"Give your kids an inner compass. Create a culture of meaning and reflection at home."
These are the taglines of Uplift Kids (see below) and they perfectly evoke what a process theology of family life, parenting, and children's spirituality can look like.
The folks at Uplift Kids need not turn to process theology for help, but those of us influenced by process theology can appreciate and try to embody their seven aims, listed below. Additionally, we are inclined, we can sign up for the many resources which can help us create a culture of meaning and reflection at home." Click here.
To the seven aims listed below we bring some ideas of our own, all of which overlap with their aims and can be deepened by the activities and resources they offer families:
an understanding of spirituality shaped by science and wisdom traditions, where spirituality is a name for embodied wisdom and emotional intelligence in daily life;
a recognition that spirituality can be enriched by religious life (including community and ritual) and also thwarted;
a unique way of thinking of God as a loving and guiding force in life, inside each person;
an emphasis on relationality, including family life at its best, asthe place where spirituality surfaces in children, teenagers and adults;
an appreciate of lineage, that is, the way the past influences the present, positively and negatively, and how some lineages provide robust identities that are essential to life;
a recognition that spirituality itself - a journey toward wholeness - is a lifelong process that is part of each person's journey; it is never complete;
a recognition that the earth itself has "spirituality;' animals and plants, mountains and rivers, has energetic dimensions connected with emotion and spirituality.
a recognition that the universe as a whole leans toward heightened forms of consciousness and beauty: the universe is "friendly" to spirituality.
an appreciation of multiple ways of knowing - kinesthetic, musical, verbal, visual, naturalistic - all of which can be part of spiritual education at home;
an emphasis on four forms of wholeness toward which meaningful discussions in family life can be focused: whole persons, whole communities, a whole planet, and holistic thinking.
The latter is important because it frees spirituality in children and adults from thinking of it solely in individualistic terms. But to my mind there's not much in the ideas above that is new to the folks at Uplift Kids. What is important about Uplift Kids is that it puts ideas such as these into practice in ways available to parents and families. It is, as it were, where big ideas come down to earth and into parenting.
- Jay McDaniel, 10/30/2022
Give your kids an inner compass...Create a culture of meaning and reflection at home.
Uplift Kids offers resources for creating weekly spiritual experiences that build wonder, resilience, and compassion home. Its aims, as presented on its website, are as follows:
1. We help parents and children find their inner compass. Call it conscience, spirit, source, the true self, God, or the divine — we hold that spiritual development is a crucial part of well-being. This is our north star: To help families and communities reimagine how to foster spirituality together in the 21st century.
2. We integrate the best of modern science and ancient wisdom. Whether it’s academic research about child rearing or timeless insights from the world’s wisdom traditions (including Buddhism, Stoicism, Christianity, Hinduism, Taoism, Judaism, Sufism, and many others), we embrace it. We also acknowledge that both science and wisdom arise from particular cultural contexts and perspectives and must therefore be held with humility.
3. We help parents and children find their individual purpose. We believe that all teaching must be adapted to the particular strengths of each person so that families can better work together to find their calling. That’s why we support flexibility and intuition as you help your children become their true selves. The process and results will be different for everyone, and that’s not only okay — it’s ideal.
4. We believe that human beings develop throughout childhood and adulthood. To nurture spiritual experiences most effectively, parents should be aware of their own stage of development as well as the stages of their children. Lessons are catered from and to these stages.
5. We believe that healthy development comes from exploring complementary virtues. It’s a principle found in wisdom texts through time, from Aristotle’s golden mean to the Chinese principle of yin and yang. Given this, we teach healthy development through the practice of polarities — sitting with each virtue in conversation with its counterpart, ensuring that we help each other find the middle way.
6. We value lineage. Everyone comes from somewhere, and our ancestral stories make us who we are. Telling these stories builds resilience and connects us to each other. As psychologist Elaine Reese shows through a meta-study on the topic, “adolescents with a stronger knowledge of family history have more robust identities, better coping skills, and lower rates of depression and anxiety.” We believe in making family stories a core part of the home, and we offer prompts and guidance to help you do just that.
7. We focus on relationships. All learning, development, healing, and transformation happens in the context of relationship — relationship between parent and child, child and peers, child and world, child and self, and child and awareness itself. Every lesson and activity is intended to build these relationships. We believe that families should privilege the relationship over the teaching. Our resources are means to the end of deepening your relationships. Above all, that’s why we exist.
- from the Uplift Kids Website
Interview with Jon Ogden, a founder of Uplift Kids
"Jon has worked as a university instructor, curriculum designer, content director, and writer. He’s coupled that work with a decades-long study of the world’s wisdom traditions, seeking for ways to keep the best of the past alive while evolving beyond its limitations. At Uplift, he’s taking this interest in wisdom literature from around the world to help create community, alongside his spouse, for his two sons." (from the website)
Dr. Lisa Miller
Process and Spirituality
“Spirituality is an inner sense of relationship to a higher power that is loving and guiding. The word we give to this higher power might be God, nature, spirit, the universe, the creator, or other words that represent a divine presence. But the important point is that spirituality encompasses our relationship and dialogue with this higher presence.” - Lisa Miller, The Spiritual Child
Process theologians resonate with Lisa Miller’s idea that there is a loving and guiding higher power which can be named in different ways, While many will see this loving and guiding power in personal ways (as a divine You who can be addressed in prayer) others will see it in less personal ways (as a matrix of love in which the universe unfolds). Process theology is open to both ways of thinking of the higher power.
Process theologians also resonate with the idea, emphasized by Uplift Kids, that young children can have a feeling for this higher power and that it is very important for parents to create a culture of meaning and purpose at home, helping kids find their inner compass. This higher power is an inwardly felt lure toward wholeness or, to use another word, spiritual vitality. Personal wholeness is one of the four hopes that are at the heart of the process movement: whole persons, whole communities, a whole planet, and holistic thinking. Ideally, the spirituality of family life will include all four forms of wholeness, personal, social, ecological, and intellectual.