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Spirituality development during childhood; a latent approach for health and social improvement

نویسنده

چکیده

Expended Abstract Introduction: Well-being and stability in life are considered as predictor factors of quality of life, health as well as social and human development. Physical and mental health, sense of integration and consistency in life, resiliency, positive attitude toward life challenges and social welfare are positive effects of spirituality. On the other hand, it can be considered as an internal incentive to create profound and deep change during human evolution. Spirituality can be regarded as a continuum in which spiritual health (positive spirituality) is at one end of it and spiritual injury at the other end or opposite side (negative spirituality). Spirituality is an intrapersonal quest to find the response for basic questions about existence, meaning, and communication with supernatural power. The childhood period is a critical stage across life course. Therefore, spiritual experiences could be beneficial in the formation of positive spirituality or human development. Providing evidence regarding spirituality growth process or finding how it is being nurtured during childhood may be useful in policy making and planning strategies for improving social health. A holistic approach might help recognise spirituality elements and how they can be developed. This review study aims at analysing spirituality aspects and identifying characteristics and factors related to spiritual development, particularly during childhood. Method: The present study is a narrative review to find the role of childhood experiences on the formation of spirituality and human development. Data were gathered during June 2018, through literature review in ScienceDirect platform and databases including PubMed, Google Scholar, and Magiran. Documents were searched using keywords such as “Health AND Spirituality”, “Religion AND Spirituality”, “Spirituality evolution” AND “childhood”, and “Spiritual development” AND “childhood”. A Total of 65, 281 documents were found out of which the Persian language had recorded just 43 of them. Duplicate and unrelated documents were excluded, then the references of selected articles were delved, and 88 abstracts were assessed based on their titles. Lastly, the most proper research studies were included for further analysis after a screening process. Findings: Most theorists specialized in human development have mentioned that all of the children possess an innate spirituality and experience some types of spiritual moments or conditions. Some of the scientists have acclaimed that every person has a capacity to flourish and discussed regarding the crucial factors on the formation of spirituality and suggested its relationship with other elements of human development. Spirituality nurturing is the process of growing the intrinsic capacity for self-transcendence. In other words, stages of spiritual evolution in diverse contexts and situations (child’s age and life conditions) have been considered. Human beings depending on their disposition, have different perceptions and reactions about life experiences. Contexts and systems across the lifespan could act as a facilitator to nurture spirituality or hinder its development. Teaching along with creating suitable conditions to encounter spiritual feelings as well as paying  more attention to these types of experiences during childhood would have positive impacts on spirituality evolution. Focusing on emotions and physical senses whether positive or negative helps children to explore more about their internal world and find a better understanding of own existence as a whole (wholeness or integrity of self). Moreover, they can achieve essential goals or meaning to deal with adversities. Situations and programs in which they raise cognitive imagination could be conducive to discover values and meanings. Spirituality development is an approach consisting of three significant aspects including: first, the sense of belonging which nurtures if children are provided with opportunities for participation in great or important works, moreover, whether they are affirmed and thanked for their cooperation or helping others.Second,  respect to self and others which improves when children are taught and persuaded to have perseverance and determination to patiently deal with challenges and difficult situations and express their thoughts and ideas when they are asked for. Third, awareness  and appreciation as regards unknown and unclear issues which develops when a child’s curiosity and creativity is encouraged and he/she is allowed to question on essential matters, additionally, when beauties and mysteries of nature are noticed and appreciated. In sum, supporting children to express experiences and passions such as love/hate, hope/fear, trust/insecurity, as well as making opportunity to induce feelings like awe, ponder, and imagination, cooperation in works, and search for finding the response to essential questions are some methods that can nurture spirituality. Discussion: Children possess a potential and latent capacity to spiritual development and experience some degrees of spiritual feelings. Experiencing a relationship with God is formed depending on learned signals and symbols within context. Contextual messages can be received from internal (various personal senses and emotions) or external situations (time, place and other relationships in the environment). Identity, sense of belonging and meaning, as well as purpose in life, are interrelated factors influenced by spirituality and the ways which might be improved. Identity is composed of ideas and beliefs which are constructed during the human life cycle by cognitive, emotional and relational processes within specific contexts. Positive or healthy spirituality is related to a consistent personality, committing to values and ethical choices. Spiritual development for driving social health promotion and sustainable development means having the ability to understand  feelings (both as regards self and others), intentional management of emotions, behaving reasonably and positively, being loyal to justify, truth, love and reliance on God. Sensibility and ability to have empathy and responsibility as regards self, other creatures, and nature could be useful in improving personal quality of life as well as social health and development. Human beings are like systems within the cosmos that have an interrelationship with other aspects of the world. The lifestyle of people is influenced by their spirituality which in return would result in impacts on individual health, environment, and community. According to some reports, choosing nutrient and healthy diet, physical activity adheres to healthy behaviors; respecting social norms and rules (cautious driving, abstinence of high risk or unethical practices), social responsibility and contribution; respecting and being concerned about protection of nature can be related to the spirituality of individuals. In sum, spiritual improvement would have positive impacts on the promotion of health and social development. Owing to childhood is an essential and sensitive stage of life cycle, more attention should be paid in this regard to nurturing spirituality. The mixed model of spiritual development derived from Rousseau &Schein 2014 Ethical Considerations Funding In the present study, all expenses were borne by the author and he did not have any sponsors Authors’ contributions All authors contributed in designing, running, and writing all parts of the research. Conflicts of interest The authors declared no conflict of interest Acknowledgments In this article, all rights relating to references are cited and resources are carefully listed.  

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