Nurturing Spirituality in Child Upbringing


“Almighty Father, thank you for my life. Touch my body O God that I may always be healthy and be protected from any bodily disease. Touch my mind with hope, peace, and wisdom to make right and smart decisions for my life. Cleanse my heart of destructive feelings such as anger, envy, despair, and excessive anxiety. Touch my soul so that I may be filled only with your divine love and mercy.”
– Prayer by a GNRC child from Bethlehem, Palestine

Since the GNRC 5th Forum in May 2017, members have worked with faith communities, faith leaders and parents to promote positive parenting, nurture children’s spirituality, and call for the legal prohibition of humiliating/physical punishment, and all forms of violence against children. Several GNRC members also address bullying in schools and online harassment. In LAC, GNRC country networks have formed a regional working group on cyber care.

International days such as the Day for the Eradication of Poverty, Day of Prayer and Action for Children, and the International Day of Peace, among others, serve as platforms to advocate for violence-free child upbringing and to create awareness on child rights in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Members work with other Arigatou International initiatives: Ethics Education for Children, Prayer and Action for Children, and End Child Poverty, to achieve these goals. Resources such as the Learning to Live Together (LTLT) manual and other materials produced by the initiatives are used in workshops, forums, and conferences to educate stakeholders in every region. Members focus on supporting children’s critical thinking, sound decision-making, effective communication, emotional management, interpersonal relationships, sense of social responsibility and identity, and their ability to work with people of other cultures and religions.

In Africa, GNRC members are addressing xenophobia in South Africa. Through community gardening, art, and sports, GNRC South Africa and GNRC DRC promote peace education among young people. Similarly, GNRC Tanzania’s network of peace clubs in schools has resulted in a growing number of trained young peace ambassadors.

In Europe, the GNRC Romania Community of Practice is assisting Ukrainian children to integrate into local schools. Meanwhile GNRC Bosnia and Herzegovina is fighting prejudice and stereotyping against the ‘other’ and helping to ease tensions among host communities and refugees and migrants from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries.

In Asia, GNRC India focuses strongly on positive parenting through programs that encourage non-violent disciplinary methods and open communication between parents and children.

In Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), GNRC Cuba has adapted the LTLT program to the work with adolescents in conflict with the law and/or from marginalized communities. Programs have also been developed by GNRC Brazil and El Salvador to address social and cultural norms that condone violence against children, especially gender-based violence. Through interfaith exchanges like those championed by GNRC Panama, children learn to respect different religious traditions, learn about the common values and principles that are at the heart of all religions. The exchanges promote teamwork, inter-generational dialogue, and build bridges of trust among the children, their adult educators, and facilitators. Other members, like GNRC Mexico and Peru, focus on raising children with tenderness and cultivating loving relationships so that children may experience the love of God and enjoy positive relationships with peers, family, and community members.

In the Middle East and North Africa, GNRC Lebanon focuses on activities that promote self-acceptance and self-esteem, personality development, and connection with the Supreme Being among children.

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