Lynyetta G. Willis, PhD, is the author of My Forgotten Self, to be released this November. As a psychologist, teacher, speaker, and author, Dr. Willis has woven spirituality into her healing work with individuals and families for over fifteen years. Dr. Willis lives with her husband and their two children in Georgia. Please welcome Dr. Willis!
Eight Questions to Ask Yourself before You Begin Nurturing Your Child’s Spiritual Identity
Children rely upon the adults in their lives to guide and encourage them. As a result, we have a huge impact on how children view themselves and the world around them. However, it is difficult to teach what we do not know. As a psychologist who specializes in spiritual and religious identity development, when my first child was born, I struggled to find ways to transform my knowledge into a form I could use to consciously nurture my child’s spiritual identity. I soon realized that I needed to consciously explore my spiritual identity and develop ways to consciously model the aspects of my spiritual identity I wanted to pass onto my child.
Photo Credit: Matthew Cua, via Flickr
The following eight questions were crucial to guiding my initial steps toward nurturing my child’s spiritual identity:
- Who am I as a spiritual being and how does this belief impact how I show up in the world and in the life of my child?
- How was I introduced to spiritual beliefs—what about this introductory process worked and what didn’t?
- How can I use the wisdom gained through my spiritual development process to help and not hinder my child’s spiritual development?
- How do I teach my child about concepts I believe are important but difficult to explain (e.g. faith, connection to an internal divine source, the power of love)?
- How do I live a life guided by spirit and not just religion; a life that models the importance of “being” in the moment and not just “doing” for the next moment?
- How do I guide my child to understand that she can live a life driven by love or her divine purpose, as opposed to a life driven by fear?
- What are my emotional wounds and fears, and how can I manage them so they do not limit my child’s growth?
- At least once a day, how can I model what it means to consciously live through this spiritual identity?
For many of us, answers to these or similar questions may not come quickly. We may need to unlearn limiting beliefs or heal from emotional wounds that keep us stuck and distracted. As adults, we must first remember our spiritual identity before we can fully empower our children to stay in alignment with theirs.