Five Principles for
by Mimi Doe
We know more about nutrition than past generations.
We've identified learning disorders and new educational
techniques. We give our children every advantage we can
afford, and some we cannot afford. We organize, direct,
enroll, coach, and transport our children to and from
lessons, games, practices, social events, doctor's
appointments and schools. We are trying to be good
parents and give our children all they need to develop
into well-rounded and successful adults. We may,
however, be missing the very core of our child's being,
his spirituality. Spirituality is the base from which
grows self-esteem, values, morals, and a sense of
belonging. It is what gives life direction and meaning.
I believe we have entered into a sacred contract when we
bring children into the world. A contract that says we
are willing to help these children understand and wisely
use their spiritual powers expressive of a greater
All children begin life with an innate sense of
wonder about their world. They are naturally intuitive
and open. We, as parents, can foster this precious state
of being with our words, actions, and attentiveness.
Where there is wonder there is spirituality. The
ordinary becomes the incredible when we live life as a
prayer, a soulful journey, when we endow the daily
routine with magic. When we stop the chaos of daily life
and celebrate the small moments we provide our children
the joy of the moment, we affirm and acknowledge their
true state of being.
"How, you ask?" "I'm so busy now,
where am I possibly going to get the time to nurture my
child's soul?" I assure you, as a mother of two
young children who also strives to put my voice and work
out into the world, that it is not only possible but can
easily work in any kind of family in any kind of home.
Here are a few ideas to get you started and 5 of my 10
PRINCIPLES FOR SPIRITUAL PARENTING:
1. Listen to Your Child! Children have wisdom and
they are naturally in touch with their intuition. If we
listen and honor their instincts they will learn to do
so as well. When a child says, "It just doesn't
feel right Mama," it's time to go deeper and find
Not only does listening help children to validate
their own deepest intuition it also is a joyful,
insightful and often inspirational time for the adult. I
have learned so much from kids. In my book Drawing Angels Near, children have touched thousands of readers with
quotes such as "A long time ago when I was born, I
thought of all the things I had made before. It was that
time that I knew the angels." (Age 4)
time to listen to your child. In the evenings before
bed, a walk in the park, Saturday morning breakfast, or
a special date for just the two of you. Listen! Don't do
all the talking. Hear what he/she is saying and you'll
be amazed at the things that come up.
2. Add Magic to the Ordinary! Starting today, add a
little magic to your daily life with your children.
Don't just wash the dishes at the sink -- look for the
fairies in the bubbles. Eat breakfast for dinner. Music
is a great way to touch the spirit. Try different kinds
with your child. Soon, he will know what frees his soul.
Drop peppermint oil on the light bulbs and sprinkle
scented powder between his/her sheets at night. Put a
flower on the breakfast plate. If there isn't one
growing near by make one out of tissue paper or draw one
on a napkin. Use your imagination and remain open for
Young children see the magic naturally in their
lives. Let's not belittle their ecstasy but join in it.
Look at the ladybug that is flying around your kitchen -
count her dots - write a poem about where she is going.
This makes magic. Creating magic out of the ordinary
builds celebration, rituals and loving, lasting memories
that nourish the souls of everyone involved.
3. Create a Flexible Structure! Kids of all ages need
order. They need to know what to count on in an
unpredictable world. Depending on your personality and
your life situation, your routine and structure may
vary. If you take a long hard look at a typical weekday
in the life of your family, jotting down what the
pattern is, you can then judge whether you need to
create MORE order or perhaps loosen up a bit. One
seven-year-old recently told me, "I feel like I'm
in prison. Everyone tells me what to do. My mommy,
teacher, even the bus driver tells me where to sit. Then
I go to Sunday school and I have to glue the picture
just like the teacher's. I feel just like I'm in
The trick is to be structured without being rigid and
to be secure while being spontaneous. Within family
rules flexibility can exist for the child's expression
of individuality and spirituality. It is safe when
boundaries and expectations are clear.
Have fun adding flexibility. If you are stumped for
ideas just ask your kids!
4. Be a Good Mirror for Your Child. You are a mirror
for your child and will show by example how spirituality
and daily life merge. Everything you do or say, every
habit you have, your tone of voice, your expressions,
all teach your child what the world is and how he fits
into it. What he sees in you is a mirror of the bigger
world. What he sees in you is a mirror of who he is.
If your child sees a parent who has a loving
comfortable relationship with spirit, chances are he/she
will too. If you share your feelings about
God/Goddess/All That Is/The Higher Power and demonstrate
a faith and a trust in that power your child will model
this behavior. If you want a child who is spirit-filled
and comfortable with his connection to The Higher Power
show him/her how you do it. Is meditation something that
works for you? Children as young as three enjoy sitting
for a few minutes and meditating. Altars are individual
shrines that children can create. Prayer is a habit that
a child will integrate as part of his day if you
demonstrate your prayerful times and methods. For your
daughters, check out Celia Straus' fantastic book,
Prayers on My Pillow.
5. Make Each Day a New Beginning. We can start fresh
each day as the parent we want to be. So you lost your
temper, fed the kids fast food again, did nothing to
nurture your own soul much less theirs, had no structure
at all, and dismissed your daughter as she tried to
share her dream with you. You can start over right now.
Starting over each day, with the assurance that we are
not in this alone, is spirit in action. Forgiveness and
faith, for our children and for ourselves, is knowing
that spirit moves and breathes and is our life force.
So enjoy your precious children. Hold them close and
let their warmth soothe your soul. They are our teachers
and are filled with a natural wisdom. They see things we
have long forgotten. Let's help them hang on to their
connection with spirit so as adults they won't have to
search to find their soul.
© Copyright 2001 Mimi Doe. All
rights in all media reserved.
Mimi Doe, M.Ed., is the author of
"BUSY BUT BALANCED: Practical and Inspirational
Ways to Create a Calmer, Closer Family" (St.
Martins Press, Oct. 2001). "Ladies Home
Journal" called Mimi "a parenting guru"
and her work has been covered in publications such as
"Child," "Parenting," "McCalls,"
"Family Circle," "Publisher's
Weekly" and "USA Today." She has appeared
on talk radio and television programs including Oprah.
Mimi's workshops and seminars have changed the way
thousands of parents interact with the children in their
lives. Her popular on-line newsletter, Spiritual
Parenting Thought for the Week has over 30,000
subscribers from around the world and she is a parenting
contributor to Beliefnet.com.
Mimi is also the author of "10 Principles for
Spiritual Parenting: Nurturing Your Child's Soul"
(which won the 1998 Parents' Choice Seal of Approval and
was a finalist in the Books for a Better Life Award) and
the co-author of "Drawing Angels Near: Children
Tell of Angels in Words and Pictures." She holds a
master's degree in education from Harvard.
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