Spiritual development can mean many things to different people. In our home, it means the process of growth in Christ—a journey of refinement, if you will. But how do we foster spiritual development in our homeschool in a way that’s palatable for children? I want to share a couple of ideas that’s helped our family as we aim to practice Whole Child Learning.
Why Foster Spiritual Development?
I believe that we are a spirit first and that the condition of our spirit sets the foundation for how we experience life on earth. My children experienced many supernatural encounters that cannot be explained away in the natural realm but make perfect sense when applying Biblical knowledge about the spiritual world and how it affects us here on earth. These biblical explanations have brought my children much peace but also sparked many questions. Setting aside time to open the platform to explore their amazing questions was something I saw fitting for fostering their spiritual growth. I believe Barbara Frank put it nicely:
When it comes to my children, my greatest goal for them is heaven, not Harvard.-Barbara Frank
There are so many benefits to spiritual development:
- Peace of Mind
- A Sense of Purpose and Meaning
- Emotional Intelligence
- Better Physical and Mental Health
- Personal Growth and Maturity
Keep reading to discover ways my husband and I help foster spiritual development in our home.
1. Don’t force it.
Before I delve into any of my other points, I want to strongly encourage you not to force spiritual development on children. God does not force us to love him but offers us free will to make that decision independently and in our own time. We should extend that same courtesy to our children. After all, they are their own person and their spiritual journey will be their own to pursue.
2. Focus on planting the seed.
In our home, we have family devotions to help plant the seed of God’s Word and to open the floor to discussion. Devotions are a wonderful bonding experience, not an opportunity to “win our children over.” With children, all we can do is plant seeds and water them, but only God can make that seed grow. So, leave your child’s faith up to God. As the verse says; One man plants, another man waters, but God has been making things grow. 1 Corinthians 3:6-9.
3. Share your faith journey.
Sharing your faith journey with your children will help them know and understand more about you and who God is. It makes for a great storytime and conversation starter. Just as you’d share your favorite sports team, your favorite books, or anything else you enjoy, your children should know about the things that are important to you and why those things hold so much value in your life.
4. Live the Word.
Children should see and hear you praying, worshipping, reading the Word, applying scripture to your life, and sharing the Good News with others. Even more, use your mistakes as an opportunity to share with your children how you made things right with God through repentance so that they understand that God is one of love and mercy, not shame and punishment. This is primarily how children learn; by seeing and observing what you do.
5. Invite them in.
Sometimes Christianity can seem like something that’s just for adults. Invite your children in by letting them lead in prayer, selecting the worship song, and sharing who God is to them. Have fun! My children love when I put on Nigerian worship songs and dance with them. They also love to lead prayer and jump at the opportunity to do so.
6. Teach them what the Bible says about Children.
Teach your children that they matter so much that Christ said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” In fact, reading all the Bible verses where God mentions the importance of children is excellent for fostering their self-esteem in the faith.