Hudson Valley Parent

HVP December 2015

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12 Hudson Valley Parent n December 2015 "Recently my youngest daughter had an operation and we asked our extended family to lift her up in prayer," she says. "Knowing that her great-aunts, great-uncles and cous- ins were praying for her made her feel ever more loved and cared for. When she came through her operation doing well it built our faith that God answers prayers on behalf of others." The basis of religions are similar Many would argue that the es- sence of all religions is the same. For a parent seeking guidance from his or her spiritual tradition, it's hardly arguable, says Sean Jones, who in 2008 completed a three-year-plus meditative retreat at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra Buddhist monastery in Woodstock. own being in the here and now." He too, like Pastor Larson-Wol- brink, thinks in twos when it comes to religion and parenting. Spodek has two rules of "spiritual" par- enting, the first of which is simply stated: no hypocrisy. "You can't lead someone some- place you haven't been yourself," he says. "Go on that journey with your kids, and do it with integrity." The Rev. Lieta Singleton, the leader of the St. James African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in Beacon, cites daily prayer as a means of strengthening the bond with her two daughters, ages 26 and 7. That mother-daughter dialogue, she says, reinforces their individual and col- lective relationships with Christ. "As a parent, I try to make time each day to talk to my daughters about what happened during their day," she says. "Many times our conversations center around school, friends and even more personal is- sues. We incorporate those things as a part of our nightly prayers." Singleton adds that the prayer-driven bond extends through- out her extended family as well. GRACE AT HOME (Continued from Page 10) Sean Jones (r) with Buddhist teacher, Khen- po Karthar Rinpochet, brings the qualities of the religion into the home. Now the new father of a three-month-old daughter, Jones strives to cultivate Buddha-like qualities such as kindness and mindfulness, and recognizes that those qualities are inherent to nearly all spiritual traditions. "Everything that we learn in Buddhism, you can apply to raising a child," he says. "I view my daughter as my newest guru. We talk about caring for all beings, and now she's giving me an opportunity to put that into practice. "This is not separate from my spiritual practice," he continues. "It has helped my practice by making me more human." Spodek also finds that compassion and kindness in a daily gratitude prayer to God. Called "Modeh Ani" in Hebrew, the prayer—generally offered first thing in the morning— thanks the creator for returning the person's soul to them upon waking. "I love that framing," Spodek says. "It turns the question of 'Do you believe in God?' on its head and affirms God's faith in you. It's like, 'You've got another day. Go do some- thing wonderful. This is a gift.'" Being honest and attentive impacts your kids For those uninterested or unsure about spirituality, many of the prin- ciples shared here in the context of religion are universally applicable. Asked how his own spiritual practice has influenced his commu- nication with his children, Spodek reaches for a bowl on his desk with a handful of Legos inside. "This is what I've built," he says, picking up a simple Lego vehicle with four wheels. "If you want, you can use it just like this. But if you want to add more Legos and change it up, by all means do that." Jeff Simms is a freelance writer who lives in Beacon with his wife, son, and Biscuit the cat. Rev. Lleta Singleton of the St. James African Methodist Zion Church in Beacon (left), and Brent Spodek of the Beacon Hebrew Alliance both encourage daily prayer at home.

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