Romeo has now officially moved up from the Baby/Toddler group at our church to the Elementary Overcomers Kids ( O'Kids) group and we celebrated all day on Sunday! His growth in spiritual education is just as important as his growth in academics to me and here is why.
I was raised in the church and as I continued to grow into an adult, I began to question my beliefs because some experiences in the church didn't leave me with "good feelings". Over the past week I've seen #ChurchHurt all over my social media feeds. Many of the stories that I've read were heartbreaking and extremely disturbing. The hurt that many of us have experienced shouldn't go unnoticed but I do believe that the other side of the story which reflects the positivity of a spiritual home should be told.
Many of today's ministers are spiritual innovators and really symbolize a shift from the "old school religion" mentality to one that is grounded in true spiritual practices.
They admit they are not perfect.
They admit the pain, sin, and trials that they've experienced in their life that have led them to be better people.
They admit that the old ways of leading churches were not all positive.
Having spiritual leaders admit their wrongdoings and failures makes me want to follow them more because I realize that they are human just as you and I. These are the leaders that we should identify with and follow because they are trying to do good despite negative experienced faced in their own personal lives.
When moving to North Carolina, I made a decision to get back active in church because I felt a serious void in my life. After exploring several options, Romeo and I decided on World Overcomers Christian Church in Durham, NC. This decision was made so simple due to the love that Romeo expressed for the church. When I picked him up from children's church on our first visit, he didn't want to leave. He talked about bible verses and everything he learned the entire way home from church that day and that's all that it took for me to decide that we were in the right place.
Now believe me, I know that "religious institutions" can cause serious damage in communities if they are not led by the right people but I strongly believe there is a difference between a religious institution and a spiritual home. What Romeo and I have is a spiritual home and below I have listed 3 reasons why raising Romeo in a spiritual home is so important to me and will positively impact my son's life!
1. The Bible has Life Lessons that Build Great Leaders
While many debate about the content of the Bible. There are many life lessons and thoughtful principles that can be applied to how one choses to live a successful life. Romeo learns from watching and hearing about others and following that example. I want to expose him to stories of people who gave their all, lead with purpose, and loved in spite of. I value lessons that the bible teaches like do good unto others as you would have them do unto yourself, be fair and just, love and forgive, learn and seek wisdom... Although, I would never let my religion or faith cloud my ability to be a leader of people with diverse backgrounds -- keeping thoughtful principles from my spirituality at the core of who I am has made me a remarkable leader and I want that same result for Romeo.
2. Building a Village to Help Raise Your Child
Parenting is not something anyone can do alone. Romeo has a loving father and family who reside in different states which leaves a majority of the parenting to me. Our church has mitigated the effects of a distant family by befriending both Romeo and I. We have been invited to dinners, they have volunteered to watch Romeo, invited Romeo to events, and so much more! They have aided in creating a family away from home for us. We have met so many people from all walks of life at the church and they have served as role models for us as well. I couldn't imagine a better place for Romeo to find people to look up to. Church has also taught Romeo about peer relationships in our "village". He has a group of friends that he has grown with over the past 2 years that come from diverse backgrounds that will help him grow to an amazing young man.
3. Faith = Fulfilling Life
I want Romeo to have strong faith because I know faith will provide the comfort, peace, and motivation for him to persist when life doesn't go as planned. Research has shown that having faith gives longer life expectancy because people with faith are able to deal with stressors in a productive non-detrimental way. When hardships occur, faith is the one thing that keeps many healthy mentally and physically. Having faith will keep Romeo grounded and secure in himself and allow him to live a happier and more fulfilling life.
In conclusion, Religion represents such a diverse group of beliefs. No matter your background or experiences, I honestly believe exposing your child to spiritual practices that you believe in will make them an amazing human being!
In May, 2016 I decided to get baptized & it was the best decision I could have ever made. It's never too late to start your journey in magnifying your spiritual health!