Thursday, December 16, 2010

Raising Spiritually Fit Kids

Running has been my church for the past ten years. Alone, with a friend, or with my husband, hoofing out short and long runs most days of the week should have me at clergy status by now.

Unfortunately, it's not that easy.  I've logged tens of thousands of miles on my legs and yet sometimes I feel like I am right where I started, spiritually speaking. Leaves me wondering what I can do to make it easier for my kids than it's been for me.

I was raised Roman Catholic--went to church every Sunday and never missed a holy day. My high school was Catholic, I went to a Catholic college, and I attended Catholic graduate school (twice!). I participated in all of the appropriate sacraments and had my children baptized.

Despite my uber Catholic upbringing, I've not pushed religion on my kids like my parents did on me. Guess I figure it hasn't given me any significant spiritual advantage, so I'm looking at other ways of fostering their growth... We go to church, but not every Sunday. We give thanks before meals, but sometimes we don't. Yes, we've given our kids an introduction to a spiritual life, but sometimes I worry that they're missing something, that we should be giving them more in the area of structured religion.

It was a priest who first introduced me to the idea of running as my church, as a form of prayer. I'm quite certain he didn't intend for me to jump ship and start a church of my own, but that's sort of what I've done. And while the Church of Running has a huge congregation, I'm starting to think it's not enough anymore. Not for me, and not for my children.

So I've done some shopping around... I think I've found a good community for my family. A place that will help them grow spiritually, not just religiously. But I know they need to find their own personal churches, too. Might not be the same as mine; but it would be wonderful if they are.

I'm not looking for any conversion conversation, but what are your thoughts on raising spiritually fit kids? What is spiritual fitness? Does it include structure and individuality, or just one of these? Does age matter? Are you beliefs a reaction to or in support of your own upbringing? And what about the idea of workouts bringing you closer to your higher power?

No comments:

Post a Comment