Much of the neglect currently, is owing to the growing secular movement, where people may not feel motivated to work actively against organized religion, but having left the church perhaps themselves, feel no desire to expose their children to the same experiences they had growing up and simply do not discuss religion at all, thinking they are being good liberals by allowing their children to “make up their own minds,” as though this serves them and makes the parents look advanced and conscientious in not being authoritarian, but allowing freedom to their children to decide what they wish to believe and how they want to live their lives. This is an idea often encouraged by the nonbelievers, using the specter of indoctrination, brainwashing, tainting the young with dark thoughts of hell and damnation, imposing ideas of sin, and stirring up unnecessary guilt within the young, by insisting on arbitrary rules that may well go against nature in some respect.
These arguments are almost always traceable to ways in which religion has become corrupted and indeed will damage all going near it, in some way, to some degree. There can be a focus on love because Creator is a loving being and wants love for all, and does not espouse a world of judgment and punishment for misdeeds, or perceived moral lapses about things that might be cultural corruptions, and even become outdated and forgotten in a subsequent era, as happens again and again. In that context, it is understandable that not feeling the need for religion themselves, parents would not want to complicate their children’s lives, and in any event, the nonbelievers know they would not be able to be a mentor or an example.
And so, religious instruction in the context of there being a vacuum in the family, where spirituality is not a living, breathing, reality for the family members, and especially the parental role models, such exposure is not likely to have much impact. In some cases, it does take hold, but this can even be excessive, leading to situations where children not only embrace the religious teachings, but use that in a way to rebel against parents who are not following the precepts, and then it becomes a point of friction, all of which is non-divine and harming everyone. This is quite a lost opportunity because it is when children are young that they are most reachable. There are many reasons for this. It is not only that they are impressionable and their mind is a blank slate, and almost anything can be written, so they can be inculcated with religious teachings and will accept it naturally in the same way they learn a language.
The truth here is that children are spiritual beings and have inner spiritual yearnings all along their path. Even from the very beginning as infants, they have an enormous intuitive reach compared to adults as well, and will have many knowings coming from their higher self and quite possibly other divine beings at times as well. The idea of an Almighty Creator will seem quite natural to them, not because they are gullible but because they are almost certainly tapped in at a very young age, and this will resonate with them strongly. They will feel it, they will experience it, they will make connections, they will check it out for themselves, and probe it, and they will be answered in kind, and this reinforcement will cultivate belief within them. It is as though the parents are merely a catalyst by bringing them to the water, but it is the divine realm that will provide the liquid to quench their thirst.
The instinct for the message is there the yearning, the desire for reconnection with Creator is quite strong in the very young child. They have an inner knowing something is missing when they emerge in a physical existence. Thoughts of the divine and the descriptions they may be given of the ultimate divine Creator of All That Is provide a powerful reassurance for that inner yearning, to help them understand and accept where they are in even their disconnected state, making it seem not quite so hopeless when they are reassured about the truth of the divine. Keep in mind that this disconnect is not a natural state, so parents are truly helping their youngsters greatly when given giving them this reassurance about there being a loving Creator who wants them to thrive and to be happy and will be helping them all the way along their lives, if they want this and ask for it.
Few parents even realize this is the task at hand. Their youngster must be taught that God will not automatically show up and take care of things. They must cultivate a relationship, like finding a good friend. There must be steps they take, action they take, and a desire on their part to do an outreach and make a request. Children will understand this and accept it without question. It is the adults always, that have a hard time finding faith, as the life difficulties and cynicism will be very well entrenched if this has been neglected. That is the great tragedy in leaving spirituality up to the children themselves to figure out and make their own choices. In effect, the parents are closing the book in all likelihood, and allowing the inner spiritual leanings to wither through neglect.
It is no different than if children are raised without any schooling, not that this has to be done through an institution, but there is a great need for learning of all kinds. Where it comes from is less important than the fact that it is offered. Children need to know vast amounts of things in addition to language. There are many cultural rules that are based on much history, and all of the knowledge required to understand the technological environment and the many choices open to children, thinking ahead towards making a living, that must be cultivated and prepared for by the person in some way. To raise a child with no educational exposure would be unthinkable, but yet parents do this all the time these days with regard to the spiritual dimension for their children. They allow this inner need, an inner capability which is in the equipment and they are born with this, to wither on the vine through neglect. This is a travesty and a karmic wound to them for which the parents will answer in a karmic payback through the coming future that unfolds for them.
This should be the highest of priorities for parents, because like with the learning of language, there is a window of opportunity during which children will breathe in spiritual precepts and will flourish as a consequence when an offering of information and insight and guidance is made. The older children become, the more they lose their ability to tune in, and feel things in an intuitive way. It will then become harder to establish a divine partnership, because they will not feel it the same way. It will not feel as real and compelling, and more and more, the cynicism about life grows, and the more they will be molded and shaped by peers and not by their parents. If there are no cultural rewards, or standards, or role models that inspire the child, it is very, very, unlikely they will even know about, let alone seek, sources of spiritual guidance and wisdom.
The impulse will be deeply buried and the opportunity largely lost unless there is a life plan counting on this to happen. Then it is more likely something will happen where the person, perhaps experiencing a moment of despair, will reach for something higher and be rewarded in a way that rekindles the yearning for a spiritual connection. Barring that, many simply have lives that are spiritually adrift and have a barren existence. It is hard to go back and start over with fresh ideas and with the youthful openness and its enthusiasm.