By Lydia Kaiser
What should we teach children about meditation? There are both dangerous and helpful kinds. Kids need to know the difference.
As kids participate in martial arts, yoga, and alternative teaching methods in public school, they need to be warned about instruction that includes mysticism. The dictionary definition of mediation is to ponder, or to dwell in thought. In Psalm 119:97 the psalmist says, “Oh how I love your law! I will meditate on it all day long.” As we meditate on God’s Word, it will become more ingrained in our hearts, so meditation itself, is not wrong—the subject matter which is being pondered is either right or wrong.
The problem is, when kids are asked to meditate in non-Christian settings, it frequently has something to do with an awareness of self-consciousness and a releasing of the mind to sense spirituality. This is dangerous because we know that Satan is also present in the spirit world and can influence our thinking.
Teach children that the only way to understand themselves and their existence is to know their Creator and His plan for their lives as presented in the Bible. Teach them that it is dangerous to open their minds to any influence of the enemy’s spirit world.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 talks about this war for our minds. Verse 5 says, “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” So, every thought must be in line with God’s thoughts.
Frequently, relaxation techniques accompany meditation so the child may confuse relaxation with mediation. Relaxation in itself is not wrong either. Our society has so emphasized activity that many people don’t know how to relax and are constantly stressed. Musicians and athletes have discovered practical relaxation and breathing skills which are helpful for performance and poise.
Relaxation is wrong if its goal is to achieve the releasing of your mind to thoughts that are not from God. A seemingly innocent instruction to children may be to simply relax and clear their minds of all their concerns of the day. Instruct kids that it’s never safe to attempt to completely clear their minds. Instead, teach them to meditate on a simple, comforting thought such as “Jesus loves me.”
When instructed in relaxation techniques, the child should also evaluate the instruction based on the physical posture requested and any connections made to that posture. He should not participate where instructed to pay respect to nature, humans, or objects or concepts which he doesn’t fully understand or don’t sound like something he’s familiar with from the Bible. He can transfer that honor or respect to God instead, and be vocal about doing so, as part of his freedom of religion.
Remind children of Daniel’s three courageous friends who were honored by God because they refused to bow in worship to King Nebuchadnezzer. Humanistic or pantheistic worship is much more subtle, but if your child has given his life to Jesus, he has the Holy Spirit indwelling, who will let him know if something isn’t right. He needs to learn to listen to that quiet urging as part of his ongoing relationship with God.
While warning children about the dangers of secular meditation, we can’t surrender the Scriptural use of the word. Scripture tells us that meditation on itself is the way to become wise and blessed. We want our kids to have the experience where they think on God’s Word over and over and it becomes part of their life perspective.
To help this, when you explain Scripture, do it with graphics, pictures and object lessons. This helps children recall truth more easily and have an anchor image when meditating. Jesus frequently used word pictures when explaining concepts. For example, a sheep was frequently used. A child can be given a toy sheep and play with that sheep can accompany many Bible stories and illustrations, so when the child snuggles the sheep at bedtime, he can meditate on those concepts. If he’s told in school to picture something while meditating, he can picture the sheep and his loving Shepherd, Jesus.
Discuss these things with your children and you may be surprised to learn they’ve encountered secular meditation already and didn’t even think to talk with you about it. Now they will be armed with God’s perspective.
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