Program Particulars: The Spirituality of Parenting

Program Particulars

*Times indicated refer to Web version of audio

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(2:00) Music Element

"The Multiples of One" from Awakening, performed by Joseph Curiale


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(11:08) Music Element

"Stay Awake" from Dream a Little Dream, performed by Dare To Breathe


(12:06) Voice of a Mother from Tennessee

In preparing for this broadcast, we asked listeners and readers about how they are experiencing and addressing questions of spirituality as a parent or grandparent. The responses we received were rich and deep, broad and searching. We've posted many of them on this program's reflections page and we selected several of them for recording, which you can listen to on "Your Voices, Your Stories" page. One of them was submitted by Christy Davis from Knoxville, Tennessee:

Raised as a Baptist, I started to pull away from that faith when I began to realize the limitations it placed on me. I explored a variety of religions — everything from Judaism to Paganism — and came back to Christianity because it feels right for me. What I struggle with is how to give my seven-year-old son and three-year-old daughter the freedom to find their own path to God and to true spirituality as opposed to parentally forced religion. While both my children enjoy the social aspect of "church" and have asked the usual questions about God, I want them to find the peace I've found and have no idea how to encourage that.
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(19:25) Music Element

"Ave Maria" from Hush, performed by Bobby McFerrin and Yo Yo Ma


(19:42) Prayer Crafted by Students

The following prayer by students at Or Hadash congregation in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania is excerpted from a Sabbath prayer book by Rabbi Sandy Sasso, The Voice of Children:

When I listen to God,  I listen with my heart.  I hear trees swaying with their leaves.  God is all around.  I hear people praying from Australia to Peru.  I hear a voice coming out of nowhere.  I hear the love of people.
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(25:00) Music Element

"Sonata in B flat, K. 378 — 1. Allegro moderato" from Sonatas for Piano and Violin, composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart


(25:16) Reading from God's Paintbrush

The following passage is excerpted from Sandy Sasso's children's book, God's Paintbrush:

My class went on a hike the other day.  We climbed to the top of a mountain.  and I shoulted H - E - L - L - O!  I heard a voice call back          H - E - L - L - O!  It sounded just like my voice —  only far away.    My teacher said, the sound I heard  was an echo.  It was fun to hear our own voices —  We kept calling out, and the sound  from space kept calling back.    I wonder what God's voice sounds like.          Is it deep and gruff?          Is it soft and gentle?          Is it loud or quiet?  I think, God keeps calling out and maybe  we are the sound that calls back.          Maybe people are God's echo.            How are you God's echo?            What does God call us to do?
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(26:00) Music Element

"Hush, Little Baby" from Hush, performed by Bobby McFerrin and Yo Yo Ma


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(37:48) Music Element

"One More Day" from Music for the Motherless Child, performed by Martin Simpson and Wu Man


(38:05) Voice of a Taoist Father

In preparing for this broadcast, we asked listeners and readers about how they are experiencing and addressing questions of spirituality as a parent or grandparent. The responses we received were rich and deep, broad and searching. We've posted many of them on this program's reflections page and we selected several of them for recording, which you can listen to on "Your Voices, Your Stories" page. One of them was submitted by Neil Malley from Anaheim, California:

When my kids were younger I was more focused on imparting my spiritual tradition, Taoism, to them. We'd have some ceremonies, read from the Tao Te Ching, meditate, or do some simple Chi Gong. It became obvious to me very quickly that they weren't "into it." So gradually I stopped forcing them and just tried to be a good example without formally teaching them anything. I came to realize that they needed to find their own way which may be different than mine. They have their own souls and shouldn't have to follow in my footsteps. This was very liberating for all of us. Now that they're older, they've turned out to be great human beings with mature and balanced personalities. I don't think I could ask for more that that.
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(41:35) Music Element

"Out of Egypt" from Come on Feel The Illinoise!, performed by Sufjan Stevens


(41:43) In God's Name

In God's Name, Sasso says, is the only children's story she's written that came at one time during the night. An excerpt from it appears below:

Then each person  who had a name for God  looked at the others  who had a different name.  They looked into  God's mirror  and saw their own faces  and the faces  of all the others.    And they called out  their names for God —  Source of Life —  Creator of Light —  Shepherd —  Maker of Peace —  My Rock — Healer —  Redeemer —  Ancient One —  Comforter —  Mother — Father —  Friends —  all at the same time.    At that moment,  the people knew  that all the names for God  were good,  and no name  was better than another.    Then all at once  their voices came together  and they called God  One.    Everyone listened.      Most of all,         God.

(43:35) Books on Spirituality and Children

For a list or recommended books on the the spiritual nature of children or children's stories, see Sasso's recommended resources page.

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(45:54) Music Element

"Stars" from Hush, performed by Bobby McFerrin and Yo Yo Ma


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(48:59) Music Element

"Why, Oh Why?" from Songs To Grow By for Mother and Child, performed by Woodie Guthrie


(49:33) Voice of a Buddhist Mother

In preparing for this broadcast, we asked listeners and readers about how they are experiencing and addressing questions of spirituality as a parent or grandparent. The responses we received were rich and deep, broad and searching. We've posted many of them on this program's reflections page and we selected several of them for recording, which you can listen to on "Your Voices, Your Stories" page. One of them was submitted by Rebecca Neiger from Columbus, Ohio:

Becoming a parent "awakened" dormant spirituality in me. My first child has special needs — that, too, has propelled my "search." I returned to my Christian roots initially, followed that to the contemplative level, then actually found more resonance with Buddhist teachings. I still deeply value my Christian heritage and am actually raising our children in a Christian church. I have appreciated each step in my spiritual journey and mostly just want each of my children to pursue their own journey, regardless of where it takes them. I wonder if there is any information/research on spiritual development, as we have "stages" of psychological development. Ken Wilbur's work seems to deal with levels, but I think it applies primarily to adults. There do seem to be predictable ways that people evolve and one of those stages seems to be rejection of the faith of one's childhood. I'm wondering if it's possible to grow from an immature to a more mature level without what appears to be an inevitable discarding followed by a reclaiming of faith for oneself
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(51:58) Music Element

"Stars" from Hush, performed by Bobby McFerrin and Yo Yo Ma


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Voices on the Radio

is rabbi of Congregation Beth-El Zedeck in Indianapolis and author of many children's books.