"A new study in the scientific journal Child Development, Nov. /Dec. , 2006, shows that if you teach students that their intelligence can grow and increase, they do better in school.
About 100 seventh graders, all doing poorly in math, were randomly assigned to workshops on good study skills. One workshop gave lessons on how to study well. The other group was taught about the expanding nature of intelligence and the brain.
The students in the latter group learned that the brain actually forms new connections every time you learn something new, and that over time, this makes you smarter. The group of kids who had been taught that the brain can grow smarter, had significantly better math grades than the other group. "
Michelle Trudeau, NPR-Morning Edition, Feb. 15, 2007.
In the progressive unfoldment of the idea that “you are what you believe, " many of us have learned to apply this teaching to help create a positive outlook in our children concerning what they are capable of intellectually, and what they can aspire to in any area they choose to pursue later on. We know how to encourage our children in the ways of worldly success.
Yet as a society, we have yet to apply the same kind of teaching to the encouragement of spiritual growth – to the encouragement of the unfolding spiritual potential of the very young. We have been limited in our encouragement because we have not yet learned to do this for ourselves.
The unfoldment of spiritual potential does not depend on outer success, knowledge, skills, or anything else that may be visible to the outer eyes. It depends entirely on the state of the heart and on the importance we give to a sense of deeper spiritual purpose in life. To recognize such a purpose is to acknowledge ourselves and our children as spiritual beings, living in a sacred world. The two go together – if we are spiritual beings, then the world is a sacred place because all who are in it are of God. If the world is a sacred place, then everything that is part of that world is sacred as well, including we, ourselves. This awareness is just coming to us now as a collective humanity, and thus we can begin to teach it to our children.
The knowledge of the sacred nature of all living things and of each child's innermost being needs to be held by the adults who care for children, or the children cannot learn it. They may have understood such things intuitively when they were infants and when the world was one bright jewel of love, and trust, and joy, but the intuitive knowledge in many children can become covered over as society's values take hold, and what was once perceived as the bright jewel of life can become tarnished.
An understanding of the sacredness of life is something that our Native ancestors have known and practiced forever, for it was given to them to do so. Yet it is time, now, to return to our spiritual roots, and to the awareness of oneness within the Circle of Sacred Life so that we can teach this to our children as well.
It is time, today, for this to happen, for the light is calling to us to recognize the sacred reality of the Divine behind everything that has an outer form. It is calling us to celebrate what is holy, and not to continue along the path of thinking that we are ordinary beings living ordinary lives. We are not ordinary beings, nor are our children. They are the seeds of a sacred future for the earth and are expressions of a unique and sacred purpose that is theirs alone to fulfill. Now is the time to give to our children a belief in the infinite potential of their Spirit which is of God, and a belief in their own unique inner path which will lead them to express on the earth in beauty and in love.
For a list of writings by Julie Redstone see Pathways of Light , a part of http://lightomega.org . For more about children and spirituality see “Creating a Spiritual Practice Within Families" and “Children of the Light, " available within the Light Omega Bookshop .