Caring for Children
parenting & doing what it takes to be spiritual,...
... aren’t these two life activities diametrically apposed to one another?
Doesn’t one have to do things like meditate, read, pray and journal to be spiritual? In today’s world most parents would find themselves fast asleep if they stopped long enough to sit and meditate. So how can parenting be a spiritual practice?
Actually, parenting offers the opportunity to practice many spiritual gifts. Learning to live in the present moment is one of them.
If spiritual practices are doing what they are supposed to do then they are helping us deepen our awareness of God’s presence. Through spiritual practices we might be learning to forgive ourselves and others so we are not living our lives in regrets about the past. God is not in the past waiting for us to come back and correct the many mistakes we have made. And, God is certainly not hanging out in some future time waiting for us to get there; hopefully, through our spiritual practices, we are learning to let go of our fears about what tomorrow holds.
As parents we can easily become distracted by worries, and fears, in addition to being exhausted much of the time. It is a paradox that the very beings, who cause many of our worries, our fears and our exhaustion, are also our salvation. Children, especially very young children, live their lives in the present moment. Once in a while we can choose to join them there. When we give our children the gift of our undivided attention they give us the gift of God awareness.
Parenting as a spiritual practice is taking the time to join our children in the present moment, where God is. Becoming totally absorbed in the “now” is a spiritual gift children give us the opportunity to practice.
-The Rev. Kaye Edwards, retired,
former Director of Family and Children’s Ministries
at Disciples Home Missions