From "Spiritual Intelligence: What We Can Learn From the Early Awakening Child." Used by permission.

Most religiously gifted children hanker for an occupied solitude. Their initial inspiration to lead a worshipful life often emerges as a sturdy self-authority. The inner actor longs for prayer, or wants time to contemplate, or gravitates to wise adults or other self-reliant children. Desires for engaged solitude direct the early choices.

I'm convinced that all youngsters (indeed, all people) are potentially reflective giants who seek out growthful recreation in their own way if their call to wholeness is respected. Please note that early awakeners heed their inner call without external support. Without approval. Indeed, the force and charm of their own righteous ideas is sufficiently refreshing. It sustains. Let's give these youngsters some air. It sounds harsh, but as a wise professor of mine insisted, "We adults, parents included, should nurture, support, and discipline only as needed. Then step out of the child's light."

Characteristics of Spiritually Intelligent Children

In youth, the spiritually intelligent share many qualities, not all equally evident in every child. We learn from observing young people that the chief characteristics of heightened consciousness are related to a perception of unity and include:

  • Acute self-awareness, intuition, the "I am"-power or built-in authority.
  • Broad worldview: see self and others as inter-related; realize without being taught that the cosmos is somehow alive and shining; possess what has been termed "subjective light."
  • Moral elevation, strong opinions, a tendency to experience delight, "peak-experiences," and/or aesthetic preferences.
  • An understanding of where they're headed; have a sense of destiny; see the possible (i.e., the holy or whole ideal) in the midst of the mundane.
  • "Unappeasable hunger" for selective interests, often prompting solitary or single-minded pursuits; generally altruistic or want to contribute to others.
  • Fresh, "weird" notions; well-developed humor: We ask such youngsters, "Where do you get these ideas?" and wonder if these aren't ancient souls in young bodies.
  • Pragmatic, efficient perception of reality, which often (but not always) produces healthy choices and practical results.
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