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Do you want your child to thrive?

©Glow images: model used for illustrative purposes only

During a show, lines of cocaine, marijuana joints, and shots of tequila had been placed on the stage at a young guitarist’s feet. At the end of the show, they were untouched.

Lisa Miller, PhD, believes she knows why.

Dr. Miller, a Columbia University psychologist, in her new book, The Spiritual Child – The New Science on Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving, reveals why psychological and neurological researchers have come to the conclusion that spirituality supplies a protective and healthy advantage.

Spirituality, until relatively recently, interested mainly those of deep faith. Now, spirituality is a cottage industry involving university departments, clinical trials, researchers, writers, and publishers. This is a good thing. Each participant can help us to recognize the value of spirituality.

Miller writes in The Spiritual Child, “Spiritual development through the early years prepares the adolescent to grapple more successfully with the predictably difficult and potentially disorienting existential questions that make adolescence so deeply challenging for teens (and their parents.) It also provides a protective health benefit, reducing the risk of depression, substance abuse, aggression, and high-risk behaviors, including physical risk taking.”

The critical question is: If your child had been on that stage, would he or she have been able to say, “No”?

Miller in The Spiritual Child writes, “Research shows that a parent’s decision about how to approach their child’s spiritual life is a high-stakes proposition with lifelong implications.”

I met Dr. Lisa Miller over a year ago at a conference hosted by the Institute for Spirituality and Health at the Texas Medical Center in Houston. I was immediately impressed with her work and writings. They resonated with me. Why? Because I was the teenage musician mentioned earlier.

I was fortunate to have parents who encouraged my spiritual development at an early age. I received spiritual education at a Christian Science Sunday School. This led to a daily practice of reading a Bible-lesson and praying, which resulted in a sufficient spiritual sense that helped me refrain from alcohol and drugs. This moral and spiritual culture helped me achieve perfect attendance during elementary, middle, and high school. My childhood included what are considered normal teenage emotional and physical struggles, yet, I never missed a day of school because of illness.

Dr. Miller’s research and writings are important because they reveal how essential spirituality is in fostering children’s health and safety. In The Spiritual Child, readers will find helpful advice on how to nurture their child’s spirituality and their own.

I agree with Dr. Miller that parents need not worry that a child could be without spirituality. Their child’s spirituality has already been sewn securely into the lining of his or her existence. Yet, research has led Miller to conclude that a child’s spirituality is genetic and simply needs nurturing, whereas in my practice of spiritual healing, I have found spirituality to be the core of our existence – not gained from matter or genetic material, but from divine composition. Perhaps, it will be found that spirituality only seems genetic to researchers because spirituality or spiritual consciousness is the ultimate fabric and structure of life.

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