Preparing Children to Deal With Differing Beliefs

This week The 4 Moms are discussing preparing children to deal with differing beliefs.

Be sure to check out what the rest of The 4 Moms team has to say about this topic.

The holidays are particularly rife with interactions with friends and family members of differing beliefs since many folks come together for the only time all year for special celebrations.

  • drinking/abstaining
  • smoking/non-smoking
  • Homeschool/public school
  • nursing/bottle feeding
  • spanking/non-spanking
  • hospital birth/home birth
  • Christian/unbeliever
  • Republican/Democrat
  • whole foods/processed foods

Anytime a group of people comes together there is bound to be disagreement on a variety of topics, especially when the beliefs are firmly held. But disagreement doesn’t necessarily have to mean contention for mature, considerate people.

The key to disagreeing amiably is the mature and considerate part. If one party in the disagreement is lacking either of those characteristics, then all bets are off, and as for me, I like to avoid conflict especially at festive holiday gatherings.

Since children, by definition are not mature, their only hope of gaining the skills to deal with differing beliefs is to watch mature adults (hopefully their parents) deal graciously with those around them who may not see eye to eye on beliefs firmly held.

And when I say graciously, I mean that no one likes to drink out of a fire hydrant. Sure, we can blast away at the person who doesn’t believe homeschooling is a good choice, but will that really change their mind? Or will it only firm their resolve to hold on to their beliefs more tightly?

Remember the story of the wind and the sun? Each boasted that he would be the first to make a traveler remove his coat. The wind blew with all his might, but it only made the traveler clutch his coat more tightly around him. When the sun had his turn, he shone his rays warmly, and the man eventually took off his coat.

Let’s don’t be the wind. I would say history shows us it is a waste of energy to try to force someone to change beliefs.

This doesn’t mean that I give up my beliefs or alter them in order to get along. No. I am much too stubborn for that.

It means that since I value peace that I lay aside my disagreement to enjoy fellowship with friends and family.

Shine. And let the person be persuaded by your warmth.

Your children will see and learn.

 

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Comments

  1. Very timely lesson I needed to hear again. Working on that!

  2. Great post! I know we’ve had to choose not to spend Thanksgiving or Christmas with extended family. My aunts, uncles and cousins are hostile towards homeschooling (they have even quizzed my children at gatherings), us desiring more children, and other beliefs and convictions. Thanksgiving we spend at home and if they want others can visit us (it’s no fun to load up 3 children and make 7 different car trips on holidays) however in almost 11 years of marriage I’ve only had one Aunt visit us. In light of this we prefer to stay away from the larger family functions, we go to my dad’s and stepmom’s on Christmas Eve, my inlaws on Christmas Eve and my mom and brother will come over on Christmas day. It’s so much more peaceful and sometimes it’s easier to show love to others by keeping distance.

    God bless!

  3. Laura in AZ says:

    Connie,
    This is my first time commenting on your blog, although I have been reading it for a few months now.
    I am a 44 year old mom who had never before heard the story of the wind & sun, if you can believe that. What a simple, beautiful and effective analogy!
    Thank you for the content of your blog and The Way in which you write it.

    You make me smile, while teaching me a thing or two and there’s no better way to learn than that.

  4. Perfect timing! We always feel weird at holiday gatherings because of homeschooling, adopting outside of our race, choosing a large family size, etc. Thanks for your words of encouragement.

  5. That was a lovely post, and very timely. Thanks, Connie!

  6. Wow, your explination of the two types of expression was really a blessing. I have never looked at it that way. I have always felt the need to stand up firmly for my beliefs and who I was growing up that I indeed became a wind! I now have a completely different perspective and thank the Lord that he lead me to this post on this particular day. What a gift. I am now on a mission not to blast my “fire hydrant” at those who differ from my beliefs. The Holy Spirit has used your words to comfort and motivate me to change. Thank You

  7. Family gatherings or encounters with anyone in the community are always a learning opportunity. With my children, we always discuss differences and measure them against our own beliefs. A funny movie or book might have some potty language in it. Yes, that is funny, we say, but discuss the fact that it’s not appropriate for us to use that language. Yes, Aunt So and So might have said something we disagree with, but everyone has a right to their opinion but THIS is what we believe in and why. etc

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