Pin It
Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Teaching My Child to Find Spirituality in Nature

By
Mother and daughter in nature via shutterstock

The past four years feel like a whirl of change with pregnancy, birth and learning how to be a mother. It has been a time of discovery as, little by little, I learn who this beautiful child is that with whom the Creator has graced me. Before Amrita was born, I would often reflect on what kind of mother I felt I naturally was and what kind of mother I would strive to be. Then, once Amrita was born, I was thrown into a storm of diapers and night feeding as I attempted to navigate my way through this new and uncharted land, bleary-eyed, yet elated. All other concerns merged into the background.

 

Amrita is now almost four, and I can finally catch my breath a little bit. In place of running after her and making sure she does not trip or put everything in her mouth, we now walk hand-in-hand through our gardens, sit together and study a fallen seed and discuss how it might grow to create new and vibrant life. Parts of myself that felt long lost in the whirl of mothering have slowly begun to resurface, and I feel stronger and more grounded than I have in quite some time. I think Amrita might feel this way about her life as well. She is now used to being in her body and can grasp the world around her in a way that was previously unavailable.

 

Three is a magical age. The child has come into its own and offers a glimpse into the person they are growing into. It is also the age when they begin to question the world around them, how things work and why things are the way they are socially, biologically and emotionally. The concept of beauty, magic and enchantment become a reality to little ones.

 

As a child, I was always very enthralled with stories of magic, fairies and mysticism.  As I got older, I retained that sense of wonder when connecting with nature. Amrita has reached this age of discovery and play within the mysteries of existence, and I am so excited to share this with her.

 

I feel that now I have the space and calling to open up other sides of mothering, such as introducing and sharing feelings, concepts and aspects of spirituality and beliefs. I don’t ever expect my daughter to believe what I believe, but as I mother I will share my views on the world and spirituality and she can then create her own ideas.

 

Amrita and I sit cuddling and looking around as spring bubbles up and blooms all around us. We breathe together in the garden and sense the rhythms of nature. At the beginning of winter, we moved into a new home, and the entire family has been enthralled with watching our home come alive—we take joy in being part of this process. At our local children’s museum, there is a sign in the garden that reads, “Nature never hurries, yet all is accomplished.” I try to remember this when rushing Amrita off to school in the morning and as I balance work with family life.

 

I have for many years looked to nature as a base of my spirituality. The growth of new life and meditation within the peaceful embrace of nature brings a stillness to my meditation equal to nothing else. It is through nature that I feel most connected to the Creator. My Guru, Paramahansa Yogananda, says the following about the mother aspect of God:

 

“Nature with her diamond-dazzling stars, the Milky Way, the flowers, birds, clouds, mountains, sky—the countless beauties of creation—is the Divine Mother. In Nature you behold the mother aspect of God, full of beauty, gentleness, tenderness, and kindness. The beauty in the world bespeaks the creative motherly instinct of God, and when we look upon all the good in Nature, we experience a feeling of tenderness within us—we can see and feel God as Mother in Nature.”

 

 

I will look to nature and the Creator to guide me through mothering. We are all part of the Creator as we play the part of the ‟Mother Aspect of God”—creating new life and learning its needs, rhythms and individual uniqueness. As in nature with its countless species, our souls and our children’s souls are unique, and each child requires her own flow and has needs for growth and nurture from her parents.

 

To teach a child to cherish nature and see herself within nature’s majesty and beauty and to understand the cycles of birth, life and returning to the Creator are valuable learning tools. As a society, we have largely wandered too far from our home and must return if we are to be able to continue living on this planet.  My work as a filmmaker and writer is largely on this subject. As a mother I will expose my children to these ideas and teach them the beauty of respecting their home and roots in nature.

 

Recently our family has embarked on another way of connecting not just our souls, but our physical bodies and health to nature. First, let me tell you, I am the biggest nature lover, but my thumb is not at all green.  I lived in small New York apartments for years and managed to keep a house plant or two in a semi-state of health, but not much more. I have always longed to grow my own food, but until now, I did not think I could do it. My cousin introduced me to the world of hydroponics—a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions in water without soil. You can fit many more plants into a smaller space and do not have to water the plants every day or guess how much to water them (this has been one of my biggest challenges in the past). Eventually, we might add a fish tank to the system, which would make a self-sustaining little ecosystem as the fish waste add nutrients to the plants.

 

Amrita was very excited about growing our own food, and together we planted the seeds that first grew in our bathroom until they were large enough to be added to the hydroponics system. Many times a day we would inspect the seeds together, and the look of joy on Amrita’s face as she began to grasp what the seeds were to become was so magical. We also sought out some larger organically grown plants from the farmers market, as well as clippings from my cousin’s plants, and added them to our system. We now make morning and evening pilgrimages out to the greenhouse to see our little plants develop. Without fail, we are all filled with a sense of wonder and joy upon entering and observing the plant’s rapid growth. I do not know if it is in our DNA or simply in our spirits, but I have found growing our own food to be one of the more satisfying things I have ever done. I love how Amrita is now connecting with where her food comes from. I am hopeful that this enthusiasm with growing food will open her up again to eating things that are green and seeing herself within the beauty of nature.

© 2013, Alessandra Dobrin Khalsa. All rights reserved.

More Great Stuff You'll Love:


The African Guide to Co-sleeping

10 must-read tips on co-sleeping from Africa

Language Resource Library for Raising Bilingual Kids

The most comprehensive list of language learning resources

How I Reclaimed My House from My Mother-in-Law

A whole year of arguing in the making

10 Best World Maps for Your Children’s Room

Because every little global citizen needs a map

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Alessandra Dobrin Khalsa was raised in New York and Amsterdam. She is a filmmaker and writer, and a co-founder of SeeThrough Films and Prana Projects. Alessandra lives in Santa Fe, NM, with her daughter Amrita, stepson Siri and her husband Ditta. Their approach to parenting draws on their backgrounds of Sikh tradition and yogic technology.

Leave us a comment!

1 Comment
  1. CommentsJohana   |  Wednesday, 24 April 2013 at 10:44 am

    This article is so timely! my little one is turning 3 today and we went to our favorite gardens to enjoy the nature and savor our time together. We always connect in so many ways when in nature.









Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail.
Or leave your email address and click here to receive email notifications of new comments without leaving a comment yourself.

Get weekly updates right in your inbox so you don't miss out!



Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get

Travelling with children, while definitely more of a mission, contradicts the old saying that “life is about the journey, not the destination.”

A Diverse Book for Preschoolers in Celebration of Multicultural Children's Book Day

A book that honestly and simply celebrates the every day diversity that children experience.

Why My African Feminist Mother Gave Me the Identity of My Father's Tribe

She gave me an identity so different from her own.

2 Children’s Books about Jamaica

Explore Jamaica with your child.

Costa Rica with Kids: Two Weeks of Family Travel

Two weeks of Pura Vida in a country with so much to offer families.

Should I Worry about My Child's Accent in Her Foreign Language?

See why Dr. Gupta takes offense to this question and where children learn accents from

How to raise trilingual kids when exposure to Dad's language is limited

My kids only get 1-2 hours of the minority language per day-help!

What Cultural Norms Around Bare Feet Taught This Mother in Guatemala

Her baby's bare feet ended up being a lesson on poverty and privilege.
Hi Kim! I am so glad that this article was useful for you and made you feel validated as a parent. It's not often in this judgmental world of parenting we get that, right?! That's the main reason...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
I love reading your work. I can olny imagine what it would be like to have such beautiful customs and true community. I understand why it is so very very important to keep these traditions alive. Be...
From No Kids Allowed: How Kenyan Weddings are Changing
Your mother in-law seems somewhat reasonable. Many Chinese Mother In-laws are not. In their scenario, they would be number 1 to the child and you would be number two. Many want to have a bond closer...
From How My Chinese Mother-in-Law Replaced my Husband
I think Konstantina is actually responding to what is probably more familiar/praised/or preferred socially as well. I was an English teacher in Poland with a distinct accent. I struggled to get Engl...
From Should I Worry about My Child’s Accent in Her Foreign Language?
Noor Kids' title "First Time Fasting" is another great rea...
From 6 Favorite Children’s Books about Ramadan
This article was shared in a community I run to connect globetrotting parents and everyone LOVED it. You should join us! We all relate to your experience. Many of us, including me, are in the same b...
From Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get
Please help: I Love my wife and my son. I am also EXTREMELY involved as a dad. I had to move to china ( in a tiny tiny town) where I am the only foreigner so that my wife can take over the family bu...
From How My Chinese Mother-in-Law Replaced my Husband
Thanks for writing this!! My baby is 7 months, and I love having her sleep in my room. I don't mention it too often to people who have had kids because they seem a little judgy on it. So tonight I...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
Honestly, it looks like the author married into a very backward and old fashioned family. Not stimulating children's curiosity, differences between boys and girls, and women slaving in the house, wh...
From French versus Italian Parenting in One Multicultural Family

More Tradition and Parenting