My Mom and Dad always told my brother and I that you do not talk about religion or politics in polite company. Of course being a kid, I was like "uh-ok" wondering why on earth you would ever want to talk about those things with anyone any way. I mean there was music and boys and clothes to discuss why would I want to talk about dry and boring religion and politics??
What happened to smart people like my parents? What happened to that value of relationships that you would leave hot topics alone? And more to the point why is this the basis of ending a relationship when you are twelve??
The past few weeks my lovely twelve year old has had the topic of religion, particularly hers, hit her hard in her core. She was approached by two "friends" of her little boyfriend and told that he was breaking up with her because she was an "atheist and the Bible prohibited them from being together." This passed and the little boyfriend defended her then, yet today he broke up with my girl. This I expected. They are 12. It is a reality not a shock. However, he told her he couldn't be with her because of her religion that it wasn't right what she believed.
I am really and truly upset by this. More so than my old soul of a child, who wisely said she didn't want to be with anyone ever that would hurt her like that and that they just weren't worth it. ( I still do not have this clarity she has.) First, I do not tolerate ignorance well. And these boys are spewing things they have heard elsewhere and have no idea of what they speak. My child is not an atheist. She is a seeker. She is finding her way on her OWN spiritual path. Not one that her Dad or I have chosen for her. She is talked to and her questions answered honestly. She is given opportunities to read and experience the world. She is taught morals, she is taught honesty, she is taught to treat others as she would like to be treated. She is a truly upstanding human. I to my core believe the world could use many more people like this young lady who is kind and giving and nurturing. This girl who stands up for others and takes on the world. Secondly, she does believe. The who, to me does not matter. The fact she has a connection to something bigger than herself and finds comfort in that is enough for me. That she feels drawn to her insides and what is in there and that she expresses those thoughts and emotions with respect for others is hugely important to me as her mother. Thirdly, it is absolutely no other students business what her religion is. It has absolutely nothing to do with them. Religion is so very personal how on earth can any of us say that the way you believe is wrong as long as that way is moral and honorable and harms no one else in the process??? Religion helps us find our way in this big, crazy world. It gives comfort for the all those things that do not make sense. It cannot be one size fits all as none of us are the same.
In my life, I am guilty of judging others, I believe it is a human condition, but I am working on it. I accept that other people might do and experience their world differently than I do, and overall I think that is a good thing, but as a type A I would love everyone to be me and agree with me!! However I am open to differences. I am open to those in this world who believe differently than I do. And I TEACH my children to never isolate someone based on those differences. So it really hurts me that in allowing her to grow into who she needs to be spiritually I have set her up to be out casted and attacked, by (this is me judging right now) those very people whose religion professes they should do none of these things. I have issue with selective practice. If you are going to talk the talk to someone I believe you should be walking the walk to use a cliche. If you are truly confident in your religion shouldn't you want to lift us up with it not shame us with it??
When I talked to my sage child this evening, I said maybe in the future you don't tell them everything maybe you just agree so that you aren't a target...and she says "But that is a lie. I want people who accept me for who I really am." Out of the mouths of babes there is a truth. And I encourage you all to take the time to step back and begin to accept people. To stop taking what works for you and broad brushing the rest of us. For it is you who will lose out in the end by shutting out beautiful souls like my daughter, in her I see incredible things for the world. In her honesty and her maturity. I am holding out hope that one day someone really just amazing will see that in her and honor her for it as their partner.