This series began by encouraging us to consider how to help our children to experience their soul in action. We want them to have confidence that they are more than just a body and brain. We want them to know that they have spiritual longings that cannot be satisfied by the confines of this physical life alone. Telling them about the soul may be enough, but at Start to Stir, we believe that discovery learning is the most transforming and long-lasting. In our previous article, Awe & Wonder: Help Your Child Experience Their Soul in Action we looked at practical ways to point out the soul-ful longings present when we encounter beauty and feel awe and reverence.
As a parent you can help your children become aware of their soul by helping them experience it in action, and then by translating, or giving words, to that experience. In this article we will see how translating your child’s longing for justice will strengthen their belief that they are spiritual beings, not simply matter and energy.
Our longing that the world is just
You won’t need to do anything to help your child experience injustice. They have a keen sense of it from an early age. Early on, injustice is usually focused solely on self. As they mature your children will start to see how it affects their classmates, their friends and even people they don’t know.
We all understand how much it hurts to fall down and scrape our knee. But when someone says or does something hurtful toward us- or we go through a difficult situation- it can leave us with a real sense that something has been broken. And when we see others suffer, we have an immediate reaction that the strong should not exploit the weak and get away with it. It also leaves us feeling sad for the people who have been hurt, angry at those who cause it or overwhelmed by all that’s ‘bad’ in the world. We have a belief inside of us that the world should be good and life should be fair, not full of humans hurting each other. We believe this shows we are spiritual.
Older children may notice how one child in their class is bullied or gossiped about They may be clued into the national news where injustice and unfair treatment of innocent people happens every day. You can use these situations to reinforce the reality that the justice and fairness they long for is a clue that they are spiritual beings. They are more than a body and a brain.
Have These Soul Stirring Conversations
You can learn to ask:
“I noticed that you had a strong reaction when someone was mistreated. You really want the world to be good and for people to be kind to each other. Where do you think that longing comes from?”
You can learn to say:
“I see that you are always surprised when people do not treat each other kindly. It’s such a good quality to be compassionate. You know, some people say that the big force shaping the world is chance, natural selection and survival of the fittest. But that’s not what your heart longs for. You long for the world to be good and people to be kind to each other. If we are just physical bodies and brains who are here by blind luck, I don’t think these longings make sense. Why do we care so much for the weak and less fortunate? I think these feelings actually show our soul in action. The world isn’t how it was meant to be and we long for it to be made right. I think your longing for justice is a clue that you are a spiritual being.”
Of course, that conversation can lead right up to the foot of the Cross as we explore the vastness of the gospel- that Jesus’ death on the cross not only made a way for us to be right with God but also for the whole world to be reset on a new course of heaven and earth coming together under Jesus who will provide ultimate justice.
In our next article we explore how stirring up our deep longing to be part of something bigger than ourselves can serve as a signpost to the truth that we are more than a body and a brain.
Joy has been a youth worker for over 20 years. In addition to training Christian youth workers she regularly leads communication, digital media and fundraising projects for Start To Stir. Joy and Darin have two teenage daughters and a nutty ginger dog.