Ep. 130 – The Benefits of Spirituality for Kids with Jon Ogden

by | May 31, 2022

Ep. 130 – The Benefits of Spirituality for Kids with Jon Ogden

by | May 31, 2022

The Fresh Start Family Show
The Fresh Start Family Show
Ep. 130 - The Benefits of Spirituality for Kids with Jon Ogden
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LISTEN & SUBSCRIBE

Today on the Fresh Start Family Show, Wendy and Terry interview Jon Ogden, a university instructor, instructional designer, writer and father.  

Jon has taken his experience and interest in wisdom literature from around the world to create a resource for families called Uplift to help build a better community, alongside his spouse, for his two sons and other children throughout the world.

The focus of the conversation today is on spirituality and how spiritual development through the early years of life provides a protective health benefit, reducing the risk of depression, substance abuse, aggression, and high-risk behaviors for children.

Three things you’ll learn about by tuning in: 

1) Spirituality matters and is undervalued today. 

2) There are practices, both inside and outside of religion, that help kids nurture their sense of spirituality. 

3) By making spirituality a focus at home, parents help their kids develop better well-being (and develop better well-being themselves!)

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Episode Highlights:

  • How and why Jon started Uplift
  • Emerging science on spirituality
  • The impact of spirituality on behavior
  • Freedom and connection in the home
  • Why spirituality matters
  • How to make spirituality a focus in the home

Resources Mentioned:

www.upliftkids.org

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Uplift Kids on:

Instagram

Fresh Start Family 5 Day Summer Challenge

Fresh Start Wellness Collective


Not able to listen or want to read along with us?

Here is the episode transcript!


Well, Hey, there families at This episode is brought to you by the Fresh Start Parenting Challenge, which is our free five day mini course designed to empower and support you as a parent, to help you understand the root causes of misbehavior. And the good news is, is that it starts soon. You can head to freshstartfamilyonline.com/freechallenge to save your seat now.

Wendy:

Well, Hey there listeners, I’m so excited that you’re here for a new episode. I’m your host, Wendy Snyder, positive parenting educator and family life coach.


And we’ve got Terry with us today for an interview, which is exciting. Terry, isn’t always with me, but he’s here today. And we had the honor of interviewing John Ogden from a company called uplift that Terry and I are really digging what they’re doing in the world. So I thought I’d tell you a little bit about John before we jump right into this conversation about The Benefits of Spirituality for Kids. So John Ogden earned his master’s degree in writing and his bachelor’s degree in literature. And he’s worked as a university instructor, instructional designer, and a writer he’s coupled all of 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.

So at uplift, which, which is a company he co started, that you’ll hear us talk about today. He’s taking this interest in wisdom literature from around the world to help create a better community alongside his spouse and his two sons. So I hope you enjoy this episode where, like I said, talking about the importance of spiritual health for kids in the vein of the work of Lisa Miller, professor of psychology at Columbia university. He’s going to talk a lot about her work in this episode and just how cool it is to learn about the emerging science showing that spirituality is essential for wellbeing. So I’m excited for you to listen

I hope that you love this chat and go give uplifts some love. I think what they’re doing is really cool, and I think so many families can benefit from taking part in really what they’re encouraging families to dive into. So without further ado, help me welcome John Ogden to the show.

Stella:
Well, Hey there, I’m Stella. Welcome to my mom and dad’s podcast. The Fresh Start Family Show. We’re so happy you’re here. We’re inspired by the ocean Jesus and rock and roll and believe deeply in the true power of loving kindness together. We hope to inspire you to expand your heart, learn new tools in strengthen your family and enjoy show.

Wendy:
Well, Hey there, families and welcome a new episode of the fresh start family show. We are here today with John Ogden. Welcome John.

Jon:
Thanks for having me.

Wendy:
Yes, listeners. We are going to be talking today about The Benefits of Spirituality for Kids, and we’re excited to get to know you, John, will you get us kicked off a little bit with just more about your story, about who you are, how many kids do you have? What made you create your beautiful company? All that good stuff.

Jon:
Sure. I have two kids. They’re both boys, 11 and seven, and I’ve been very excited to explore parenting and the very daunted by the challenges of parenting is just a surprisingly difficult task. And so been very interested in acquiring more and more resources as I’ve learned like, oh, this thing, isn’t easy. I’m going to meet a lot of resources. And one book that I think we’ll dive into over the course of this conversation that has been really foundational is called the spiritual child by a psychologist at Columbia university.

And she talks about the importance of spirituality. So I’ll just, I’ll just note that here, because this angle of spirituality has been really alive in trying to figure out how to raise my kids in such a way that when they eventually leave the nest, they have like ground to stand on. They have like some foundation. So my wife and I have been invested in this idea for many years and just eager to explore where it takes us.

Wendy:
Nice. We have an 11 year old little boy to our second is a little as a little girl, but we, we both have 11 year old boys. That’s cool. And tell us a little bit more about uplift and what you’ve created with it. It looks like such a cool, cool company, and I’m really excited to learn more about it today, but tell us a little bit more about uplift and when you founded it and all that good stuff.

Jon:
Sure. A group of us met in mindfulness program. So there’s this nine month mindfulness program where you met over the course of the nine months. We went four times and Portland, Oregon. And just to just practice mindfulness and also learned about adult development theory, like how, how human beings change the world views and just kind of grow to maturity. And we loved everything that we’re exploring in this mindfulness program, but the group of four of us, including me started saying like, well, how do we translate this as parents?

And how do we translate it for kids? So we were starting to get the, by the end of the nine months, like, okay, this is really fruitful. And we realized like it’s also very daunting to make this next shift for all ages. And so it led to a lot of questions and we started prototyping different ideas. And in the summer of 2000, what was it? 2020, we prototyped with six families. What like a spiritual curriculum, spiritual, emotional curriculum might look like. And then we took all the findings back re reiterated, and then we did it with another 36 families and in the fall.

And then at the beginning of last year, we did a soft launch. And at this point we have more than 90 lessons in our curriculum that help families explore different avenues of spirituality, including values, including emotional intelligence, including wisdom practices, such as singing, meditation, mindfulness, et cetera, all of it with the intention to have families have conversations about spirituality and wellness in the home.

Wendy:
Oh, so good. Well, I know what it’s like to build a membership and to build a video library lesson or a lesson library. And so congratulations on that bill, because it’s a lot, right. I know we have about 60 plus lessons sounds like you guys have 90, but you know, you just, I can, I’m sure you pour your heart into it. Right. And it becomes such a beautiful collection of all the things you’ve learned and that you do want to pass on to your children and that you do want to use in your home. So I know I’ve taken, I did. I know you guys have a little trial for uplifts, so I was like, I’ll pop in there and see what you guys have in there. And it’s really beautiful. The lessons you’ve created are amazing.

Jon:
Oh, thanks.

Wendy:
Yeah, absolutely. Okay. Well, let’s, let’s talk a little bit about how the emerging science shows that spirituality is essential for wellbeing. So I love that you have the science side to your guys’s work and you’ve done, or you reference a lot of research about that. So talk to us a little bit about spiritual development through the early years and why and how the research has shown that it provides a protective health benefit, including the risk of depression, substance abuse, aggression, and high risk behaviors. That’s pretty, that’s pretty rad.

Jon:
Yeah, it is. It’s exciting research and it is all emerging. You know, it’s going to take, it’s going to go whatever direction it goes in. But so far the science is very encouraging. So I mentioned Lisa Miller, she’s the professor at Clemson professor of psychology at Columbia university. And she in her book, the spiritual child talks about, you know, more than a hundred research papers studies, including survey research, including neuroscience research, that point to these consistent patterns of when kids have a very healthy, spiritual life, they are better able to navigate anxiety.

They’re better able to navigate through depression and they’re, as you said, less likely to engage in high risk behaviors. And so she explores why that is and what the practices look like. And then she followed up the book with another called the awakened brain. I think it’s just been six months, maybe 12 months. Since that book came out where she furthers her own research, her own neuroscientific research that shows that there are correlates in the brain. When somebody’s having a spiritual experience, there are correlates in the brain to just general wellbeing. They see like, oh, these are, these are mapped with each other.

And so they had people come into the, the, I don’t know, call it a laboratory. And they recited a time when they were scared and they recited a time when they had like a transcendent experience, a spiritual experience of some kind. And then they brought them back two weeks later and had them listen to that again. And they, they took both of those snapshots of the brain and then saw the differences in the different experiences that people were counting. And again, started to reconfirm that this is a reality in the brand that something very positive for wellbeing is happening.

When these, when this occurs, there are many other researchers, including Andrew Newberg, Michael Ferguson, out of Harvard, many others who are studying this, this area of spirituality in neuroscience.

Terry:
Oh, that’s fascinating. I think it’s also cool too. I mean, with what we do with Fresh Start Family, I was just also trying to just make the home and the family unit, like just as free to, to talk about subjects and not just kind of go through life as your own little, like, you know, self contained unit. So, you know, it, it sounds very cool how, you know, you’re, you’re creating something that breaks down barriers and creates even more of a connection too, between, and you know, parents and their children to be able to talk about any subject. And then also to be able to say, Hey, if we, if, if we make it more comfortable for them to have these types of experiences through their life, then it’s going to reduce all of these other things like you’d listed.

We want nothing to do with so very, very cool. And that’s gotta be exciting as, like you said, it’s all developing as you, you kind of see new things and see new patterns and we’re, you know, doing a way with, you know, a lot of the, the awful things that are going on in the world and kind of like more going towards the light, you know? So it’s interesting.

Wendy:
Yup. And I, and I love when we can get the science behind it to prove the effects. Right. Like, so that was one of the reasons when I learned to meditate years ago, that I ended up going with transcendental meditation as my choice because of the amount of research that they had. So that don’t, I don’t know, like they have spent, I mean, I forget, I want to say it’s like 50, 60 years, like thousands of MRIs on the brains to show every, everyone from just someone who is like normally stressed out to like soldiers who have severe PTSD, but how significantly the brain responds. And I think all meditation is great.

I mean, we have, you know, a prayer practice too, as a Christian family, but it’s also just a to supplement it, like have all these practices. Right. Which I think is cool about uplift. It’s like, you got all these options to build this into your daily life. But for me having the research behind transcendental meditation just really motivates me to know that it’s not just like, oh, this will be cool. If I can chill my brain out for a little bit. I’m like, no, I, I know for sure. But if, if, when I’ve practiced 20 minutes, whether it’s once a day or twice a day, that it’s like, I come out of that after 20 minutes. And I feel like I’ve had a nap. I feel amazing. It’s like a little restart, but I, I can imagine that there’s like connections that have been made in my brain that were not there before or healing that’s taken place.

So I love the science side of things. Yeah.

Terry:
I, it, it gives another avenue of like how to take care of yourself or another dimension, you know, I think, you know, you know, as parents are like, I’m here to educate my kids, but I think you’re also here to, to show what it looks like as, like, how do you take care of yourself? And I know Wendy does a great job of like, I just feel like I need to take 20 minutes and go meditate. Or, you know, it’s similar to like how you feel a certain way after you exercise. It’s like, you’re just adding all these layers and dimensions onto, you know, showing yourself and then modeling to your kids of like, here’s another way to take care of yourself. And it really just creates a more balanced life.


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Wendy:

Well, talk to us about why spiritual spirituality matters and is undervalued today. Because I think when I think of it, and I don’t want to hear from you, John, but like, I think of all the things that are important in the world, right?

Like careers and school and your home and your, your shelter and food and drink and all these things. And it does seem to me like spirituality is not really glamorized as much as all these other things, right? So talk to us about why it matters and why it’s undervalued today and what even what is, but let’s go ahead and define spirituality

Jon:
It’s a tricky word to define Lisa Miller talks about how she, she found 20 different definitions. And these are people who were studying it, but they’re, but they don’t completely agree with each other. I would say that the single thing that they do agree on is that it’s about transcending, the feeling of separateness. It’s about connection. And that can be transcending the feeling of separateness and, and finding connection to nature. And it can also be finding connection to God, the divine, whatever word somebody wants to use for it. It’s about feeling like there is something beyond just my ego and connecting to that.

And the reason it’s so important is because one day your kids, aren’t going to be under your, every watch every hour, right? They’re going to move out and they need to know that they have a connection beyond themselves. They, Lisa Miller talks about the field of love. And we do, we do to like a field of love is what is one way that she refers to it. That when they’re, when they face something that is traumatic and extremely challenging, when they’re out on their own, they can know that there’s still this field of love that can guide them through it.

Like one day they’re going to face likely like some aspect of nihilism, some aspect of hopelessness. And where are they going to turn when that happens? You know, hopefully they can still call us parents, but they’re, if they’re, if they know that there’s a sense of something even more transcendent, then in those moments, they still can say, okay, I’m I feel anxious right now. I feel stressed right now, but I can fall back into stillness. And I know that there’s something that’s going to guide me through this, even if I can’t see the end yet. And that’s why it’s so important because kids are increasingly the CDC just put out a report very recently.

It said the kids are increasingly seen saying that they feel persistently sad and they feel persistently hopeless. Those numbers have gone up tremendously over the past two decades, but especially past couple of years in part due to COVID in part due to social media, et cetera.

Kids are feeling this sense of separateness. So can you provide them with this foundation that says, even in, even in these moments where you struggle to connect with other people, you still know that there’s a field of love. You still know that there’s ground to stand on. So that’s, that’s why it’s important. The reason why it gets ignored is because we often are very busy as a society. And we often are quick to dismiss things that are vague or fluffy, or, you know, they don’t feel very rigorous. We think, well, that’s not, that’s not gonna make us money or that’s not real, you know, we were dismissive of intuition and intuitive approaches to life.

And that ultimately is hurting us. We believe at uplift now. So we say it’s, it’s important to have this spirituality as a foundational element in the home.

Terry:
Yeah, no, that’s very cool. And I think so kind of looking back on my own like, journey, like there is definitely, I was like a, a kid I, or, you know, maybe in, into being a teenager, I didn’t have a lot of that, which you’re speaking of. And as you know, nothing to do with my parents, I think of is more just like, I hadn’t really discovered that, or maybe I was like subconsciously looking for it, but I wasn’t actively looking for it. And then, you know, you know, over time it’s like, I, I definitely formed a connection with like the nature version of that and what that looks and feels like in my life.

You know, that being through the, you know, the ocean and then on the more like looking to God’s side of that, that’s like, you know, now having a practice to be able to pray with a friend or, you know, or even by my, by myself, if that’s what it is. But like, there is a tangible difference in how you feel and where like your foundation is that you describe when I have those things in my life on a daily basis, it is like, it’s the difference between, like you said, like I could drift and feel like very lost if I don’t have those two things, the nature and the, you know, the, the prayer and the acknowledgement that, that there’s something beyond me because, and when I do have that practice, it’s like, it’s, it’s like, I’m a different person I ran.

Yeah. And I think, you know, I, you know, what we always try to do is like, you know, I don’t want this giant gap in our kid’s life to have to like go down all of these roads that maybe I had to go to like find those and to ever, you know, while it’s okay to feel sad, it’s okay. If they’re inevitably going to, you know, have heartache in their life, but you just want to bring them as close to that, that thing for them as possible. So I, I can, I can definitely feel what you’re, what you’re saying, you know, in real life for me. Yeah. Yeah. I relate to all of that pretty much.

Wendy:
Awesome. Okay. John talked to us about how there are practices both inside and out of religion that help kids nurture their sense of spirituality. And I love this. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts, but we have, you know, a ton of listeners that happened to be of Christian faith. We have tons of other listeners that happen to be of no faith or Jewish faith or Muslim, or maybe families who have mixed marriage religions. Right. Like I know I recently realized just that’s, that’s let’s families that I want to pour into and, and support. And I know your work does that beautifully, but yeah. I feel like the, the families that have like a strong religious route, let’s say, I feel like they might know some practices, but like, even, even, even if you’re a family of religion of religious faith that maybe has like fallen away from your church, because you’re not really like, down with how they’re doing things, or you’re trying to deconstruct your faith.

I know there’s a lot of listeners who are kind of like, wait a second, let me just take a step back and, and like, really look at like what I want to get in touch with and what is important to me. But I just think it’s so cool that there’s tons of practices with your religion, of course. And then there’s also practices outside of your religion that you can do, but it all aids in a, in a child’s sense and a family sense of spirituality. So tell us your thoughts on that.

Jon:
Yeah. We found that one of the groups that resonates most with the kids is our mixed faith marriages, where they don’t have the same exact view on the specifics specific beliefs, but they both share an interest in wanting some spiritual ground, some, some ground to get their kids. And so at uplift, we, we take the view that, that we, we honor the world’s wisdom, traditions, whatever they might be, Christianity, Buddhism, stoicism, Hinduism, et cetera. And we say that there is value in these traditions. You know, you mentioned transcendental meditation that comes from the Buddhist lineage.

And so we say, oh, there’s value in that. And as you said, that science has, has confirmed that there’s value in that. And so if it is true, beautiful, or good, we honor it. We say, oh, this is great. You know, this, this is part of a tradition for a reason. And we should be able to feel comfortable integrating that in our lives because it can be beneficial. As far as specific practices go, mindfulness really is a central practice. And it look, it can look many different ways for very young kids. It likely won’t look like still sitting, you know, trying, trying to really force a kid to sit still, who is very young.

It’s likely not going to be the way to go about it. Mindfulness for a young kid is going to look like pointing out instruction, noting the world around them, noting their feelings. You know, you mentioned the beach going to the beach and noting the feeling that it evokes and like sitting in stillness with that feeling. So they don’t, they don’t just run past it. You know, there’s just a moment of noting, oh, wow. There’s something really transcendent and powerful in the, about the ocean. And just that, like having that land with a kid is setting them up for a mindfulness practice that might look like still sitting years down the road.

You know, when they’re in a teenager or young adult, they might say, oh, now I want to actually sit with this. Another is chanting or singing. So just whatever it might be, just the repetitive nature of, of music, you know, building over and over again, really trans transform and soften the heart. You mentioned prayer. That’s another one just connecting to the divine. And another is that we talk about is journaling. So having its own form of practice, where they just kind of record, not just the things that are happening externally in their lives, but the things that are happening internally and noting as they go back years later, like, oh, I’ve grown.

So in my home, you know, we we’ll pull out our old journals, my wife and I we’ll sit down and we’ll read through our old journal entries and my kids, I can’t skin, you know, they make fun of the state that I was in. Just kind of saying, oh dad, you thought that I can’t believe, I can’t believe that you were that kind of person. Right. But it’s a way to connect that, have them see like, oh, I have an inner, I have an inner 11 year old and they can say like, oh, you know, I can connect with my, with my dad because he, he too was an 11 year old at one point and line with that.

Another one that is really important for our family is lineage. So wrecking, knowing that you’re part of a family system, knowing your grandparents’ stories, your parents’ stories or great grandparents stories, your great, great grandparents stories. Many researchers have shown that kids who know their family’s stories are more likely to have resilience in life. And so in our lineage lesson, we pull through 11 questions for teens. We say like, here are the 11 questions that these researchers asked, do, you know, the stories and anyone that they don’t know, they can sit down in that lesson and talk through it together.

So they do know the stories by the end of the lesson. And they can say like, oh, I come from somewhere. And again, it’s part of the giving them a ground. So when they go out on their own, they have, they have the ground, another angle to that is creative lineage. So we all come from some bloodline, right. And our kitchen know those stories, but they should also know the stories of the people who inspire you the most, who are the people in history, or are alive, that you want to be sure that your kids know this person has meant so much to me in my life.

And you can really convey that to them. Tell the story of when you first encountered that person. One for me is like Ralph Waldo, Emerson, you know, just like really love his words. And so my kid’s middle name is Emerson based on Ralph Waldo Emerson. And so being able to have that connection and say like, Hey, this person really transformed my life with their words. And I want to share their words with you that that’s another form of connection. And so they get, they start to sense like, oh, okay, I have blood lineage. And I also have like creative lineage. That is part of my own identity. Those are a handful of the practices that we suggest there are many others that, that, that we explore.

The biggest thing is can you attune to the subtle feelings that the practice generates and more and more of those as time goes on?

Wendy:
Yeah. I love that. Well, and, and I love that how you guys lay it out is it’s all just suggestions that the family gets to choose. Right? Like you feel, what’s what feels good to you. But I, when talking about like one of the definitions you had, when you, or the thought pattern, like the, you said there’s many definitions, but when it comes to spirituality, it’s this idea of like the opposite of separateness, right? So like, it’s like connectedness. Right. And I love how a lot of times when you’re looking at lineage or even other religions than your own, it’s like a way to better understand and connect with your neighbors and people in your community. Right. Cause like, I feel like that’s a really lost art these days.

Like I feel like if you live in New York city, if you live in Los Angeles or like big cities, like London or stuff, I mean, there’s a lot of diversity. There’s a lot of that. But most of us that are living in non diversified areas, it’s, we’re not like teaching our children about just what other people believe. Right? Like you can be really firm in your own faith in your own religion. And I just think there’s such value in helping your children understand like, Hey, this is what Judaism looks like. And this is one of the things that is beautiful about their traditions, you know, about just like, I think your, your guys, when you talk about, I think I saw this was you talk about how like they’re so community-based right.

Like Judaism, like there’s there, there are like their community practices are just amazing. And for a family like ours, we’ve been part of an organization before called two faiths, one friendship where we would host a few Muslim families for Christmas Christmas and teach them all about our traditions. And then they hosted us at their, at their house for Ramadan. And they would teach us all about their religions or their religion and their traditions. And it was just one of my favorite memories when the kids were little, because introducing them and teaching them like, Hey, this is, this is what’s beautiful about like Ramadan is, oh my gosh, like the discipline and the, the joy and the connection they have with one another and, and their commitment, right.

Like is just beautiful. And it’s just, it was like I said, it was very special for our kids to get to know families of different face. And again, it just comes back to the connectedness factor. Like I think when we’re talking about spirituality and in a world that, I mean, it’s a hurting world, right? Like if we can be more connected with our neighbors and our colleagues and our kids at school, that may be different than you, but we’re not so different. Like we may believe something at the core of our religion might be a little bit different, but we’re not so different actually. We’re we have a lot in common and we are all interconnected.

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All right. Let’s get back to the episode.

Terry:
Yeah. And what Wendy mentioned too, like through that experience, I think there was also like, everybody just kind of like let their guard down. Cause normally, you know, you know, that type of situation like would kind of get people all tense or think that there’s going to be some debate or like some like, oh, someone’s going to try to talk me into thinking their way or like, this is going to like rub off on my kids or something. It was actually quite the opposite. Like, you know, we just like learned more about, you know, one another, he th there was just like, so much like respect and love.

And at the end of the day, like we walked away, like feeling like more connected and like, you know, the people that, that we look up to, like as a family unit are very, you know, bold in what they believe in, but they’re, they’re bridge builders and they’re connectors and, you know, people that can walk down any street in the world be in any group. It doesn’t have to be just there, like, you know, who they’re comfortable with and still

Wendy:
Like their Christian community. Right.

Terry:
And so like, you can, you can be very strong in, in your own beliefs, but like not scared of others

Wendy:
And respectful.

Terry:
Yeah,

Jon:
Yeah. Yeah. One metaphor that I like from it for this idea is a compass of the pint of compass that you use to draw a circle with. And the metaphor is that you can have one, one foot firmly planted and also explore beyond. So you, you have this, you have a space and a community and a set of beliefs, and you don’t have to move from those. And you can also be willing to go and have these experiences that you’re talking about. And every time that I’ve had a similar experience to what you’ve described, you know, whether it’s like the Harriet cushion at temple that’s nearby, or I’m a Quaker meeting, you know, anything like that, I always walk away feeling this deeper sense of connection that we’re talking about.

Like, oh, I’m, I’m part of a human family at our core. We’re, we’re trying to do our best, you know, to figure out a challenging world and a challenging life. And it’s just in livening to have these experiences.

Wendy:
Yes.

Terry:
The food is really good too. Yeah. I don’t want to tangent too hard, but like growing up, like I was super into like a hardcore music on the east coast. And there was like a sect of it that bunch of people just decided to become Harry Krishnas. And so I would go to like, these full-blown like punk shows like Harry Krishna temple, and like all these Krishnas with like, literally like feed us all lunch, have this amazing thing. And then like a few minutes later, people would be like jumping off of speaker stacks and flying around, like, and everything. And I just was like, so welcoming. I didn’t become a Harry Krishna, but boy, I felt like welcome. And I felt like connected.

And so I always have this, like, I don’t know this like point of like, when I saw that or encountered that later in life, it wasn’t like, Ooh, what’s that that’s weird. It was like, oh, no, these are just people. Like you said, like they’re, they’re going through their thing. And th this is kind of what they believe in and they make killer food and they invite us into their place and then let us do our thing. So yeah.

Jon:
A hundred percent.

Wendy:
Yeah. Such a good example. Yes. Oh my goodness. All right. Awesome. Okay. Well, let’s shift into talking about how by making spirituality of focus at home, parents help their kids develop better wellbeing and develop better wellbeing themselves.

Jon:
It is a shared exploration that you realize is that as a parent, we even hesitate to call what we’re doing. Lessons. We can’t think of a better word, but we know that’s not quite the right word, because as a parent, you’re not, you’re not there to sit them down and like feed them information. That’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about a shared exploration where, you know, psychologists have studied child development theories, and they know that at certain milestones, you should be saying these kinds of these things happening in a child, but there’s also an area of study called human development or adult development theory, which is to say that that process of developing doesn’t settling cap at age 18 or 21, you continue to develop as an adult and you develop as a parent.

And so you, you likely are a different person than you were five or 10 years ago. And you probably should be a different person than you were five or 10 years ago and have a different worldview. And so you’re, you’re developing and your kids are developing and it’s a shared exploration. And so a better word, perhaps in the lesson is conversation. You’re having a conversation together and a conversation should be, should have reciprocity where you might say your beliefs, and then you might listen to your kids, beliefs, and maybe beliefs. Isn’t quite the right word either. But like you might have your worldview and then listen empathetically to your kid’s worldview and it’s, and they will hopefully shift your view and you will shift theirs, right?

So it’s a shared exploration. And that attitude of openness is really at the heart of spiritual development, whatever age it is. So if you can keep that attitude of openness rather than, okay, I’m the parent, here’s the, here’s the set of things I can need to remedy your head, right? If you can keep away from that and just keep this attitude of openness and realize like, you know what, in this conversation I might change, even though it’s my kid talking to me, then you’re at a place where spirituality can really develop.

Wendy:
Oh, that’s so cool. Yeah. It’s like not being scared of hearing a different view of a holding space for someone and just developing that practice of, of all the things like this, this month, your guys’ lesson, or I don’t know if it’s for next month and we just got like a preview, but it’s about like, anxiety, like lowering anxieties, right? Like what do you do when you, when you have that pop up in life? And I guess I suppose certain people would have different opinions about what you can do, but have being able to listen to all the different things that you could do to help yourself. What is a sneak peek of that, of that lesson? I didn’t get a chance to look at it, John, but what is what’s, what’s kind of inside that one or what are some little things in that one?

Jon:
Sure. Our anxiety lesson explorers, how rather than try to shield your kids away from anything that causes them anxiety, you want to help them through the anxiety. So it’s not about eliminating, eliminating all the fears, all the possible things that could go wrong, because something is going to go wrong. Rather, you want to have them understand that when, when it goes wrong, can you be mindful of what’s happening in your body? And can you sit with those feelings? And can you recognize the wisdom of worry?

Not that you want to ever be paralyzed by worry or stuck in worry, but can you say, oh, my worry is trying to help me be prepared. My worry is trying to help me be safe and kind of honor the gift that that brings without letting it dominate the whole self, because it’s when it dominates a little self that your kid or adult is paralyzed and it becomes crippling. But when you can say, okay, I see, I see you worry, I see you anxiety. And I know what, you’re what you’re gifting to me.

And you have a place at the table, but it’s another place it’s not, you don’t get it. So it’s, it’s that process that you’re working through together, as a family saying like, okay, there’s a gift here. And we can sit with hard things and we can work through the hard things in this way.

Terry:
I love this. This sounds like just like the conversation I had about a year ago with my therapist. So I grew up yeah, grown up a version of this, but he was like, you know, same type of thing. It’s like, you’re not, you can’t like avoid the storm. He likened it all to like being a captain of a boat and like you’re out in the storm and he’s just like, you know, it’s going to be there. And yeah, there’s going to be another side of it. But he just was like, you bought a boat, grab a hold of the wheel. Like you’ve got this. And yeah, if there’s signals coming your way, then you just gotta be the captain and kind of read it, read them as they come. But so I th I just an analogy he used with me, but I liked your, your version too, when it comes to really, it’s better preparation for your kids to, to see it kind of read it so to speak or process it, versus just like you said, like try to like take away all the external, like potential causes.

Terry:
It’s like, it’s just not a realistic thing at all. And you’re not preparing them in the end

Wendy:
And to prepare in a calm time about that. Right. A lot of parents are reactive to it, right. So you’re like, oh no, my kid’s super anxious. Like we had a few years where tearing went through separation anxiety. And, oh my goodness. I can only imagine if we would have had like conversations beforehand about what anxiety is, what worry is all these things before, like he, he got separation anxiety between the ages of like four and six. So he might’ve been a little young, but say, I can only imagine if you were doing these practices and like you were having family conversations over ice cream, or your family meeting each week with the lessons that you guys provide and your kids are like, oh, we’re aware. And then they have a flare up when they’re eight, nine years old. And they’re like, oh, I know what this is.

Like, it’s nothing to panic about. My parents are going to panic. I’m going to panic. Of course, we’re going to work through it together. A lot of times with my clients, if there’s anxiety in the kids, there’s often anxiety in the parents. Right. So it’s like, they’re, they’re working together through it. And I love that, that idea, like the goal is not to avoid the triggers, but to not be not to react to the triggers in a way that disturbs, like the value of your life, that, you know, whatever. So that’s awesome. I love it. Yeah. Just being able to, to listen to others that have different views and again, not be scared of it, I think is just such an important thing in today’s society that we need more of

Jon:
A hundred percent.

Wendy:
Yeah. Well, good. Well, John, this has been amazing. Thank you for spending this time with us, tell us sinners where they can find you where they can learn more about uplift. And I don’t know if you’re going to keep having that two week crude trial, but that sure is nice to be able to hop in there and check out what you guys are doing. I’ve really enjoyed it. So tell us, tell listeners where they can find you

Jon:
Great. It’s uplift kids.org. And yeah, you can, if you come to the site, you can enter your email for a free lesson and we’ll send you a weekly insights as well. And then in addition, we have that two week free trial and we encourage people. Like if, if you do the two weeks and it doesn’t work for you, that’s totally fine. Like you can try it out two weeks and just see while the lessons are about and decide if it’s right for you.

Wendy:
I love it. One more question. I just thought of, I’m pretty sure I saw this in there, but you give ideas for kids of all ages, right? So like little toddlers, adolescents, teens, like you’re giving different ideas on how you encourage a conversation about each age group. Right?

Jon:
We do. So we have each lesson has a section for teens, a section for kids and a section for littles. Now we find that three and younger is pretty difficult to have some of these conversations with, but for instance, like in our anxiety lesson, our page, we have a print out page for every, every lesson has a printed page for littles or printout page for littles is like, these are the things I can do when I feel worried. And then a color won’t engage. And so that’s how for that age now, again, like a two year old, it’s going to be pretty hard to even understand that, but you could start it just, yeah.

Wendy:
Yeah.

Jon:
Four to seven.

Wendy:
I’m just going to read just a few of these so everyone can hear. Jon has, as we sign off, but under your foundations, you have lessons about your inner compass lineage, telling family stories, strengths, finding your individual purpose, growing up family time, kindness, gratitude, compassion, humility, forgiveness, mindfulness, grit, honesty. Self-compassion. These are all different lessons in the library. Curiosity, fairness, courage, play, practice, respect, giving emotions, anxiety, depression, anger, grief, shame, friendships. I mean, the list just goes on and on and on, but what a beautiful collection you guys have built. It’s just, it’s just awesome. So listeners, make sure you go check out uplift to go give them some love and just thanks for everything you’re doing in the world, John.

Jon:
Yeah. Thank you so nice to talk to you

Wendy:
For links and more info about everything we talked about in today’s episode, head to freshstartfamilyonline.com/130.

Stella:
For more information, go to FreshStartFamilyonline.com. Thanks for listening. Families have a great day.


All right, families, that’s a wrap. I hope you love today’s episode. As much as I loved recording it for you. I want you to head over right now and save your seat for the free, Fresh Start parenting challenge that starts on June 6th. This is your chance you guys to come hang out, live with me, ask me questions, learn with me for free. I cannot wait to bless you with education and inspiration and motivation on the positive parenting front. It’s going to be such a good week. Remember I only do this twice a year. So again, this is your opportunity to come hang out free with me to learn with me for free to ask me questions, all the things so head on over FreshStartFamilyonline.com/freechallenge to save your seat.

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