly religion and spirituality can be two separate entities. It was a deep gift exposing her to Jewish ritual and prayer all the while embracing the ad hoc spiritual experiences that are everywhere when you are a child and a child at heart.
Years ago, I bought Dr. Peggy J. Jenkins’ Nurturing Spirituality in Children. Through simple lessons, Dr. Jenkins teaches profound lessons in gratitude, trust, the power of words, the power of anger and so much more. A lesson from the Seedlings chapter (for the beginning learner) uses balloons to teach us to remember that what is within a person is more important than what is outside. What makes the balloon a balloon? The breath that inflates it. Without air, the ballon is little more than shrunken potential. So it is with us — the life force within each of us defines us, not our color, our size or how high we might fly.
Nurturing Spirituality in Children is a book for child and adult alike, offering concrete life lessons to fortify the spirtual life that resides within.