Saturday, September 1, 2007

"The 10 Prinicples of Spiritual Parenting" by Mimi Doe

--home + food + family--

Mimi Doe is a treasure for any parent seeking to create an extraordinary relationship with their children. Her book “Ten Principles of Spiritual Parenting” provides a practical and easy to apply methodology to bring a non-denominational spirituality to the experience of parenting.

In addition to authoring her wonderful book, she is a respected lecturer on the subject of family and parenting and has transformed the lives of thousands of families. See her site for more information on the book, her work, and local spiritual parenting groups in your area (or how you can start one!).

Below are brief descriptions of 5 of her 10 principles.

1. Listen to Your Child! Children have wisdom and they are naturally in touch with their intuition. If we listen and honor their instincts they will learn to do so as well. When a child says "It just doesn't feel right Mama," it's time to go deeper and find out why.

Not only does listening help children to validate their own deepest intuition it also is a joyful, insightful and often inspirational time for the adult. I have learned so much from children. In my book DRAWING ANGELS NEAR, Children Tell of Angels in Words and Pictures children have touched thousands of readers with quotes such as "A long time ago when I was born, I thought of all the things I had made before. It was that time that I knew the angels." (Age 4) Set aside time to listen to your child. In the evenings before bed, a walk in the park, Saturday morning breakfast, or a special date for just the two of you. Listen! Don't do all the talking. Hear what he/she is saying and you'll be amazed at the things that come up.

2. Add Magic to the Ordinary! Starting today, add a little magic to your daily life with your children. Don't just wash the dishes at the sink - look for the fairies in the bubbles. Eat breakfast for dinner. Music is a great way to touch the spirit. Try different kinds with your child. Soon, he will know what frees his soul. Drop peppermint oil on the light bulbs and sprinkle scented powder between his/her sheets at night. Put a flower on the breakfast plate. If there isn't one growing near by make one out of tissue paper or draw one on a napkin. Use your imagination and remain open for inspiration.

Young children see the magic naturally in their lives. Let's not belittle their ecstasy but join in it. Look at the ladybug that is flying around your kitchen - count her dots - write a poem about where she is going. This makes magic.

Creating magic out of the ordinary builds celebration, rituals and loving, lasting memories that nourish the souls of everyone involved.

3. Create a Flexible Structure! Kids of all ages need order. They need to know what to count on in an unpredictable world. Depending on your personality and your life situation, your routine and structure may vary. If you take a long hard look at a typical weekday in the life of your family, jotting down what the pattern is, you can then judge whether you need to create MORE order or perhaps loosen up a bit. One seven-year-old recently told me, "I feel like I'm in prison. Everyone tells me what to do. My mommy teacher, even the bus driver tells me where to sit. Then I go to Sunday school and I have to glue the picture just like the teacher's. I feel just like I'm in prison."

The trick is to be structured without being rigid and to be secure while being spontaneous. Within family rules flexibility can exist for the child's expression of individuality and spirituality. It is safe when boundaries and expectations are clear.

Have fun adding flexibility. If you are stumped for ideas just ask your kids!

4. Be a Good Mirror for Your Child. You are a mirror for your child and will show by example how spirituality and daily life merge. Everything you do or say, every habit you have, your tone of voice, your expressions, all teach your child what the world is and how he fits into it. What he sees in you is a mirror of the bigger world. What he sees in you is a mirror of who he is.

If your child sees a parent who has a loving comfortable relationship with spirit, chances are he/she will too. If you share your feelings about God/Goddess/All That Is/The Higher Power and demonstrate a faith and a trust in that power your child will model this behavior. If you want a child who is spirit-filled and comfortable with his connection to The Higher Power show him/her how you do it. Is meditation something that works for you? Children as young as three enjoy sitting for a few minutes and meditating. Altars are individual shrines that children can create. Prayer is a habit that a child will integrate as part of his day if you demonstrate your prayerful times and methods.

5. Make Each Day a New Beginning. We can start fresh each day as the parent we want to be. So you lost your temper, fed the kids fast food again, did nothing to nurture your own soul much less theirs, had no structure at all, and dismissed your daughter as she tried to share her dream with you. You can start over RIGHT NOW. Starting over each day, with the assurance that we are not in this alone, is spirit in action. Forgiveness and faith, for our children and for ourselves, is knowing that spirit moves and breathes and is our life force.

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