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.
- Homeschool/public school
- nursing/bottle feeding
- hospital birth/home birth
- 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.