Spiritual Friendship For Children

“In human life nothing holier can be desired, nothing more useful sought after, nothing is harder to find, nothing sweeter to experience, nothing more fruitful to possess than friendship. For it bears fruit both in this life and the next, showing forth all virtues in its sweetness and in its strength destroying vice. It softens the blows of adversity and moderates elation in prosperity.

Without friendship there can be hardly any happiness among humans; they may well be compared to animals if they have no one to rejoice with them in good fortune or sympathize with them in sorrow, no one to whom they can unburden themselves in time of trouble, or with whom they can share some especially uplifting or inspiring insight.

Alas for anyone who is alone and has no one to lift him up when he falls. Without a friend one is indeed alone. But what joy it is, what security, what a delight to have someone to whom you dare to speak as to another self; to whom you are not afraid to admit that you have done something wrong, or shy of revealing some spiritual progress you have made; someone to whom you can entrust all the secrets of your heart and with whom you can share your plans.”

St. Aelred of Rievaulx

This quote is part of an essay I contributed to a project that I’m really excited to see born. It’s called “Wild Goslings,” and my small part was a piece on how we can encourage our children toward spiritual friendship and true listening.

If you’d like to learn more, you can watch the trailer below. (Gentle caution for those who are sensitive, there is a little “language”.) I think you’ll be as excited as I am.

Wild Goslings from Brandy Walker on Vimeo.

From Brandy: I believe that the younger we are, the more we intuitively understand the unfettered wildness of God. I believe that in some ways we have much more to learn from our daughters and our sons than they could ever learn from us.

For the past several years, I have been dreaming of putting together a massive resource for teachers and parents to help change the way we look at teaching our kids about God and spirituality. When I first started my blog, I was using imaginative prayer and reading to help my daughter, who was six or seven at the time, feel closer to God. She loved it. She used to request special exercises in which she would imagine she was with Jesus in her favorite places in the world. And I envisioned creating a book of spiritual disciplines for kids.