Past week, the sweet harmony of our family was challenged again. I was at my wits’ end having to deal with IT once again. It is most tiring for both my husband and I. We are just a simple family who always welcome friends, including children’s friends, to our humble home. We treat everyone the same, with concern, kindness and sincerity.
Family harmony is extremely important. I trust that all parents think alike; values that we parents want to instill in our children is to avoid harming others, physically and emotionally, and to help them as much as we possibly can, so that we can all live harmoniously with others.
That brings me to a sensitive subject, which I promised myself, two things I would not write about, Politics and Religion. But, the latter is inevitable because some insensitive people have invaded my peaceful fort again! Yup, this is not the first time. As parents, we will always protect/defend our children when they are threatened, in any ways. As a result of that “invasion”, my poor child became confused, critical and lose interest in his studies! If you were in my shoes, you would be on hyper-protective mode too.
Religion should not be forced on anyone. Today, when we sent our children to school, they are not only faced with challenges from peers, academic achievement, growing pains, they are also bombarded on daily basis with kind invitations from classmates, to their places of worship with them! Since when schools became recruitment ground for religions? Pardon my choice of words but it does look like MLM (nothing against MLM) recruitment! Seems to me that these students are more concerned to achieve “brownie points” on religious issue than learning the right thing in school. Please don’t be amazed when I tell you that these students are as young as seven years old!
As we live in multiple-cultural and multiple-religious society, it is inevitable to have such encounters. When I asked my students in my Sunday class about it, 90% of them told me that they have such experience all the time in school! So, we are not alone…but WHY? I thought we go to school to gain knowledge not to do God’s work to try to convince our friends to convert to our faith! YIKES! Where and what has gone so wrong in today’s world? Is it the world or it’s just us? (sigh)
What do we do if our children are the “victims”? I think, we should prepare them by discussing the fact that people have different beliefs and thus mutual respect and tolerance, for one another, are important. Do not let religion separate what could have been a great friendship. If you find that your child is being enticed or pressured to convert to his/her friend’s faith, you should intervene early on. Describe ways in which your beliefs and values can help your children dealing with daily life issues. We have to teach them how to answer to their friend’s questions about their own faith and how to think for themselves when faced with such challenges.
If you are the one encouraging your children to influence their friends to embrace your faith, please stop this minute for everyone’s sake! You have to set your priorities right when you send your children to school. How would it make you feel if the table is turned. Instead of you trying to convert others, it’s now your children’s friends trying to entice your precious children to join their faiths. How would you react to that? I sincerely hope that your answer will make you more sensitive towards others. Please set the record straight for your family, especially the young ones, before your children take the blame for lack of guidance from you. Always do to others what you want others to do to you. We are all human beings, with very little difference, actually. We should respect one another’s religion and culture. We must be the role model to our children so that they can live and respect people’s differences. Tell our children that every religion is good and is to be respected. Do not try to tarnish something so pure and holy with your lack of understanding. Get to know our own faith well and adopt the right practice.
If you feel that my choice of words are inappropriate, I shall not apologize for them. These are words from my heart, as a mother who will do the right thing to protect her youngs. If you could witness how my child had changed, I think you would encourage me to say more and use stronger vocabs. Like I said, we are just a simple family who knows very well who we are and we don’t have to shout to be heard. So long we do what is right in our lives, I strongly believe God will pave our paths with firm, level surface to walk on. We respect people and their differences. We can accept people around us to grow freely and make their own choices, and in return, we don’t expect any lesser from others.
Remember, don’t let differences separate us all. When we learn to respect and tolerate all these differences, we can live harmoniously with one another and be best of pals too. It’s exactly like back in time, some three decades ago! Everyone lived in peace and harmony, respecting one another’s differences. Share that sweet moments with your children and make them understand; it happened before (living harmoniously) and it can still be so today if we do what we did back then.
I hope I make sense after all….
~ Alice N.