In NPR’s Speaking of Faith, Krista Tippett interviews Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso in an interview piece titled “The Spirituality of Parenting.” When considering religious uncertainty and the pluralism of American culture, coupled with the importance of providing our children with a spiritual foundation, Rabbi Sasso asks the question “how do we teach their souls?” She suggests that children are “little theologians,” asking big questions — something rather unexpected for parents unprepared to provide answers. According to Rabbi Sasso, children are actually comfortable without a clear answer, and tend to accept the mysteries of life. She suggests that children have ideas about God by age five, born with an innate sense of spirituality. The challenge for parents is straightforward: children do not always have a sense of language to give voice to what they are thinking or feeling. Rabbi Sasso considers what “language” ought to be used when children learn to express deeper spiritual questions. She discusses various “containers” of religion, moments to make concrete what is abstract. The spiritual nurturing of children is of primary concern in this interview. But while spiritual, the kind of nurturing tends toward the practical. That is, Rabbi Sasso suggests that familial responses, tradition, and ritual all serve to teach children significant life-lessons about human connectedness, helping them to learn the importance of questions rather than answers. Listen to the interview here.
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