The Spiritual Lives of Children

Welcome to the Parents’ Way Podcast, where we invite you to a conversation about progressive politics, spirituality and parenting.

We spoke out about the spiritual lives of children this week. Here are some of the topics we raised.

For our children, every part of life is spirited and animated. Everything comes alive by the same emanating life force, qi, Spirit, God. In that we are one. We’re all quite distinct at the same time.

We are all unique expressions of the same life force. It is critical that we’re all here and unique, but we’re not separated.

We name Spiritual life, because we live in a civilized time, full of isolation and disconnection. Often we try to remind ourselves of the Spirit with discreet practices. Spiritual life then becomes not that different from getting a massage. It’s one more thing on our to-do list.

What if it’s our life? That’s what we strive for. We won’t call it spiritual life anymore. It’s just life.

For children, it’s life, not spiritual life. The world is full of awe, and wonder, and magic. Full of discovery, body, connection, delight, laughter.

Our children wouldn’t name a Spiritual life. They’re alive. And that’s what we’re trying to return to. A world of wonderment and enchantment.

We fear that too many have concluded that that enchanted feeling was an illusion and to be left behind. And that’s how we stop deeply relating with our world.


We seek to be unselfconsciously present in the here and now. And that’s what children do when they go off and play. In particular imaginary play.

What is bringing us to life? It can make us a little messy. It’s not always convenient.

Children are not convenient. That can be hard on them and on us.

Connection or Isolation

Parenting is deeply isolating. And that puts enormous pressure on parents. To conform to this world is a real struggle and we talk about supporting parents in that struggle.

Parents are right in the line of fire between the expression of God and the demands of civilization.

That’s the real pressure on being a parent and that’s what’s hopeful about being a parent. Our children remind us about how alive life can be. We cannot allow ourselves to be deadened, because we come home to an alive child.

Our children lure us to strive to a life that’s more alive, enchanted, full of song and play. And also to more justice and fairness.

The spiritual life of children is also the political life of children.

Holy Struggle

We’re engaged in a holy struggle when we parent. And we’re in it together. Our main problem is not that we’re broken, as Protestantism would have it. Our main problem is that we’re disconnected. We were never meant to be alone.

Our children can face the world exactly because they can feel deeply connected.

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