Archive for the ‘spirituality and children’ Tag

A Normal Pregnancy   Leave a comment

10999095_10203698134286147_529720653179037855_n[1]We have recently had a beautiful baby girl. Our whole pregnancy and birth was summed up by one of the midwives as being ‘refreshingly normal’; nothing unexpected, nothing out of the ordinary, nothing unpredicted just easy and simple and normal.

I was bought up in Christian Science. It is normal for me to pray whenever I feel scared, hurt or whelmed by a situation and having a baby definitely fell into the overwhelming category. I have never been maternal and have never really thought seriously about being a parent, but my husband was ready and if there was ever anyone I wanted to have a baby with, it’s him. So I started praying to know that Life isn’t a product of mortal interaction. Life is a synonym of God. Life is from God and as such I don’t have the power to do a bad job of parenting.

I can’t say I was completely comfortable yet with the idea of being parental, but the terror the idea initially filled me with had receded. When we found out we were pregnant the last residual fears left me. I’m deeply fortunate that my mum is a Christian Science Practitioner. Through prayer she helped shield me from all the insidious fears that try and bombard pregnant women; she reminded me constantly that my little baby was a reflection of God, a perfectly developed, complete reflection of Life and Love. I could suffer no ill effects from such a blessing – and the pregnancy was a blessing. All symptoms of morning sickness ceased almost as soon as they started, I didn’t feel exhausted, I wasn’t moody or emotional; at all my checkups the midwives found me and my baby to be healthy and growing at the perfect rate. I was fit enough to keep working, right up until the office closed for Christmas (I was due in early January), and my hair was extra shiny!

I was often told by friends how lucky I’d been with my pregnancy. It’s not lucky, it’s normal. It is normal to be happy, to be healthy, it’s normal to be blessed every day by God’s Love.

By the time I was 8 months pregnant my fears of being a bad mother, of being unable to raise my child well had dissipated. God is Father Mother, not me and my husband. The only fears that remained were my waters breaking in the supermarket and the pain of labour (and having to do it with no pants on). So I kept praying about these too. I found at the root of these seemingly superficial fears I was afraid of losing my dignity; that I would be overwhelmed by the physical process of giving birth. I reasoned that if my baby was a perfect reflection of God’s Love and Life, then so was I. After caring for me so long God would not abandon me at the final hurdle.

Labour was short, uncomplicated and I did not forgot my please and thank-yous once! My waters broke at the hospital (not at the supermarket) and I kept my pants on right until the end, and then I didn’t really care. Our little girl is perfect.

I’ve kept praying about what is normal since we came home too.  Normal is peaceful, harmonious, and joyous. It is not distress, sleepless nights, or the baby blues. In those first few days where doctors and nurses tell you to expect exhaustion, unsettledness and hormonal tidal waves, I prayed fiercely, I would not accept these predictions of disharmony.  The first few nights we were home I read the Mothers Evening Prayer by Mary Baker Eddy (from the Christian Science Hymnal 207), the second verse resonated strongly:

Love is our refuge; only with mine eye / Can I behold the snare, the pit, the fall: / His habitation high is here, and nigh, / His arm encircles me, and mine and all.”

I read this over and over until I felt calm, and the fear of having a newborn subsided.

Our child has, from the start, been a good sleeper. Neither my husband nor I have suffered sleepless nights and she is a happy, tolerant, calm, peaceful baby. None of the scary predictions have lingered, because divine Love is omnipotent, a Father Mother’s Love could never allow their child to suffer distress or pain, and hasn’t.

Our home is a happy one, and we are so grateful for having Jacqueline come into it.

This article was shared by Alex Tabor who lives in Tasmania, Australia.

Study Shows Spirituality Protects Youth Mental Health   Leave a comment

Style: "70's look"The years between 15-25 are a time of questioning and great discovery, but I found them difficult. I had to deal with sickness, failure in my chosen career, chronic lack of self-worth along with indecision about an alternative career path, and loneliness.

During this time, I learned that spiritual activities kept me sane and ever hopeful that things would get better. Rather than restricting me or quashing my critical thinking, a daily communion with the divine and loving Principle of the universe, along with giving time to serving others, gave me a feeling of self-worth again and opened up previously unknown pathways. Things started to go right for me again, and I met and married a wonderful man to whom I’m still married.

My spiritual research has led me to understand that what I needed all along was to put into daily practice a growing understanding of the Divine being and my relationship to Him/Her.

Recent research results show that spirituality impacts directly on a range of health determinants, and has a positive impact upon social, mental and emotional health.

A 2008 study published in Australian Family Physician and written by Dr Craig Hassed, Senior Lecturer, Department of General Practice at Monash University in Melbourne, reported that “Spirituality is an important determinant of physical, emotional and social health and may, in some circumstances, be a central aspect of the management of some conditions.”

When commenting on escalating trends in youth suicide it suggests that “there may be too little attention being given to the ‘protective factors’ against mental illness, of which, particularly for adolescents, are connectedness and having a spiritual or religious dimension to one’s life” (Hassed, The role of spirituality in medicine, 2008).

It’s heartening to learn that a better understanding of youth mental health identifies spirituality as central. These research findings need to be guiding the treatment of anxiety and depression, not just in young people, but for all.

A spiritual or religious dimension to life will assist our youth as they seek (and find) their unique place in the world.

This article, Study Shows Spirituality Protects Youth Mental Health, is by Kay Stroud. Kay is a health writer focussing on the leading edge of consciousness, spirituality and health. Her articles can be found on Health4Thinkers.

Classes with Care   Leave a comment

shutterstock_81539152One Saturday morning I was standing in the foyer of a young peoples’ theatre. Students were gathering for their weekly drama lesson. A teacher who had been away the previous several lessons arrived. I watched as one by one children sidled over to her.
“I did my piano exam,” one told her.
“I’ve auditioned for an arts program.”
“I lost my tooth.”
Their teacher embraced each with a comment, or smile, or hug – an affirmation of value. Children know when teachers or coaches care for them and they shine under this attention. Apart from the instruction in drama, football, or swimming, this is also of real value.

As kids become adolescents they enjoy finding people that care for them enough to verbally spar with them, let them exercise their wit, reason and questioning of the world. They want teachers, coaches, friends and neighbours to care enough not to always agree with them as they develop their own unique identities. Finding a variety of situations where this can safely happen can be a challenge.

In the Christian Science Sunday School time is given for the fostering of caring respectful relationships. Grouped around similar ages up to 20, a teacher or facilitator typically stays for two to three years. Relevant ideas from unique thinkers in the Bible and the book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, prompt discussion.

Along with a pre-teen group, I was part of an exploration of an idea from this book: ‘The divine Mind maintains all identities, from a blade of grass to a star, as distinct and eternal.’ There were no right or wrong answers. It included a discovery of our spiritual identity, our pets and the local water-ways!
This group grew in confidence at school and in extra-curricular activities. They uncovered something about their spiritual identity. As part of the group I learned about soccer umpiring, teenage movies, pokemon and mine-craft. Our regular one-hour a week together was a cheerful win-win all round!

In Canberra the Christian Science Sunday School operates every Sunday 10.00 – 11.00 am. It is located at the corner of Macquarie and Bligh Street in Barton. Visitors and new pupils up to the age of 20 are warmly welcomed. Instruction in classes is based on the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer.

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