Tag Archives: Religion

7 TIPS FOR TEACHING YOUR FAITH TO A CHILD

Every parent wants their child to follow their faith whether atheist, Christian, Buddhist,Hindu, Judaism, Muslim, or all lesser known faiths. .

faith quotes

Faith is a belief in unproved ideas or stories.  That they are unproved means they vary.  Here is one man’s story in response to a post of mine on Facebook.

Theism is a belief that a god that nobody knows what it looks like or it’s sex somehow after spending for ever and ever and ever quite happy with it’s own company decide it was lonely and wanted some distraction and decide to make the world and put beings on it, who it condemned to poverty disease and war, simply because it knew in advance how they would use their ” free will” to condemn themselves and oh what fun, since then ” god” has never been bored.

His post was in response to a post making fun of atheism.  My only quarrel with atheism is that it is usually either/or thinking.  Either there is a God or Gods or there not.  Such thinking is limiting, and  sees  religion as all bad; this creates divisiveness. Emotional fitness seeks “yes/and” thinking as a better way most of the time. Yes, atheists might be right and one or many religions might be right.

He is one who has turned from religion, but his post speaks to his faith and that is what guides his behavior. His post sparked this post.  Had  I responded with  a Facebook post,  it would have been about my faith. Here is how I might have  responded:

We are all guided by the  beliefs we hold most strongly and have  the most faith in.   Here are mine as opposed to yours.

I do not know how the world came to be, but I  do not believe nothing came from nothing.

I know a spirit of love is part of creation. So I place my faith in  a loving creator who like most parents wants a child to become all he or she can be.  A wise creator and parent can only do so much to accomplish that and spends much time watching and hoping.

 I believe one of the Creator’s greatest gifts is making space for growth and development not just as individuals, but as a species. 

We are doing that and the world is better for many than it was even a hundred years ago. But some cling to tribal or national or personal ways and many of those do evil trying to spread those ways or accrue wealth and power.

Perhaps, the Creator  still monitors our progress, likes the direction with are moving of progress and is still  hopeful;  perhaps, not.  Perhaps, the Creator either no longer cares or is just watching us destroy ourselves. 

The Torah which I see as full of cautionary tales, says some must be destroyed to allow others to survive and that the Creator stays active in that decision. Miracles are exceptions to the expected and I see miracles. They are one of the foundations of my faith.  Torah also says even when very few follow the path of righteousness the world will be saved.  The primary path of righteousness is not linked to one faith; all with wisdom agree that path  is treating others as you want to be treated.

I believe our job as individuals is to grow and to as the Judiasm says, “Repair the Universe.”  I am grateful the Creator is patient and forgiving.

What I have just written is the way I have dealt with the main problems  people face in creating their faith.  That is also fairly close to my parent’s beliefs, My father was an atheist and my mother would be called hopefully spiritual. Neither was happy when I became a religious observer, but their love went on.

Most of those I know who no longer practice their parents’ religion complain about three things.

  1. The beliefs are not practiced by those who hold them.  This was the reason I started doubting Christianity.
  2. The beliefs seem at odds with reality, particularly science.
  3. Suffering was not adequately explained. Also a major part of my need to turn to religion.

Each of these needs to be addressed for a child’s faith to mirror its parent’s faith. Moreover, no matter how wise or loving the parents, children often go another way. My parents were more than loving and very wise.  So here are some quick tips, but only quick tips for this is a topic that must be explored in-depth.

Tip one:  As always, you must model the behavior you seek from your children.  Many surround their children with those of similar belief.  If you do that make sure those people model the behavior also. The ones I met at the church I joined as a teen in the long run did not seem very Christian.

Tip two: Did the Jewish, Christian and Muslim God create the world in six days?  Scientific minds agree our time is limited to our world. Six days in our world are most likely a drop of sand in the universe’s hour glass. Despite the popularity of Steven Hawkin’s views, many reputable phycisists believe in a Creator.  Read their thoughts. Here’s one: Gerald Schroeder. He is a physicist and holds a double PhD.

Tip three:  As suffering is personal and the first thing we all ask is “Why me?”, our faith must provide an acceptable answer to “Why.”  When bad things happen most of us feel punished for being stupid, careless, foolish or sinful.  The power of this personalizing is reflected in almost every religious practice whether human sacrifice, selling of indulgences, or acts of contrition.

My personal belief about bad things accepts that some are the result of personal carelessness or foolishness.  And yes, some might be punishment for sins, but what helps me accept suffering is looking for a lesson. Sometimes the lesson is a personal one; often the lesson is acceptance that bad things happen whether one is good or bad and often despite all efforts to being a victim of bad.  Sometimes I find comfort in randomness. The Jewish God promised the survival of the Jewish people, not of individuals.

Tip four: Teach you children to be law-abiding to an extent.  Example? Red lights. The younger the child, the  more abiding by a red light is necessary and  “Because it is the law.”

By the age of ten or so, going  against the red light can be a matter of “This law is not always reasonable,  you need to know when it is okay to break it.”

A teen can be drawn into deeper conversations beginning perhaps with looking at the Noahide laws,  revolutions, and protests of unfair laws. Good discussions for dinner time or family meetings.

This WordPress prompt about breaking a law, lead to a discussion of when people broke laws.  You might find reading some of the blog posts interesting to think about.

Tip five: Expose yourself and your children to other faiths including atheism.  All organized religions promote the Golden rule.  Point  that  out, but also point out that it means for some applying that rule only their family, their country, or their religion.  Even those religions approving child sacrifice were doing so in the hope that of earning special favor. Expose and discuss the good and bad of each.

Tip six: If you are observant in one or another religion, fight its bad theology. If you are an atheist, do not reject the good religion offers.If you are observant in a particular religion, root out bad theology. Example: The idea that a loving Creator  says to kill those of other faiths or to force conversion.

Tip seven: More may be needed.  All of this is much easier said than done.  So do the best you can and make sure you have lots of support.When you have tried the above and it has not worked, more is neededThe more might be more study on your part, more support, or in some situations therapy for you or a child you love.

Following my Emotional Fitness Training blog provides support and  provides information about human development, mental distress and illness, counseling, and therapy.

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PRACTICE KINDNESS

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Thank you and work at staying strong until next time,. I work hard to do the same as life is often difficult but staying strong lets me find the good.

Katherine

A SUKKAH STORY BY TSIVYA FRIEDER

Sharing a Jewish Holiday Story and Rituals and some Parenting tips.  Fun and loving holiday rituals increase emotional fitness aka Emotional Intelligence.

At The Sukkah and a story about it by Tsivya Frieder

We celebrate Sukkah with our Aish friends  Barry and Tsivya Frieder. Read on to hear her amusing and thoughtful tale about setting up their Sukkah.

The Sukkah Saga By Tsivya Frieder

 The day after Yom Kippur I unenthusiastically decided to deal with the sukkah challenges.  I knew I was supposed to run to begin working on the sukkah as soon as I broke the fast, but, oy! Iknew I would be dealing with “stuff.”That’s just the way it is, when you’ve got a structure, canvas walls, tools, strings of lights and 200 decorations.“Oy!”

The first year we had this sukkah we had four canvas walls.The second year we had three canvas walls.Now we have two canvas walls, two blankets and a couple of sheets.How could we possibly misplace two large pieces of canvas?

As the day unfolded, the sukkah challenges began. It took hours to find the two heavy-duty staplers, one of which had no staples and the other had only a few (the box of staples never turned up)–the colored lights had artfully hidden themselves under Chanukah material–a tree had quietly doubled in size and was now leaning over 95% of the sukkah, rendering it unkosher-a horizontal beam of the sukkah was two inches away from the vertical beam it was supposed to be flush with–every time I needed any item, it had sneakily crawled under something even if it had been in my hand two minutes earlier- -and, inexplicably, one of the small, domestic staplers fell apart in my hand, which in a house that has maybe a dozen staplers is not what you call an insurmountable obstacle, but in a house where the sukkah is a half-mile hike down the hill and into the gulch can represent an adjustment in the actual work time.  You know, “stuff.”

And I needed skach, and that meant getting out the old chopping tools and doing the pruning I had put off all summer, with the blithe expectation that I would actually have the time to do it so the boughs would be fresh for the start of the festival. (Last year I had efficiently gotten the skach to early that it was all dried and crumbly by the start of the holiday.For the initiated, crumbly skach means oddly flavored food.)

I stepped out of my house and found a hill of skach practically sitting in my front yard.

On the precise day I decided to bite the bullet and deal with skach, my next door neighbor decided to cut down his bushes, the very bushes that had been sitting there unmolested for several decades.

Not only that, but when he found out what I was up to after I was able to speak coherently, he helped me lug the sweet, piney branches down to the sukkah.

But it doesn’t end there. Little miracles occurred all day long.

Instead of dropping  wgat I was doing and running out to buy more heavy duty staples, I decided to use the few I had to hang up the walls and see how far I got.  And, unbelievably, the last staple I had was the last staple I needed to put up the walls!

Unexpectedly, a close friend of ours who removes tree stumps was able to come racing over and remove the offending branch that was looming over the sukkah, rendering it kosher again.He also fixed the problem of the separating beams and then raced off again.

HaShem may be hidden in the world, but at times He’s not very hidden.

And there was more. My plans for being in the eruv were just not working out for Sukkot yom tov. Although I had begun working on pulling things together weeks before, I found myself having to change neighborhoods just days before the holiday started. I had a choice: I could grump about the situation or I could choose to believe that HaShem wanted me on the East Side for some reason. He had some surprises in store for me and I could borch or I could find the gifts.

I decided to do both. I grumped for a while and then put a cheery face on things. Then grumped some more. Then waxed philosophical. And all the while I was wondering why does HaShem want me on the other side of town?

 In short order, it became obvious that the process of seeking out hospitality was putting me in touch with an entire community that I had very little to do with. I realized with a shock:I have grown comfortable and complacent, stuck in a rut!  My passion is building community, and here is large community I’m mostly out of touch with! And what an open-hearted community it is!  The people I reached out to had suggestions and invitations, and some took time out from their hectic pre-yom tov schedules to have long conversations with me and hosts, going over options and brainstorming possibilities.

 In the end we had so many invitations from this very hospitable community—from old friends, people I had known for years but hadn’t visited before, and people I had not met yet—that we ended up hopping from one sukkah to the next, and still ran out of time before we had visited everyone. We heard new devar torahs, participated in Torah discussions that were radically different from the crowd we normally hung out with, and played with totally adorable children and babies (one of whom nibbled her way down the challah I was holding for her and took a bite out of my finger).

Who ever thought that the dreaded Plan B could result in what felt like a three-day party? Hmmm.

Our sages tell us that we can’t know the reasons HaShem causes things to happen. However, we can catch glimpses of some of the effects.

One effect is the possibility that the next time my plans are not working out the way Iwant, I might remember to trust that HaShem knows exactly what He’s doing! Just a thought….

 emotional fitness thoughts

Religion gives  children a start in learning right from wrong. Rituals are fun ways to build a child’s understanding of his or her religion as well as to build a good memory book. Both are important Emotional Fitness Tools.

Setting up a Creche is a Christian family rite. Decorating the Sukkah a Jewish family rite.

The more we understand about each other’s religion the more we can create Peace on Earth.

PARENTING TIPS

Tip one:  Whatever your religion, spiritual, or philosphical beliefs, and the younger your child, the more s/he needs to have rituals and stories that teach him right from wrong.  The more s/he can take part in the ritual in a fun way, the better.

Tip two: Make sure the rituals are fun. The younger the child, the more important this is.

Tip three: As you child grows in greater understanding expect questioning. Being too dogmatic or fanatic may drive him or her away.  

Better than arguing is remembering no one does religion exactly the same way.  Pope Francis is not Pope John; The current Dalai Lama is not the last Dalai Lama, Hillel is not Akiba.

This allows you to take a critical view of your religion’s negative teachings and disavow what is not kind.  Being kind and caring is what all religions agree on. Where they disagree is who that applies to and how to treat those outside of the tribe, family, or religion.

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Thank you and stay strong.

Katherine

STESSED? TAKE THE LONG VIEW

Parents are over-burdened, and advice is often a source of burden.  Some advice, however, can be helpful.  Here is a bit that worked for me.

long perspective

THOUGHTS ABOUT PARENTING

At some point during my teens, I think it was I read  the story attached to the words “This Too Shall Pass Away.”  An unhappy king was comforted in the midst of depression by these words.   When I became a parent, I taped the words “Now is not forever” on my refrigerator door. Those words became one of my self-talk mantras and got me through many hard times.

 PARENTING TIPs

First tip: Take the long view.  When a baby has kept you up most of the night with colic that is not easy, but still helpful to know this is a stage and not the rest of your life or your child’s life.

Second tip: Monitor your self talk.  Mostly when our last nerve is being stepped on we tell ourselves “I can’t stand this.”  Not true, you will and you can. Better to work at replacing those words with a “This Too Shall Pass Away” or “Now Is Not Forever” or some variation of the same.  Self talk can calm you down or make everything that is going on worse. Make yours calming.

Tip three:  After a stressful time take a restorative break. Even a few minutes breathing calm will help. Go here to learn EFT’s  Daily Twelve Emotional Fitness Exercises.  Each takes only a minute to practice. Moreover, each is  easy to learn, easy to practice and helpful to anyone dealing with life’s stresses and every day problems.

STAY STRONG

Being a parent in today’s world is extremely hard. Most parents work at an outside job as well as the job of being a parent.  Moreover, parents are supposed to raise happy-all-the-time children.  Nonsense.  Unhappiness in a child is often the best tool life has for teaching what matters.  Happiness is fine, but being a caring person matters much more.

As I tell myself a thousand times a day,  do not weaken, give lots of love to others and to yourself, be grateful, practice kindness, live now, give and seek forgiveness, and always hope  the blessing of the forces beyond our control are with you and those you love.

Thank all of you for your support and if you found this helpful, please care and share.

Katherine

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DISCLAIMER: FORGIVE MY GRAMMATICAL ERRORS FOR I HAVE DYSGRAPHIA.  If you need perfect posts, you will not find them here. I have dysgraphia which means that sometimes my sentence structure is not that easy to follow or I make other errors. Still, most people understand me. All of my books are professionally edited, but not all of my blog posts are.  If this troubles you, feel free to read elsewhere.  If you persevere, you are practicing kindness by lifting my spirits for that means you find what I say helpful and that is one of my missions. Kindness always repays those who spread it.