Last night I attended an excellent presentation about Spirituality and Parenting, hosted by Krista Tippett, host of the public radio show "On Being" (formerly, "Speaking of Faith"). Tippett’s guest was author and Buddhism guru Sylvia Boorstein (Happiness is an Inside Job). The conversation between these two women, both experienced parents, was refreshing and helpful. I bought tickets to the event to surprise my wife for Valentine’s Day—since we have a 10 month old son and both hold graduate degrees in theology and ministry I thought it was an appropriate gesture! She, too, found the discussion fruitful.
A spirituality of parenting is tough to pin down, but the perspective last night focused on maintaining equanimity in the chaotic and sometimes mundane life of parenting. Boorstein posited that spirituality in the life of a busy parent does not look the same as it does for someone who has time to meditate every morning. Sometimes a parent expresses spirituality by lovingly folding towels, in other words, doing something that those familiar with Ignatian Spirituality would appreciate—finding God in ALL things, especially in the stuff of our everyday lives.
One thought that occurred to me last night was that I could not recall much written about the topic of spirituality and parenting. Perhaps it is not in vogue right now, but there seems to be a “spirituality of” everything else from cooking to running to collecting stamps. There is even an “Idiot’s Guide” to spirituality, but very little written, at least as far as I know, about parenting in a spiritual context.
Interestingly, there are a slew of books written about finding the humor in parenting—from Bill Cosby to Andy Borowitz’s recent book, The Good Enough Baby: Settling for Little Miss Adequate. I suppose that focusing on humor and giving parents permission to laugh at themselves is a spiritual exercise—it could be exactly what the worn-down mother or father needs in those moments when it seems like all energy and patience is tapped out.
I would like to ask readers of this blog who are parents—how do you feed your spiritual life? Are there resources out there that could help faithful parents pursue a spiritual life in the midst of dirty diapers, teething rings and sleepless nights?