- How do young people develop their deepest, fundamental commitments?
- How do they find their place in their family, community, world, and universe?
- How do they come to terms with issues of meaning, purpose, and identity beyond themselves?
These are, at their core, spiritual development questions. They are also critical issues in adolescent development. They are the wellspring of some of the best within young people and humanity, and the source of some of the greatest atrocities in society when the answers lead to alienation, hatred, or violence.
The past decade has seen an explosion in interest in spiritual development within youth development and related fields. National youth–serving systems are beginning to ask how they can effectively address these questions in a society that has become increasingly diverse and pluralistic. And the growth of positive, community–based youth development provides a platform for examining these issues within the context of an overall commitment to healthy, holistic development among all young people. This volume is a valuable addition to the field.
This is the 118th volume of New Directions for Youth Development, the Jossey–Bass quarterly report series dedicated to bringing together everyone concerned with helping young people, including scholars, practitioners, and people from different disciplines and professions. The result is a unique resource presenting thoughtful, multi–faceted approaches to helping our youth develop into responsible, stable, well–rounded citizens.
1. Spiritual development: A missing priority in youth development (Peter L. Benson, Eugene C. Roehlkepartain)
This article examines how an emerging body of international research sets the stage for addressing spiritual development as an integral part of youth development, and how attending to this dimension of life could improve the well–being of adolescents while also strengthening community life and civil society.
2. Addressing spiritual development in youth development programs and practices: Opportunities and challenges (Karen Pittman, Pamela Garza, Nicole Yohalem, Stephanie Artman)
The authors examine whether and how youth development programs and practices address spiritual development and how these practices reflect, contradict, and extend the themes Benson and Roehlkepartain outlined in the foundational essay. They identify emerging best practices for addressing spiritual development within a program environment.
3. Spiritual development in faith communities and secular societies (John A. Emmett)
As societies become more pluralistic and secularized, youth workers from both faith–based and community–based settings need to take on the new roles of curator and navigation guide to assist young people with their spiritual development.
4. Putting spiritual development of young people on the map: An English perspective (Maxine Green)
The National Youth Agency of the United Kingdom undertook a major examination of the role of spiritual development in youth work in the United Kingdom, including extensive dialogue about how spirituality and spiritual development are defined. This article highlights the ways that the situation in the UK can contribute to a broader understanding of spirituality in youth.
5. Perspectives on spiritual development as part of youth development (Jane Quinn)
An experienced youth worker describes her journey in coming to understand the importance of spiritual development.
6. KidSpirit magazine: Youth in dialogue about life′s big questions (Elizabeth Dabney Hochman)
A mother and social entrepreneur contributes both youth voices and her own insights based on recent work in creating a magazine on spiritual development.
7. Youth mentoring and spiritual development (Jean E. Rhodes, Christian S. Chan)
Both mentoring programs in congregations and spiritual aspects of traditional secular mentoring programs offer youth benefits.
8. The spiritual nature of service–learning (Liane J. Louie–Badua, Maura Wolf)
High–quality service–learning contributes to spiritual development.
9. Coming of age and awakening to spiritual consciousness through rites of passage (David G. Blumenkrantz, Kathryn L. Hong)
An ancient pathway to spiritual growth deserves modern attention.
10. Contemplative education and youth development (Patricia A. Jennings)
A rapidly growing international movement aims to promote well–being among children and youth through contemplative education.
11. Spiritual development and camp experiences (Karla A. Henderson, M. Deborah Bialeschki)
Camp experiences provide many youth with a nature–centered context for spiritual development.
12. Spiritual development in youth worker preparation: A matter of resolve (Elisabeth M. Kimball)
The issue is not how to integrate spiritual development into youth worker preparation, but whether those involved have the resolve.
13. Spiritual development with marginalized youth: A status report (Melanie Wilson, Kristal S. Nicholson)
Agencies developing programs for adolescent clients should consider spiritual exploration and growth a core part of treatment and allow youth to participate in spiritual programming as much or as little as they wish.
Discussion and Resources.
14. Spiritual development in adolescence: Toward enriching theories, research, and professional practice (Anne C. Petersen)
This article discusses four questions: (1) Why has spiritual development for adolescence emerged now, at this point in history? (2) What is spiritual development? (3) What are the next steps to be taken to pursue spiritual development for adolescents? (4) What might be the resistance to this pursuit, and what are the implications of this path?
Resources: Spiritual development youth development (Compiled by Sandra P. Longfellow)
An annotated bibliography introduces practitioners to some of the core literature at the intersection of these two realms of development.