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Spiritual Development Resources

Our children’s safety is enhanced by sound spiritual development! Spirituality is an important part of our humanity – it is how we experience relationships to self, family, others, community, society, nature and the significant or sacred. When we explore spirituality, we are invited to consider our meaning and purpose in the world. We express spirituality through beliefs, values, traditions and practices.

Some important things to remember:

  1. Spirituality is not religion. For some people spirituality does include religion, but this is not always the case.
  2. Spiritual development:
    • Occurs in all people but especially among youth who are discovering their identity.
    • Is a lifelong journey.
    • Can influence coping skills, resiliency, wellbeing and thriving.
    • Exists alongside our physical, psychological, cognitive and emotional development.
  3. Parents, mentors and family members can encourage young people to develop their spirituality with mindfulness, meditation, prayer, serving others, reflection, participating in traditions, identifying values and building relationships with family, friends, mentors, and nature.

Here at Lee Health, our experts help children and their families explore spirituality – which can help build relationships, identify values, and help us serve others. Learn how you can support your child’s spiritual development below! 

Community Spiritual Development Resources

*Some have fees associated but also have free trials*

  • Spirituality and Practice Toolkit: for more than 260 classic and informal spiritual practices.
  • Lee Health Behavioral Health: Lee Health’s Behavioral Health team offers a wide variety of resources to assist you and your family care for your mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.
  • Asana Charleston: for Yoga, Barre, and Meditation.
  • Calm: for stress reduction, improved focus and self-improvement.
  • Center for Mind-Body-Medicine: for self-care, group support, and community-building central to trauma-relief and stress management.
  • Headspace: for meditation, sleep support, stress mitigation and mindfulness.
  • Inner Engineering: for “discovering hidden resources of physical and mental energy and hope, as well as your capacity to imagine and make use of perspectives and solutions that may have previously been unthinkable. You may also discover the treasure of meaning and purpose, and a love for others and yourself.”
  • Wellness Wednesdays presented by Zing: Wellness Wednesdays features cutting-edge researchers, best-selling authors, and health professionals.
  • The faith communities of Southwest Florida have houses of worship with welcoming congregations who offer spiritual support and kind hospitality to individuals and families.  

Spiritual Development Ideas for Children and Youth*

  • Put time, energy, and focus into a creative activity, such as art, music, dance, theater, photography or spoken word. Make a collage or an artistic representation of pictures that represent your dreams and hopes in the world.
  • Create your own “spiritual autobiography.” Remember where you’ve come from, where you are now, and where you hope to go. Reflect on the people and places that have shaped your journey. Share your story as you feel comfortable—with family, friends, trusted adults, or in video form.
  • Map your own neighborhood, village, or community for places that seem spiritual to you. Encourage   friends and family to create their own maps, and compare them. Then spend time in those places.
  • Identify people who are open to and supportive of your spiritual path. Ask them about their own spiritual journey. Share with them your story, perspectives, and questions.
  • Ask your parents and other adults about their own spiritual development.  What made a difference for them when they were younger? What did they struggle with? How are they seeking to grow now?
  • Keep a journal of things that happen during your day that help you grow spiritually.
  • Create a “you lift my spirit” card and give it to a friend, family member, or mentor.
  • Talk with your friends or trusted adults about what rings true with your own experiences of exploring your spirituality? What doesn’t make sense? What questions would you ask?

*Source:  “With Their Own Voices:  A Global Exploration of How Today’s Young People
Experience and Think About Spiritual Development,” pgs 51, November 5, 2008 by Center for Spiritual Development in Childhood and Adolescence, Search Institute 615 First Avenue Northeast, Suite 125 Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA 55413

Click here for the online resource!

Spiritual Development Ideas for Parents and Mentors of Youth* 

Young people see their parents and mentors as primary resources for their own spiritual development. Here are some ideas for what parents and mentors can do to nurture spiritual development: 

  • Be intentional in listening to your child’s wondering, questions, ideas, and perspectives related to spiritual development. Celebrate her or his insights, growth, and curiosity. Keep communication open, even if he or she says things that may scare you or disappoint you.
  • Ask your child or teenager to tell you about the things that really matter to her or him. Share your own story and perspective about what’s important to you.
  • Model your own spiritual beliefs, practices, and commitments.
  • Spend time in nature or other places that seem spiritual to you or your child.
  • Support your child or teenager in expressing her or his own emerging sense of spirituality through journaling, music, or other creative expression.
  • Find spiritual mentors you trust to connect with your child or teenager.
  • Encourage your child or teenager to be part of positive peer groups that reinforce her or his spiritual commitments.
  • Talk with other parents about what you’re experiencing, including parents with older teenagers.
  • Encourage your child or teenager to connect with peers and mentors who have deep spiritual commitments or practices—even if they are different from your own. Exposing a young person to different cultures or belief systems can trigger them to re-evaluate and reclaim their own.

*Source:  “With Their Own Voices:  A Global Exploration of How Today’s Young People
Experience and Think About Spiritual Development,” pgs 51-52, November 5, 2008, Center for Spiritual Development in Childhood and Adolescence, Search Institute 615 First Avenue Northeast, Suite 125 Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA 55413

Click here for the online resource!