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How do I introduce spirituality to my child without it being religious?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

My DS is almost 2 and a half. I am kind of feeling like I need to start introducing some kind of spiritual ideas to him. The problem is, I'm not really following any specific type of religion. My background is very mixed...both of my parents were raised catholic, but neither one of them identified with catholicism as adults. My dad was a jehovah's witness at one point, and then he moved on to follow more buddhist type beliefs, but he doesn't really subscribe to any one system. My mom was raised very catholic, and she loved the mass and the ritual aspect of it, so we were raised following most catholic holidays and even some traditions from her slovak mother (blessing the food at easter, etc.). While I enjoyed all of this as a child, and was even confirmed as a catholic since I went to catholic elementary school, I don't consider myself catholic. My mom really considered herself a pagan, and despite holding onto some catholic traditions, was heavily into things like astrology, tarot readings, and many other facets of what she felt was spiritual. I was exposed to many things, and I can honestly say there were a lot of interesting things to learn from her!


My husband was raised protestant, but never went to church, was never baptized, and really has no affiliation with any type of religion. Which leaves me...I definitely believe there is a higher power, and that we should follow the golden rule and all that stuff. We celebrate holidays because they are traditional and it brings the family together, but we don't attend church or anything.


I just feel weird when my son doesn't know what a church is, or when we passed a local shrine where there were candles lit and he thought it was a birthday cake (cute, but still). He was baptized at a lutheran church because it just felt wrong NOT baptizing him. I'm not planning on sending him to any kind of religious schools or instruction, but I do want him to understand that I believe in a higher power, and an afterlife, and that we should do our best to be good to others and be compassionate, and frankly, to have morals. I just don't want it to be about heaven and hell and you must attend church every sunday, KWIM? Are there any books for kids that just focus on spirituality without being super religious? Any other suggestions?

post #2 of 13

IDK if this will help you or make any sense but my kiddo is 11 and what I always taught him is 'tolerance for everyone'..

We talk about different cultures, different buildings, different holidays etc.  If my kiddo wants to explore Channukah one year I'm more than happy to do that along with the Christmas season.


I don't 'do' religion either but I have respect for others and I expect respect for my views.  That's what I try to teach. I think if you are educated, at least partially, in some areas of beliefs than you won't offend everyone.  Ya know?


Clear as mud  right?


Try this book for starters



post #3 of 13
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks! I appreciate the links!

post #5 of 13

HI- a couple other things that DS enjoyed when he was little.  

"little people" has playsets that span several cultures (the first thanksgiving, noah's ark, hannukah, and 2-3 different christmas ones.) and I think playmobile has some as well.  Also when your kiddo gets older LEGO (and nano block) has numerous building sets that cover different cultures.  Yep LEGO is pricey but the opportunity to learn is open-ended IMO.





post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

Very cute! I actually have a playmobil nativity set for under the tree at christmas...it's one of my favorite possessions :)

post #7 of 13
Subscribing because I am in the exact same situation. This has been on my mind a lot lately. I would go unitarian (sp) but there isn't one near by. Hope there are more responses.

Sent from my phone using Tapatalk, please ignore typos!
post #8 of 13

I have a very mixed religious background. I talk to my son about the "essence of life" and how it connects everything in the universe but at the same time it lives in each one of us. I explain to him that some people have religions that help them to understand the essence and they may go to a church to talk about it. Different religions have different beliefs, holidays and so on. I don't like to say "God" because I feel the word has such a strong association with the Judeo-Christian faith (at least where we live). I can't, in good conscience, steer him towards any one religion because it's not what I believe in but I also don't want to indoctrinate him into being an "unbeliever" either. Does that make sense lol?

post #9 of 13



I like this book. It has hands-on activities for learning about some very basic spiritual concepts, gratitude and stuff like that. It is not at all religious. I know some pagans like it as well as christians. What I like most about the book is that it got me thinking about how things that happen every day can be spiritual "lessons" - its more a matter of adjusting how you're looking at things. 


Also, I worried about spirituality when DD was around that age, too, thinking I needed to start providing her with some kind of foundation on which to make sense of the world and the things that happen in the world. But it was a needless sort of worry. As she grew older, she started asking so many questions, which led naturally to discussions that were spiritual in nature, and now, at 7, its pretty much woven into our daily conversation... just minutes ago she asked how our dog would die (she just finished watching Homeward Bound) so we had a discussion about how probably when she got old and wasn't enjoying life anymore we'd take her to the vet, say goodbye to her and thank her for sharing her life with us, the vet would give her some medicine to make her fall asleep, and once asleep, the vet would give her some more medicine to stop her heart beating. We talked about whether our dog would be grateful for that or prefer another way, we talked about what she would do next (once dead) and that perhaps she would enjoy being a puppy again in another life or perhaps she'd meet the Great Spirit.


Anyway, I suspect that children are inherently more in touch with certain aspects of spirituality than adults are and I find myself asking her at least as many questions as she asks me.  

post #10 of 13

With my kids I take the perspective that there are many different beliefs around the world.  Trying to teach a general 'spirituality' was difficult, especially since they are learning about traditional Christianity from their heavily religious grandma (my ex MIL).  She must have been talking up the Bible lately, so I had to teach them that there are many other ancient books full of wisdom.  I read them parts of the Tao Te Ching and had some discussion about it.  My 8yo really understood the concept of the empty bowl, tangible vs. intangible, and that was exciting for both of us to share.  I'm in a difficult position, because ex MIL is being really ugly and telling my kids that I'm going to Hell because I'm not a Christian.  My 5yo used to have a lot of anxiety over this, but more recently there is a victorious quality in his voice when he talks about it.  Like he knows better than me.  It feels so ugly and wrong.  I hate ex MIL and I hate what she is doing to my kids minds and hearts. 

post #11 of 13
Your son is 2 1/2. If you had been taking him to church every week, he *still* might have thought it was birthday candles. Children don't really pay attention to the candles since those candles are far away. They pay more attention to song or prayer books, perhaps, since those are close by. More so, they play or eat what has been brought from home to keep them quiet.

I think you are worrying needlessly. Your spirituality will become apparent as he matures. When the conversation touches upon spiritual things, simply speak from your heart. You're doing fine.
post #12 of 13
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

I think you are worrying needlessly. Your spirituality will become apparent as he matures. When the conversation touches upon spiritual things, simply speak from your heart. You're doing fine.



post #13 of 13

This is a great thread!

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