Beth Katz, founder and executive director of Project Interfaith, wrote this guest blog for momaha.com
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Though I am not a parent myself, I am a friend, relative and colleague of many parents of school-aged children.
Several have approached me because of my role with Project Interfaith to ask about available resources and best practices for raising their children to be spiritually healthy and self-assured, but not spiritually myopic. These initial conversations led me to see that parents today face a very different environment for raising children than parents of even a generation or two ago.
Not only do children in the U.S. these days live in one of the most religiously-diverse countries in the world, they are increasingly exposed to this diversity in their neighborhoods and schools, through the news media and online, and in popular culture. For children growing up today, this diversity is just part of their daily lives.
But this can present distinct challenges for their parents, who may not have grown up with such diversity and who live in a society where it is still, for the most part, taboo to openly and respectfully learn and talk about religious and spiritual diversity. And despite the glut of information available online, it can be hard for parents to know which sources are credible educational resources and which ones are not.
We at Project Interfaith are excited to partner with Momaha, Countryside Community Church, the Jewish Federation, Jewish Family Services and the Anti-Defamation League to provide a program that can help parents know how to navigate this topic with their children.
On April 11 at 7 p.m., we’ll be hosting Dr. Chris Boyatzis, who has focused his research as a scholar at Bucknell University on spirituality and child development. Boyatzis will highlight what research tells us about how children develop a spiritual identity as well as how they understand differences. He then will share suggestions for how parents, caregivers and others who work with children can foster healthy spiritual development in children while also cultivating an appreciation for those of other spiritual identities.
We’ve also invited local child and family development organizations to have booths at this event so that attendees can get connected with other educational resources on this and related topics. The program will be held at the Jewish Community Center, 333 S. 132nd Street, and is open to the public. On-site child care is available for a fee but you must register in advance in order to receive it.
Full details on this program are available at projectinterfaith.org or by calling the Project Interfaith office at 402-933-4647.
We invite parents, grandparents, educators and any interested community member to join us for what promises to be an educational, practical conversation about a very timely topic.
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