I'm not sure this belongs in this forum, but I'm not sure where to put it. I'm worried that my children's lack of spirituality in their upbringing is having negative affects on their feelings about life. Not that have many worrisome ethical behaviors in this respect - in general, they are kind and compassionate toward animals and people, they are usually honest, they show dismay when another person is hurt. But I wonder if they are trying to seek meaning in their lives, and not finding it because they don't have any religious or spiritual framework to support this meaning.
Both of my older kids, but especially my 5 year old daughter become obsessed with wanting things - I feel like she spends a lot of time looking to me or other people for fulfillment of some want that she can't verbalize. She wants a kitten. We get a kitten who grows into a nice cat. She REALLY wants a fish for a pet. The fish day is on the calendar for after we go on vacation and it finally arrives. I buy her a fish and she does take care of it, but doesn't really pay it much attention. What can one do with a fish anyway? Then she REALLY wants chickens. We decide to get chickens because our family wants eggs to eat anyway, so I tell her "yes," and she's excited for about 5 minutes. A few days later she REALLY wants a pony. I say no. Then she tells me that I never say yes to anything. She wants a minature merry-go-round. She wants something to eat. I offer her 5 different things, but she doesn't want any of them. It seems like she spends much of her time desiring one thing or another, but never really enjoying anything. Is this just the five year old manifestation of a general human condition? Or is she seeking something spiritually meaningful in her life that I am not providing?
My partner is the type of atheist who thinks religion is harmful. I am the type of atheist who is fascinated by religion; I believe that religion can lead people to truth, but I am very skeptical by nature and have a hard time understanding how to have faith. I read somewhere that if children are not exposed to religion early in life, then they will be unable to be religious if they choose to do so later on. I worry that my own lack of spirituality will harm my children's ability to find meaning in their lives.
How do you help your kids figure out the big spiritual questions in life? How are your religious ideals encorporated into disciplining your child and into your parenting in general?