WOW I have read some really thought provoking stuff this week. I wish I had had more time to blog on each of the items as I was exposed to them as I think I could have done a much better job than trying to fit it into this one post that I also don’t really have time for. It’s funny how sometimes life just seems on an even keel with very little to challenge your beliefs and then suddenly you find yourself confronted with one thing after another that makes you stop and pause.
A few days ago my au pair was telling me about how the parent teacher conference with her daughter’s new teacher had gone. My au pair was telling me how she was so glad to hear that they have 10 minutes of bible stories at the start of every school day. I was stunned. How is it legal that children in a state run (government) school are forced to this? Now don’t get me wrong I have no problem with bible stories, I think they often tell a good moral tale and help kids to learn what we in our modern western world think of as right from wrong. And I have the children’s bible that was my mom’s as a child and I will read the stories to my kids. But at the same time I plan to find stories from other faiths that are just as good at teaching life’s lessons. I want my kids to understand different faiths and from a general knowledge perspective understand and know the basis for some the beliefs that some people hold so dear. I do have a major problem with my kids being indoctrinated in their school in just one faith. That in my mind is wrong. Please note that I am also very aware that the chances are good that our kids will (hopefully) go to a private school and that the chances are good that the private school will have a religious bent and my kids will get ‘indoctrinated’. But that will be our choice. In government schools there is no choice and therefore this seems just fundamentally wrong to me.
Following this conversation a Christian friend on Facebook posted a link to this article (Why I Raise my Children Without God: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-910282) stating that while she does believe in god the post had given her some pause for thought. Well I have to say the post in question is great, it is well written, well thought through and this woman talks about how she has made a choice about not bringing her kids up with a belief in god for their own good. He arguments are sound and while her emotion on the subject shines through it is a logical and I would love to simply applaud her. Whether you are a Christian (or any other faith) or not I would strongly encourage you to read this article, if your faith is strong it will not shake your faith, but it may make you think about the things you tell your children and what the underlying message really is.
This week was the anniversary of the passing of legislation that, in the U.S., made abortion on demand completely legal. The same day is the day that Catholics spend fasting and praying in remembrance of the unborn. No co-incidence. And here we are at the topic I find the most difficult of all. People can say that religion, money and sex are the hardest conversations, but trust me this is the one. I read an article (Pro-Choice as an Act of Love: http://www.parenting.com/article/abortion-prochoice?page=0,0) in which a mother described her experience facing the ultimate choice when she was faced with the news that her unborn child would be born with serious defects. The article nearly broke me, I sobbed reading it. And it made me pause.
I have such strong personal beliefs on abortion, I feel so strongly about the choices I would make. There was a time in my younger years when I was so vocal on what I believed to be ‘right’ on this one. But time has changed me, exposure to people who’s foundation has been rocked by this choice, has softened me. That’s not to say my personal belief has changed, not to say that I don’t believe I would stick with my belief in making a choice. But my tolerance and understanding of those who actually have to make the decision has softened.
I love being challenged, I love being made to stop and question myself. Ideally I want to do everything I can to help my kids grow up tolerant of all people and I hope that exposure to a wide variety of what makes our world so diverse they will help them be more understanding of people who are different from themselves. I hope I can bring my kids up to be as open as my Christian friend on facebook to having their faith challenged, to be willing to see the world through someone else’s eyes and be a little more gentle when judging the choices someone makes.