Our buddha brothers have settled into our house quite nicely. They have also been the source of an ongoing conversation since Saturday evening. Cole is very intrigued. When a 7 year is intrigued, they ask A LOT of questions. And I mean A LOT! Cole wants to know – Who is Buddha? Is he a Monk? Where do monks live? Why is he bald? Why does he always sit criss-cross apple sauce (indian style)? What does the spiritual world look like? Does it have color? What happens when you meditate? How do you know if you are doing it? and the list goes on and on….
All of these are fantastic questions, but not one of them has a simple answer.
To complicate matters, Christian and I don’t believe in organized religion. We fall into the cliché category all the young kids are making trendy now days – we aren’t religious, but we are spiritual. We don’t go to church. We don’t read the bible. I do believe there are a lot of life lessons and values in religious teachings that we should practice. I believe they exist in the in every religion.
This leaves one big question that often lingers over my head…What do we teach our children?
Here is a list I have put together for our family. It’s what works for us. I hope every family takes the time to figure out what works for them.
- Instill an appreciation of nature – Nature is a true gift. Our survival depends on the health of our planet. I hope our children learn about life through nature. It will teach them everything they need to know.
- Take time to answer questions – If I don’t know the answer, I’m okay with saying I don’t know. I will find an answer though. (google is a wonderful parenting tool!) Using pretend situations also works wonderfully with Cole.
- Teach life lessons through small daily interactions. It doesn’t have to be a huge conversation. Pointing out the wonders of our world will make our children aware of what is going on around them.
- Practice quiet time – Cole is very intrigued by mediation lately. I need to make a point to sit quietly with him. It doesn’t have to be an in-depth meditation practice. Just sitting quietly together will establish a foundation for growth and learning.
- Teach respect. I hope our children appreciate the differences in everyone and embrace the qualities in them that make them unique.
Thank you to our Buddha brothers for starting a fun family conversation. I’ve been finding small fun facts about Buddha and monks online and sharing them with Cole. I hope I can keep answering the questions he asks on daily basis. Teaching spirituality to our children isn’t something I want to take lightly. I hope to create a strong foundation for our children that is open, accepting, and rooted in nature. I hope it gives them the freedom to choose their own beliefs as they turn into adults.