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To ask other readers questions about The Spiritual Life of Children , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about The Spiritual Life of Children. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jan 26, Rosemary rated it liked it. For years this book has been on my shelf and I have finally gotten around to reading it. I am not sorry.

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Although I approach the spiritual life of children from a different perspective as a priest and teacher of religion , I have learned a lot through Coles' social-scientist lens. I am fascinated with his methodology and a little envious of the prolonged and repeated time he can spend with each child. Time after time, he reports being about to speak during a l For years this book has been on my shelf and I have finally gotten around to reading it.

Time after time, he reports being about to speak during a long pause, and being grateful that he did not, for speaking would have cut off a profound or revealing comment from the child. No generalizations here about children's spirituality, but an important work for those of us who seek to nurture our children's spirits as well as their bodies and minds. Aug 31, Ron rated it it was amazing Shelves: cultural-anthropology , non-fiction , psychology , religion , spirituality , theology.

Robert Coles is a Child Psychiatrist and researcher. He has spent years interviewing children of may cultures about their spiritual lives. The wonderful thing about Coles is that, to the best of his ability, he does not impose his own cultural norms and values on the children. As you can imagine, a Harvard educated white man coming of age in the middle of the last century has quite a set of cultural norms and values. Yet, when he interviews Hopi children they come alive with the spirit of their Robert Coles is a Child Psychiatrist and researcher.

Yet, when he interviews Hopi children they come alive with the spirit of their people in his recording of the interviews. They come from all socio-economic backgrounds and from many faith traditions. I was consistently astounded at the power and sophistication as well as at the simplicity not simplistic of these children's understanding of their spirits, their spiritual lives and their desire to BE the best that they can be which they understood, instinctively, as something other, more-than the obvious bits of their world.

What a favor Coles did me by writing this book. He helped to bring me back to my self. Nov 18, Kate rated it it was amazing Shelves: books-addressing-human-frailty , searing-social-commentary , deep-philosophical-rants , great-books-nobody-ever-read.


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Nobody is better qualified to write about the spiritual life of children than Robert Coles. As an MD trained by William Carlos Williams, and a trailblazing expert in phenomenological research, Coles studies children by letting them tell their own stories.

The results are profound, especially in this book about children and spirituality. Remarkable and very moving. Feb 04, Terra rated it really liked it. I appreciate how thoughtful and reflective Dr. I appreciate his emphasis on the idea that children often experience and understand far be I appreciate how thoughtful and reflective Dr. The idea of the mutuality inherent in genuine hospitality is one that has come up for me in several ways in recent years based on the work of Nell Becker Sweeden.

He confesses times when he suppresses temptations to argue with kids, correcting what he believes is their wrong view of God This book is incredibly dense—I was meant to have finished it months ago—but poignant and profound. It also bridges a scholarly rigor with Dr. Coles very personal perspective. He writes from the perspective of an agnostic and worked, joined at times by his sons, who are apparently also psychiatrists, for over three decades with children all over the world; from all levels of wealth or lack; and from various religious traditions including none.

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Bonus points for including and referencing a fair number of the drawings kids made of their view of heaven, hell, God, and themselves over the years. Nov 30, Daniel S rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction , psychology , spirituality. Psychic reality-whose depth Freud so brilliantly unveiled-cannot occur without that specifically human transitional space for play and illusion Men cannot be without illusions.

The type of illusion we select-science, religion, or something else-reveals our personal history-the transitional space each of us has created between his objects and himself to find a "resting place "to live in. The issue, as always, is that of context and intention. The doctors, child psychiatrists, I sometimes plan to some aspects of what children present to us, even as we are alert to others. We are not obliged to try knowing all things or being all things to our patients. Nevertheless, it is in our own best interest that we not succumb to an occupational hazard, the psychiatric version of synecdoche: confusing the whole lives children with the aspect of those lives to which we are privy.

If the observers personal life determines how he or she regards a child, the observers intellectual interest are also have considerable consequence. None of these ways of thinking about children need to be exclusive, of course. The child's "house has many mansions "-including a spiritual life that grows, changes, responds constantly to the other lives that, in their sum, make up the individual we call by a name and know by a story that is all his, all hers.

Yet how are young we are when we start wondering about it all, the nature of the journey and of the final destination.

The Spiritual Life of Children

Apr 24, erl rated it liked it. I've been meaning to read this book for about 20 years and I finally did it.

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Interesting exploration of how children experience the Divine in their everyday lives. He clearly loves his work, and although the study sometimes drags, I admire his recognition of his own shortcomings. Coles respects these children and their experiences, regardless of their backgrounds. He is their eager I've been meaning to read this book for about 20 years and I finally did it. He is their eager student. As a result of reading this book, I've added several more of Coles' works to my "to read" shelf.

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But first, I'm ready for some fiction! Oct 11, Claudia rated it liked it Shelves: writing. Coles writes about the qualitative interviews he's conducted with children as a child psychiatrist over the years, and what children from all reaches of the globe have to say about religion, spirituality, and God.

Jul 06, Ruth Billington rated it liked it. A valuable resource for me as a pastor.


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  4. The stories are eye-opening, showing me what treasures are there for those who can listen. I've been dipping into this book for years, and each time I find more insight. Truly a book to have on one's shelves. Although somewhat dated, Robert Coles' "The Spiritual Life of Children," kept me wanting to read more and more of his interviews with children, trying to come to some conclusion whether children believed in God.

    The chapter which I liked the best was, "Secular Soul-Searching. I also felt that Coles stayed out of most of the discussion, just steering the children back onto the Although somewhat dated, Robert Coles' "The Spiritual Life of Children," kept me wanting to read more and more of his interviews with children, trying to come to some conclusion whether children believed in God.

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    I also felt that Coles stayed out of most of the discussion, just steering the children back onto the subject of their beliefs The edition of this book was copyrighted, o, so, a lot has changed. I was saddened when reading the chapter which pertained to the Jewish Children's believes' in God, since most of this chapter dealt with a year-old little girl who was already diagnosed with resistant-chemo-lieukemia. Of course this little girl had very ambivalent feelings I found the chapter about the Muslim Children's believes' in God interesting as, in the Muslim faith there are no real pictures of God The most important characteristic which stood out was to be Moral and Truthful and do well in school.

    Although this book was written with the target audience being adults, I feel that Cole was a little too pedantic on this later message and to generalized when it came to the various groups. Oct 12, Erik Akre rated it liked it Recommends it for: anyone whose primary spiritual practice is caring for children. Shelves: psychology-and-deep-psychology , education , spirituality. No book of scientific analysis, this presents spiritual philosophy and idea from an honest and readily-admitted subjective point of view.

    Last year, the six Montana stores raised enough money to fully fund a special addition to the hospital. Following a recent visit to the Evergreen Spirit Halloween store to thank Lerum and his team for their help, Listoe emphasized the difference the campaign makes in normalizing the holidays at Shodair. According to Keith Meyer, foundation director for Shodair, along with the usual Halloween festivities, money raised this year likely will be split between several needs in the hospital, potentially including gazebos and sun protection over the playgrounds, a sensory room with games and activities and a kick-start on a campaign to expand the hospital.

    Six seasons have allowed Lerum to build relationships with several of the locals, several of whom he said have friends or family members who have been impacted by Shodair. Read More. For 20 years, Helen R. June 30, at am Daily Inter Lake Shaylea Tatsey eases herself onto her horse Houdini, bareback, with just a rope to hold onto. They moved around a small round pen with ease as she gestured him along with a shift in her seat or press Back to Local News. Share Now.