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Children and Spirituality

clipboard-with-pencil_16x16I try my best to give my son an idea of what religion and what spirituality means. One of the things we do therefore is visiting religious places. Today we went to the Xingtian temple in Taipe. The temple is devoted to Guang Yu (Guang Gong) and Lawrence knows that he was a legendary warrior from the Three Kingdoms Period. Guang Yu is an inspiration to many people even today. He was very skilled in martial arts and was famous for his wisdom, righteousness and loyalty.

When we came here the last time, Lawrence was six years old and he observed how people where throwing red half-moon shaped blocks on the ground. I told him that it are oracle blocks and that people are seeking divine guidance from it by praying while holding them and then throwing them on the ground. By the way they fall they receive answers to their questions. The little boy asked if he could try it. I saw no harm in this and I gave him the blocks.

He put the blocks in his hands in front of him, closes his eyes and after a while he throws them on the ground. He opens his eyes and looks with great attention to the blocks. I saw a relief on his face when the oracle blocks indicated a “yes”. He picks up the blocks, closes his eyes and throws them a second time. Again the blocks indicate “yes” and again his face shows an expression of relief and contentment. The seriousness with which he was doing it made me a bit worried so before he would throw them a third time I asked him what the questions where that he asked just now. The little boy answered: “The first question was if there would be another life after this life and the second one was if my best friend Neil would still be my best friend in the next life.” That explained the relief and the smile on his face when the blocks indicated “Yes” in both cases. A bit surprised by the kind of questions he was asking and worried about his next question (and even more of its answer), I decided to end the little ritual.

The little boy was a bit disappointed because he had so many things to ask he said. I remembered a Chinese story that helped to explain it. I told him to treat these kind of things as one would treat a lucky dragon. When you come across a lucky dragon in your life, every time you touch him you will be lucky. But every time you touch him, he would also shrink a little and get smaller and smaller. So if you would touch him too many times in a short period he would disappear very fast. If you feel happy in life because you feel you received something that is nice, just like your answers just now, enjoy them and learn to cherish them and don’t go immediately for more. If we would know everything the future will bring, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy what is here and now.

He is eleven now and became more skeptical about religion and all things related to God. I found this a good thing because he is using his own mind to find out what is right and what is not. However, I was happy today that he remembered the story of the lucky dragon and that in life you must moderate things.

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Lieven Verbrugge, EzineArticles Platinum Author