Nurturing Spirituality

December 5, 2013
BY Bracha Goetz

We have just returned home after the wedding of our youngest. There is this rare sense of completion, seeing all our children launched on their spiritual paths along with their soul mates. In unimagined and wondrous ways, it actually got done. I want to savor this joy so the glow will linger.

But my new children’s book, “Let’s Stay Pure,” is coming out. Right in line with the theme of the just-completed Chanukah, it teaches children how to joyfully keep their souls pure in today’s world despite the negative influences that surround us.

I was asked to write an article about nurturing spirituality. I had an idea, I emailed my children and asked them what to write. One of my daughters-in-law responded right away.

“It’s all about what’s important to parents, what they talk about, care about and focus on,” she wrote.

A strikingly similar response came from one of my daughters: “Nurturing spirituality takes training and modeling from parents. If children don’t see it, they don’t know about it. As parents, we have to overtly show that there is spirituality in our lives.”

Soon, another answer:

“Talking about the soul helps the soul to be understood more clearly. … Children need to be reminded that they are spiritual beings because it’s not something they can see with their eyes.”

The last one to check in wrote this: “Our Shabbos table was the highlight of our week. We all loved sharing and it was such a happy place to be. Another highlight for us was saying Shema with you and adding our own personal prayer. It was such a special time to connect with our souls and with you.”

I wrote to one close family friend, as well. Here was her perspective:

“I will tell you that you can find many examples of how to nurture spirituality watching your children,” she said.

She noted how one child asks her children about needing food for fuel or whether they are trying to fill something that can only be filled spiritually. She talked about how another sits on the floor with her young children, helping each one to express not only what they would like for themselves, but also what they would ask for someone else.

And she reminded me of our Shabbat table; when the kids were growing up, each person got a turn to speak while everyone else was listening. They would each talk about a highlight of their week. Each child came to value present moments this way, and each was given a chance to speak for his or herself about what was important to him or her.

Wondrously, it got done, didn’t it?

The glow lingers.

Bracha Goetz is the author of 24 Jewish children’s books, which can be ordered through Amazon. Pages from her new book, “Let’s Stay Pure,” published by Torah Temimah Publications, can be read at judaicapress.com.

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