How Exploring the World’s Spiritual Paths Led One Family to Break Molds
There are approximately 4,200 different religions in the world. I believe it’s important to practice tolerance and embrace diversity, that each individual should be free to follow whichever set of beliefs make sense to them.
With that being said, I grew up in a family for whom the strict practice of a specific religion wasn’t the answer. In our suburban neighborhood, this often resulted in my feeling like a square peg in a round hole.
Despite my family not following a specific religion, I did attend a Quaker school for five years. Quaker values, such as worshipping the Inner Light in each individual, became important to me. Quakers were some of the first conscientious objectors and were active in the civil rights movement. I found their values aligned with mine.
As a young adult, I also enjoyed reading books about Buddhism. I liked how Buddhism emphasized the importance of “being in the moment.”
Further reading informed me about Paganism, a faith emphasizing the beauty of nature. I found something divine in all things pertaining to nature.
As a Mother, I Made a Decision
Years later, I had a family of my own and lived in a suburban neighborhood much like the one I’d grown up in. One day, my seven-year-old son asked why he wasn’t attending CCD, Catholic training for children, like his friends.
This inspired me to create a weekly spirituality class for my kids through which we explored the world’s different spiritual paths. This could be a discussion about the concept of God or Buddha, reading Muslim poetry or delving into elements of nature, such as the phases of the moon. The goal of these classes: to inspire my kids to ponder life’s mysteries, respect nature and be kind toward others.
A key message – each person has the right to subscribe to the values and beliefs of their choosing.
I believe these lessons helped mold my kids into tolerant, compassionate young men. And as beneficial as these sessions were for my kids, they were also impactful for me.
What I learned: not to be afraid of breaking the mold when it came to raising spiritually aware children. My advice to others following a similar path — allow your children to ask a lot of questions. And rest assured, not having all the answers is perfectly fine.