Raising children offers us such a bewildering number of options that sometimes, important things can slip easily through he cracks. For instance, is reverence an old fashioned, out dated concept? Should we pay any attention to it in present day society?
Is it a concept we aught to become more familiar with? Is it a concept we could easily be introducing to our children?
These days the word “reverence” is often used in relationship with religion, and maybe that is why we are a bit skeptical of using it in our daily family vocabulary.
However, reverence is nothing more than a feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe and veneration. It is behaving with awareness that all life is precious.
We teach our children to add and subtract, to read and to play organized sport.
Yet we sometimes ignore the importance of teaching them to appreciate times of silence. We don’t offer them regular times of simple reflection. We focus more on the physical adventure of a day spent in nature than the spiritual experience of being still and allowing the wonder and beauty to shine through.
6 simple ways to introduce the concept of reverence into family life
- Explain what it means in simple terms to kids
- Don’t be afraid to use the actual word – bring it back into fashion
- Talk to children about the consequences of the absence of reverence for human life in some current world events
- Actively seek the little miracles of nature, such as an exotic insect, and bring them to the attention of the children
- Affirm children when they show reverence for precious things, sacred places, things of beauty, or miracles of nature
- Encourage children to collect little miracles of nature for a ‘Reverence collection’
Albert Schweitzer said that “The deeper we look into nature the more we recognize that it is full of life, and the more profoundly we know that all life is a secret, and we are all united to all this life.
And the wonderful poet and author, John O’Donohue describes it this way:
“When we approach with reverence, great things decide to approach us. Our real life comes to the surface and its light awakens the concealed beauty in things. When we walk on the earth with reverence, beauty will decide to trust us. The rushed heart and arrogant mind lack the gentleness and patience to enter that embrace.”
Reverence calls us to service. When we have a mindset of reverence, it seems natural to use our life energy to preserve, honor and elevate something greater than ourselves.
This is what we want for our kids and our society.