Posted by KidSpirit Online on June 8, 2017

By Gracie Griffin in the KidSpirit Simplicity and Complexity issue.

Prayer is the limbo between the serenity of accepting the world’s chaos around you and the challenge of pursuing stillness in your heart. I am a Quaker and so I pray.

But I am a person, too, and that in itself leads to prayer. We all pray, whether religiously based or not. Our wishes, our reflections, our thoughts that are larger than ourselves, our issues of morality—all these and more are forms of prayer. And yet wars have been fought, countries have been formed, relationships have been built and broken, and whole eras of history have been dedicated to this one thing.

Prayer, the mission for a personal sense of rejuvenation and reflection, is both the most complex and the most simple action for humans. We are drawn to it, it becomes the home of our soul, no matter what spiritual practice we subscribe to. And yet I believe that it will never be solidified or defined, because I see prayer as a living, breathing entity of its own creation, which makes it so appealing to us mere mortals with harsh, vivid lives who need the hope of some higher power or concept to survive. It is truly liberating to be able to send my emotions out and believe that they are ending up somewhere instead of just being lost in the ether. So I see no sense in continuing to argue over the right way to pray. Maybe it's my background as a Quaker with a mission for peace that makes me want to end this age-old conflict, but I truly believe that we all have an individualized guidebook to God within ourselves.

A mere conversation is not enough . . .

Posted by KidSpirit Online on May 25, 2017

By Husnaa Hashim in the KidSpirit Human Dignity issue.

I don't want learning, or dignity, or respectability. I want this music, and this dawn, and the warmth of your cheek against mine.

— Jalaluddin Rumi, “A Thirsty Fish”

The Rumi quote above suggests a longing to live in the present moment, love your fellow human beings, and appreciate the beauty of today rather than worrying about the mystery of tomorrow. Upon walking into Temple Rodeph Shalom one particularly crisp autumn afternoon, I feel welcome to appreciate the beauty of today. The windows of this sanctuary are stained glass, allowing the slightest distillation of light to shine through. I do not know exactly why I am here, but I do know that we are placed where we are meant to be, at the time we are meant to be in that place.

Proceeding to the basement of the synagogue, the large group of high school students and mentors of various religious backgrounds and traditions form a circle. I take my place. During this particular session we go on to learn about food insecurity, de-poverty, and reformed Judaism. We make challah bread, my brown hands dipping into white flour and braiding a strand that will be baked and shared with the other students.

Little did I know this introduction . . .

Posted by KidSpirit Online on May 10, 2017

By Sharon Lin in the KidSpirit The Word issue.

I knelt on the silken scarf laid across the hardwood floor, my head bent in silent prayer to the spirits of my ancestors. I heard muffled sounds of chanting monks through the old music player at the side of the decaying red shrine.

There was no silence on Saturday morning for me. A little after the crack of dawn, my grandmother would rise and kowtow to our ancestors and pray for a better life for our family. It wasn’t that we didn’t already have a good life, but the promise of a better life was reserved for those who could make the effort to sacrifice an hour of their sleep. Only then could we acknowledge and appreciate the work of our predecessors who brought us into this world.

My grandmother spoke in her native Fujianese . . .

Posted by KidSpirit Online on April 20, 2017

By Anna Zimmer in the KidSpirit Climate Change issue.

I was not raised in a family where religion played a big role.

I have always known that both my parents were Christians at one point in their lives, but they drifted away and by the time I was born, they were both atheists, happy to have their Sunday mornings free of commitments. When I was in elementary school, my mom started going to a church in my town.

I didn’t find out what kind of church it was . . .

Posted by KidSpirit Online on April 5, 2017

By Fareeha Shah in the KidSpirit The Nature of Truth Issue

Religion is truth.

Imagine standing at the precipice of a cliff, hearing a voice telling you to dive headfirst into the abyss before you. It is an abyss of uncertainty. It is an abyss fraught with the unknown; all the horrors and fears and perverse aspects within the crevices of the human imagination lie within it. The voice compels you to jump against your will. Then you see a light. You do not know where this light is coming from, nor do you know if you can trust it. You know none of these things. What was once darkness is now illuminated, flooded with brilliance. All at once you can see. All the happiness and delight and delirium and pain and heartache and misery stand before you. Suddenly, you are no longer afraid to jump.

Life is about searching for truth . . .

Posted by KidSpirit Online on March 20, 2017

By Chris Woods in the KidSpirit Happiness Issue

I was baptized into the Roman Catholic Church. Shortly after I was born, my family moved and we became parishioners at a Byzantine Catholic Church — Ruthenian Byzantine Catholic to be precise. Ever since I have been brought up in that tradition, and my views of the world have been deeply influenced by it.

Very few people even know of the beautiful tradition I grew up in, so here is its history: A few centuries after the founding of the Christian Church, two different traditions developed in the East and in the West. These traditions gradually grew further and further apart until they separated from each other completely around the 11th century. Though long foreseen, the split occurred when the West added to the Creed that the Spirit proceeded from the Father and the Son (added portion in italics) without consulting the East.

A few more centuries passed . . .

Posted by KidSpirit Online on March 2, 2017

By Olivia Bailey for KidSpirit's Happiness issue.

It’s Thursday, the best day of the week, no question. Thursday is the day my mindfulness group meets, which means that at 11:15 a.m. I get to leave my classes and escape the overwhelming social life of a 12-year-old. Instead, I spend 30 minutes with my amazing mindfulness teacher, Mrs. Parr, doing things that actually make my life better in so many ways.

Mrs. Parr opens calm.com, our favorite meditation website, and we do a five-minute mindfulness exercise by sitting quietly and paying quiet, nonjudgmental attention to different parts of our bodies. It only takes five seconds for me to feel absolutely calm and centered. Mindfulness is being in the present moment, on purpose, without judgment. By the time I open my eyes, five minutes have passed and I can’t even tell. That’s how great it is.

It usually takes me a few moments . . .

Posted by KidSpirit Online on February 15, 2017

By Ariana Resauladin for KidSpirit's The Soul of Gender issue.

I’m a 12-year-old girl who has grown up in a community of Bahá’ís.

It is really astonishing to be a part of a religion that is not common around New York, or any place, actually. There are only about five million people that are documented Bahá’ís. Bahá’ís believes that God is one, man is one, and all religions are one.

The Bahá’í faith was established in Tehran . . .

Posted by KidSpirit Online on January 27, 2017

By Nathan Zhang for KidSpirit's Heritage issue.

I still remember walking down a dusty country road in the Chinese city of Chongqing early last summer with my dad, my little brother, and my grandmother. We were walking toward a cemetery lined with graves of the forgotten.

A car rushed past, and the sun sent waves of heat down upon us. Far ahead was a shop. We walked closer and closer until we were right next to it. My grandmother spoke in the Sichuan dialect and said, “We’ll take five incense sticks and two of each paper money.”

After we bought the goods . . .

Posted by KidSpirit Online on January 16, 2017

By Samarth Jajoo for KidSpirit's Heritage issue.

From a young age I was taught to stand up for my beliefs. More importantly, I was taught to appreciate diversity.

We can choose to appreciate and tolerate the beliefs of others, along with honoring our personal beliefs. I have grown up with friends from different religions like Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam, and have always valued the friendship and meeting of minds over religion.

My family is very devoted to God. . . .

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About This Blog

Young people are brimming with vision and prophetic wisdom. This blog features 11- to 17-year-olds in deep and often surprising explorations of spiritual life. Their original writing and artwork was first published in KidSpirit, the sole spiritual magazine by and for global youth. Their words call us to approach eternal questions with wonder. More