Many years ago I wrote an article called, It Takes A Team. I admit, I was coat tailing Hilary Clinton’s book, It Takes A Village. I wrote about things that I still believe firmly in, that children and teens learn from all the people around them. It doesn’t matter if you were the one to teach them to tie their shoes or if it was their classmate, your little one learned an important lesson.
A friend asked me recently what she should teach her young daughter. The grandparents are religious but she, the mom isn’t. My kids are raised and at that time I was religious, but I’m happy that they are not. Although I did put them in the middle of some indoctrination, I also raised them to think. For that I am happy. What would I want them to learn if I were raising them now? Would I raise them in a religion or not?
- I would teach my children to think. Compare. Look. Explore. I would teach them that messing up or being wrong is just another step in learning. It’s more important than getting an A+ on their spelling test. The trying, failing, and trying again keeps your brain active.
- I would teach my children that we are all living beings. We are made up of tiny parts and those tiny parts make up the entire universe. The water that flows from my faucet at one time may have been at the top of a mountain in the Swiss Alps or in a stream that touched the feet of Alexander the Great. The same water, the same air, the same dirt was here 1,000 years ago. It was here 10,000 years ago.
- I would teach my children to show kindness. But not only kindness. I would teach them to show anger and fear. To see people for what they do, because that’s who they are. Not to be deceived by pretty words or words that they want to hear, but to listen to the other person’s actions as well.
If children know these things, they can know people. It’s not necessary for people to know the facts of all religions or beliefs in the world. Most adults rarely stray from the religion they were brought up in. They also believe it’s the right one. I heard someone say that he believed his religion was the right one so it was important that he preach to the others who unfortunately were born in the wrong religion. Really? That seems so arrogant. Being arrogant is the first step to being deceived. This world we live in now is not a world for the sleeping. It’s a world that we and our children need to be awake and ready to live in. Most of all, I think I would teach my children to enjoy their life and if it’s not how they want it to be, change it.