What’s the matter with our children? Reading the papers, or listening to the news, one is constantly confronted with a supposed failure of teachers. All too easily the real problem is overlooked.
Many parents are totally stressed out. They have to deal with personal, work, financial and health problems. Or they don’t know how to handle their children, because they have no idea what it means to guide a child through life, to protect it, give it security, inner strength, lots of understanding and love.
Therefore, it is often the case that unsolved social, and/or family problems and conflict, are pushed on to the kindergarten and school, hoping that teachers can solve the problems. But this is not their job.
In addition, children are not how they were ten or twenty years ago. They have changed significantly. Not because they have been badly brought up, but because society has undergone an enormous change. Mankind stands at the crossroads, and people face a crisis. They are forced to look for new ways, because the old systems – and this includes our teaching methods – simply don’t work any more. But these transformation processes also involve more and more people opening up for spiritual topics and new views.
Whereas, traditional education methods focus on imparting knowledge, teaching children how to fit into a group and how to meet expectations, alternative education aims to see children as individuals, who are discovering and developing their personalities and abilities.
Spiritual education, as we understand it, goes a step further. Besides imparting knowledge and personality development, we focus on children’s and adults’ spiritual authenticity. Children should, and are encouraged to learn, not only to discover and develop their individual human needs, but also to value their spiritual talents and abilities. The more authentic adults handle children, the more seriously they are taken by the children. If children feel honesty and authenticity, they can much more easily accept what adults are trying to teach them.
Spiritual education does not only assume that children are “souls in a physical body”, but they are born with inner wisdom and spiritual awareness. Especially, the children of our times often have the desire to express and live their inner wisdom and spirituality.
It is a prerequisite of spiritual education that basic spiritual needs cannot only be met within the family, but should also be accommodated in the kindergarten and the school. This does not mean moralizing lessons in ethics, or religious indoctrination.
It is really about recognizing and transforming the blockages and burdens of children, parents and teachers, with the help of spiritual tools. Only if adults accept that we can, and should, all follow our own path of development, but that, at the same time, there is a shared development process of adults and children, we can look at the so-called “problems with children” from a new perspective, understand, and solve them.
Copyright © by Ingrid Auer and Beate Fallaschinski