The Spiritual Child by Patrick Allred

The Presbytery of the Highlands was thrilled to host Dr. Lisa Miller, New York Times best-selling author of The Spiritual Child and The Awakened Brain, at the Presbyterian Church in Morristown on February 16th. Co-sponsored by the church and presbytery, over 100 attended, physically and virtually, to hear Dr. Miller’s presentation about the importance of spirituality in childhood and adolescent development.

Dr. Miller shared with those in attendance the scientific and statistical evidence that all individuals are spiritual beings that have the capacity for transcendent awareness. Perhaps most important, children and adolescents who have a spiritual foundation are less likely to experience major depressive disorders, abuse substances, or experiment with dangerous behaviors. These spiritual foundations are that much stronger whenever they are accompanied by a house of worship with people singing, praying, and meditating together.

Children and adolescents with a strong sense of spirituality can see the divine in the mundane, the sacred in the simplicities of life. They are aware that they are living in a world made by something bigger than themselves and that every living thing has a purpose and meaning. Significantly, this includes the child or adolescents self-understanding their own purpose and meaning.

After Dr. Miller’s lecture, I kept wondering about the ways our churches can continue to support the growth of spiritual foundations not only in children and adolescents, but for all of those in our communities? How can our churches start meaningful conversations on the questions that our communities have about the world, their lives, and everything in between? How can we remind those around us that they are loved and that they have a significant purpose and meaning in our world?

Perhaps it starts with us remembering our own spiritual foundations. What were our core experiences when we felt like we were close to God? Who are the people that taught us about God? Then, how can we help someone else have those same experiences today?

Spirituality looks different for every individual. Take some time to learn someone else’s story and perspective, whether young or old, and let us be a church that continues to cultivate spiritual practices in everything we do.

February 16, 2023  – Morristown Presbyterian Church and Young Leader Formation Team