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by Zoey Jones

Passion. It's a word that people most often connect with romantic involvement or career ambitions or even a serious relationship with something, maybe Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream for instance. But seldom is it connected with spirituality and religion. What I came to realize is that passion was behind Melanie's affirmation of her faith.

From this passion, commitment and the search for fulfillment blossoms. While the quest for spirituality sounds like it's a world removed from the average life of teens, recent research demonstrates that the reverse is true. The trend for teens to embrace religion is growing. More interestingly, not all are adopting the same religion as practiced by their parents.

A study conducted in the United States indicates that in families where both parents practice the same religion as many as twenty-five percent of teens were claiming a different religious affiliation from that of their parents. Researchers believe this is owing to a number of factors that include teens being encouraged to think for themselves and to be vocal about their beliefs. Teens are realizing their spirituality in new and interesting ways.

The reflections of Lao-tse, an ancient Chinese philosopher (6 th century bce), speaks to me of the benefits of finding your spiritual center:

I f there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.

If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.

If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.

If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.

If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.

Melanie's found peace in her heart. I hope we all can.


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