Spiritual education for children

The skills they need most

You may have heard about the mother who was preparing pancakes for her two sons, ages five and three. The boys started arguing over which one would get the first pancake. "What would Jesus do?" the mother asked. And she continued, "I think if Jesus were sitting here, he would say, 'Let my brother have the first pancake. I can wait.' The older boy turned to his younger brother and said, "OK, Jimmy, you be Jesus!"

Some attempts to educate children spiritually may seem more successful than others, but don't give up! Most of us realize that the study of fundamental skills like reading and math takes hours—hundreds of hours—of practice, self-sacrifice, instruction, discipline, and devotion. So, it shouldn't surprise us that cultivating a spiritual outlook in our children is also going to require some consecrated effort. And it's worth it, because more than anything else, spirituality will lead them to happy and healthy lives.

Children need a spiritual framework—an understanding of God and their relationship with Him and His universe—so they can be safe and able to make sound choices. Spiritual skill building gives them the discernment and strength to think for themselves. A developed ability to hear God's guidance and to follow it takes practice, patience, and spiritual discipline—on their part and ours. Spiritual skills help them respond to conflict with poise and face adversity without panic, to make sound moral choices and resist unhealthy peer influences.

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September 4, 2000

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