Children are moral and make moral determinations... at least until their view becomes jaded through doctrinal or extremist teachings. But if they are nurtured and encouraged to live under the umbrella of Right Action, then there is a bright future for their Spiritual development. Their lives can unfold into understanding, compassion, warmth and beauty. These are the duties of all family and all friends. Empowerment.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child specifies Religious and Spiritual rights. And even if it was not so specified, we owe them the right to freedom of choice.
In early California (1892), at Stanford University, Earl Barnes, a professor of Education, conducted a study. He wanted to document the belief systems of children. Here are some of the findings:
~ Young children spoke of God as able to do anything, as being everywhere and knowing everything.
~ "God can see everything you do and hear everything you say, even if you are inside a house."
~ Heaven, as described by the children, is an improved earth.
~ Children say there is little dark... terror is unknown. The Spirit world is a beautiful playground.
~ Children believe that God is a serious form of father ("daddy" or "papa").
We are the ones, as parents and role models, that contaminate the innocence of childhood with our overheard words and observed actions. How much better we would all be if adults were sensitive to the inborn belief systems of our children. That does not mean that religion should not be taught, but it does mean that Spirituality should not be dampened.
Abstracted from the book "Empowering Children." If you want to read more, see:
Dr. Malkin holds a B.Sc. in Business and a Masters and Ph.D. in Religion. He has made hundreds of visits to schools with a moving and effective motivational presentation, urging teens to do their personal best. His mentoring programs have empowered many, many children. His quest for years has been to teach the power of Right Action, working towards the goal of a better world.