Spiritual awakening can be enhanced for a child when curiosity, imagination and creativity are nurtured by touching reality. Visiting a Special Place can open a child’s mind and heart to the often hidden, but always present, Spirit. The most important factor is neither the site nor the activity, but rather it is what you and the child experience there. The child’s experience is determined by two types of interactions occurring simultaneously; the interaction between you and the child and the child’s interaction with the features of the site.
“Good intentions are not enough.” Spirituality is an active process influenced not only by what you do, but often more importantly how you do it. The following four questions can assist you in maintaining a spiritual focus.
- What is there about this site (or activity) that provides an opportunity to experience a sense of wonder?
- How does this experience emphasize “being and cherishing?”
- How does the experience encourage connectedness and relationship?
- How will this experience make a difference in the child’s spiritual development?
|There is a wonderful Chasidic story about the child of a rabbi who used to wander in the woods. At first his father let him wander, but over time he became concerned. The woods were dangerous. The father did not know what lurked there. He decided to discuss the matter with his child. One day he took him aside and said, “You know, I have noticed that each day you walk into the woods. I wonder, why do you go there?” The boy said to his father, “I go there to find God.” “That is a very good thing,” the father replied gently. “I am glad you are searching for God. But, my child, don’t you know that God is the same everywhere?” “Yes,” the boy answered, “but I’m not.”–Teaching Your Children About God, by David J. Wolpe|
In order to maximize the experience of visiting a Special Place it is helpful to think in terms of a journey with a series of steps: selection of the site; preparation for the journey; the journey to the site and the visit at the site; and the follow-up activities. Recommendations for each of these steps can be found by clicking on the appropriate acorn of the Special Places Tree.
Note: For those seeking information concerning Houses of Worship, we recommend consulting the Yellow Pages. This is a comprehensive and up-to-date resource.