Connect with us

Awakening

Helping Children Understand Their True Selves: Interview with Author Kristin Gattens

Leena Lemos sits down with author Kristin Gattens to learn how we can talk to our kids about and support them in their spiritual path.

Published

on

As parents on a spiritual path, our practice allows us to raise the next generation more consciously. But how do we answer questions about our existence as souls that we’ve barely begun to understand ourselves?

I sat down with the author of NED: Who Am I Really?, Kristin Gattens, to learn more about her book series and how we can support our children on their spiritual path so they can stay connected to their divinity.

Q: Tell me about Who am I Really? and how it came to be from your work?

The idea for this book came into being about five years ago when Nicole (co-author) and I were living in Vancouver and both working really long hours in healthcare. Although we had completely different specializations (I was a mental health counsellor and Nicole was a palliative care nurse), we shared a lot of common experiences and observations, particularly in our work with children.

We noticed that regardless of their ailments, our patients all demonstrated the same underlying needs: to understand their purpose, to know their lives had meaning, to find clarity amid confusion, and to cultivate a sense of faith and hope. Nicole and I wanted to help meet these needs in a big way and yet felt so limited within the parameters of traditional healthcare. We became increasingly frustrated within our roles as it seemed like so much of our work focused exclusively on symptom management and this sort of just grew into a shared inspiration to create more holistic ways of supporting children with their health and wellness.

It is such a priority for us to help children understand their true selves and recognize that their existence matters, and so Who am I Really? was really born out of this intention.

Q: I’d love to hear more about the Ned series and its mission…

The mission of the Ned series is to educate young children and inspire their development in a compassionate, progressive, and empowered way. We hope to nurture the natural spirituality and curiosity of children and give conscious parents a tangible platform for engaging their children in open, heart-centered conversations and experiential learning.

In each story, Ned engages with a new mentor who helps him cultivate a deeper level of self-awareness and introspection. Essentially each of these mentors will represent the type of unconditional love, acceptance, guidance, and encouragement that all children need and many don’t fully experience.

Q: How can we talk to our children about spirituality?

Children can be very inquisitive when it comes to spirituality and this often inspires them to ask very profound (and sometimes difficult to answer!) questions. It is important that parents celebrate the curiosity of their children and answer these big questions with as much honesty and openness as possible. Parents might feel an underlying pressure to have all of the answers, but no one truly does! In fact, being transparent about what you don’t know is in itself a valuable opportunity to model authenticity and encourage children to be curious about their own beliefs.

There is a quote in the book that reads: “There are things in this world that aren’t well understood. We can’t pretend to know everything. That won’t do anyone good”. Through their own humanity and transparency, parents can teach their children important lessons about inclusion and acceptance by respecting the diversity of spiritual beliefs.

Children have an innate reverence for nature, for animals, and for the genuine care and compassion of others. Spiritual conversations can be woven into everyday experiences in nature, in creative play, or in being of service to others, where values and principles such as connectedness, equality, empathy, imagination, and sensitivity can be explored. Parents can also find books and movies with simple and thought-provoking spiritual content and initiate meaningful conversations after reading or watching. The recent Disney Pixar movie “Soul” is a perfect example of this!

Finally, children are often capable of understanding more than they are given credit for. Although it can be challenging for young children to grasp abstract concepts, by using simple, age-appropriate language parents can find inspired ways of helping their children create a sense of spiritual identity and find meaning in the world around them.

Q: What are some of the ways our children are most disconnected from their divinity?

Children are essentially conditioned out of their divinity. It is the role of parents, caregivers, and society to socialize children and guide their behaviour, but there are values embedded into this teaching that inadvertently disconnect children from their spiritual identity.

Human beings are hardwired for attachment because as children the love and acceptance of adults ensures our survival. Children naturally look for ways to gain the approval and validation of those around them, and many of these observations teach them strategies that move them away from their authentic selves. For example, when children are given praise for achievements and punished for mistakes, they feel as though love is conditional and learn to define themselves with misleading constructs such as “good” and “bad”. As a result, they begin to identify with false aspects of identity such as: appearance, intellect, interests, talents, relationships, etc., in an attempt to understand their place in the world and secure attachments with others.

Children can also be conditioned out of their divinity when their imagination, creativity, curiosity, and magical thinking are shamed. When children feel safe and supported to express themselves freely and explore the everyday miracles of the world around them, their divinity is nurtured and celebrated.

Q: What is your advice for the parent who is just waking up to their own spirituality yet wants to consciously support their children in their soul’s expansiveness?

Many parents put so much pressure on themselves and experience such guilt when they feel they aren’t meeting their own (sometimes unrealistic!) expectations. It is important that parents remember the beauty and simplicity of what it means to be spiritual. Spirituality is simply a connection to what gives us meaning and purpose in life. It is an awareness of something bigger than our own egos and an underlying need to become aligned with our own hearts and connected to all that surrounds us.

Parents can consciously support any child’s spiritual needs with openness, honesty, compassion, and a sense of wonder. Again, parents do not have to have all the answers! Regardless of the parent’s own spiritual unfoldment or sensitivity, so long as they can hold space for questions, encourage their child’s uniqueness, and communicate unconditional love, the child will feel safe and supported to expand.

Sometimes children may have spiritual experiences that fall outside the awareness and understanding of their parents. This is okay! Parents can (and should!) do their own research, reach out to others, and ask for help from trusted mentors if needed. Children do not necessarily need parents who have shared spiritual experiences or abilities. Children need parents who believe them, who will support them, and who will love them unconditionally.

Q: How do we help children navigate the complexities of existence?

The human brain is happiest when there are simple, logical, and predictable answers. In fact, we are hardwired to fear the unknown because our brains don’t know how to protect us from what exists outside the scope of our understanding.

When it comes to contemplating the complexities of our own existence and exploring the uncertainties of creation…let’s face it, there is a lot we don’t know. This is often something that many people fear, and we may observe individual and systemic attempts to mitigate this fear through close-minded, rigid, and intolerant belief systems. These attempts to control the unknown do not further our understanding but only create pain and suffering.

Parents who are able to model curiosity and a grounded presence empower children to navigate the complexities of existence by encouraging them to be open-minded and inquisitive. Children who are taught to embrace uncertainty and feel comfortable in the unknown will not only feel safer in their spirituality, but they will feel safer in their bodies and their emotions.

Get your copy of Kristin’s book, NED: Who Am I Really? here.

Leena Lemos is the Founder of House of Enlightenedhood, author, podcaster, and speaker. As a leading millennial voice in spirituality, Leena is on a mission to disrupt the current spiritual paradigm to make spirituality more accessible to every soul on this planet.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Awakening

Honoring Our Light and Dark Phases

On episode 1 of Spirituali-tea, Leena Lemos explores the seasonality of life with predictive astrologer Crystal B.

Published

on

Welcome to the first episode of Spirituali-tea with Leena Lemos! The intention of today’s talk show is to create a safe and light-hearted space to nerd out about all things spirituality and soul development.

About Crystal B.

Crystal B. is an expert professional astrologer working with clients all over the world. She is a second-generation astrologer and has been around astrology all her life. Her office is located in Montclair, NJ. As a public speaker, writer, teacher, coach, and Astro Therapist she has become a trusted source of astrological information. She is passionate about using astrology as a tool for spirituality, mental health, and mindfulness. Additionally, she specializes in Past Life Regression in connection with our astrological influences. Crystal develops and facilitates custom astrology events and works with prominent colleges, including Harvard, Barnard Columbia, and Rutgers.

Click here to buy your copy of Crystal’s New Book, Feed Your Moon, OR find it at your Barnes and Noble! 😉

See Crystal’s skins photoshoot here.

Continue Reading

Awakening

The Divine Energies

Natalia Santos shares a poem about leaning into Divine Masculine and Feminine energies.

Published

on

Imaged Sourced from Canva

Divine Feminine, Divine Masculine

The essence of divine energies,

Allow yourself to feel the energies, allow yourself to be.

Do not tin the energetic energies. Do not judge them, let them be.

Explore and understand the flows and stillness of femininity.

Exercise and explore the actions of masculinity. Allow them to merge, grow together, blend and infuse.

Be the creator spirit that you desire to be.

Pour yourself that glass of tea,

Watch how it pours into your glass. The flow of the feminine. The cup of the masculine.

The watery trickle of imagination, daydreams, and creativity.

To the grounding of the cup which hits the root. Ravaging roots circling into the ground.

We watch in awe. As they work together.

Continue Reading

Awakening

No. 3: Wait, No Fireworks?

Leena Lemos reflects on her “forced” spiritual awakening and how shadow work changed everything.

Published

on

The Spiritual Anthropologist is a raw, humorous, and inquisitive weekly column by Leena Lemos that explores the dance between the human experience and the spiritual being.


When I first began my journey, I spent almost four years trying to force a “spiritual awakening.” I wanted my spiritual gifts and I was done waiting for them. I visited all the crystal shops looking for the perfect stone to open my Third Eye. I listened to lightcode DNA activation binaural beats. I visited intuitive healer after intuitive healer, aching for someone to validate my spiritual existence.

Accurate portrayal of my conversations with spirit:

INT. LEENA’S BEDROOM – NIGHT

Leena sits in a lotus pose, surrounded by candles, crystals, and her latest oracle card pull. She huffs and puffs as she looks up to the ceiling.

LEENA

I’m ready for my spiritual gifts, uniiiverrrseeeeeeeee!

She opens her arms wide as she waits for the light beam to strike.

LEENA

K now. And now. Likeeeeeee now. Did you do it yet? Hello? Is this thing on?

The universe does not make a peep.

LEENA

Alrighty, then. I guess ya busy or didn’t get the memo. It’s fine. Time to keep searching.

THE END.

And I kept searching and pushing, but that spiritual activation, as I imagined, never came.

I thought my big spiritual upgrades would be accompanied by fireworks as my magic powers activated Captain Planet-style. I assumed my physiology would short circuit, causing a divine electrical surge to flow through my veins. I couldn’t wait to be that version of me, I always thought. That’s when I will truly be “spiritual.” That’s when everyone will finally see how worthy I am. That’s when all the hurt and pain will magically dissipate.

And then one day, I looked in the mirror and I didn’t recognize my own face. In trying to force a spiritual awakening I traveled even further from what I was actually searching for…self-love.

I was using my shallow form of spirituality to safeguard the young girl who built a Game of Thrones‘ size wall after high school trauma. I wanted outward recognition for the vibrant heart I kept hidden from the world. I wanted others to see my wise, cosmic, and claircognizant soul, so I could finally embody it in the “real world.”

I was ready to shine my light and was convinced it was only possible after a certain level of spiritual awareness.

After looking in that mirror, everything changed. When I turned inward, the painful truths and experiences that made me feel like I’m not enough began to bubble to the surface. I slowly began to accept that a complete universal makeover that is so divine it overpowers all of my wounds was just another escape from self-accountability.

I was caught in a limiting-belief paradigm that so many of us have fallen privvy to in the age of comparison culture on social media. And that’s the idea that there is a spiritual ladder to climb. That there is a pedestal that comes with a spiritual facade. That you are separate from your spiritual gifts. That you are separate from the universe.

I’ve worked through massive transformation this year. Massive loss. Massive burnout. Massive unlearning. Massive Healing. Massive Expansion.

Through doing the deep shadow work, I’ve seen first-hand the magic that happens when we alchemize parts of our soul that no longer serve us. It is not a gift we are given in lightning-beam form from the universe, but one we create sacred space for through our self-healing.

We are so capable. We are so powerful. We are the only ones who get to decide whether or not we grow. I’m still healing the remnants of shame that kept me from going inward sooner, but whether you call it ascension, raised consciousness, spiritual upgrades, awakening, the labels all agree on one thing: Our growth involves a perspective shift. But one you can’t see it until you’re on the otherside of it.

The truth is, most of the time, we have no idea this shift has happened until we’ve already unconsciously experienced it. But it’s the slow integration, when you are in complete universal flow, that is much more magnificent than Pomp and Circumstance.

The more I transform, the more peace I find in stillness. The more love I’m willing to give to myself and the world. The more joy I find in the present moment.

Our ego wants fireworks. It wants credibility. It wants recognition. Yet, our soul rising feels much more like a soft warm afternoon breeze. It’s light. Its fluid. It’s graceful.

I hope by sharing this reflection on my spiritual growth, you feel confident in just one thing: You are exactly where you need to be in this now moment. Celebrate it. Honor it. Send it love. Yet, don’t forget how entirely capable you are to make space for magic. The universe will not give you a pat on the back because you are already whole. You are already all that you’ve ever wanted to be.

Perhaps you just need to clean off your mirror to see it.

Continue Reading

Most Popular