It’s funny how the loss of someone you don’t personally know can hit you so hard. Since Shimon Peres passed away I’ve been spontaneously bursting into tears. He was the grandfather of the Israeli nation and the last of its founding fathers. He was an inspiration and his loss leaves a huge void. I wrote on my blog in response:
“I got close. I was due to meet him at the Israeli Presidential Conference three years ago on his 90th birthday. Sadly the plans for him meeting the bloggers covering the conference changed and I only got to see him from afar when he was part of a panel with Sharon Stone.
Now Peres is gone and the chance to meet a man I admired will never be. I’m sitting here writing this as I watch his funeral ceremony on television and try to stop the tears from flowing.
I’m saddened because Israel and the Jewish people have lost a true visionary, a man who loved his country and his people so deeply that no job in its service was beneath him. He was quoted as saying “When you do something from love it doesn’t matter what the job is.” This is a man who served Israel is so many different capacities, as minister of defense, minister of foreign affairs, minister of finance, minister of transportation, prime minister and president…”
Writing has always been a way for me to work through my feelings, so as I was watching the funeral I wrote this tribute to a great man who left us before his time. He still had so much more to give the world. Now it’s up to us.
This is an original post to World Moms Network by World Mom, Susie Newday in Israel.
Susie Newday is a happily-married American-born Israeli mother of five. She is an oncology nurse, blogger and avid amateur photographer.
Most importantly, Susie is a happily married mother of five amazing kids from age 8-24 and soon to be a mother in law. (Which also makes her a chef, maid, tutor, chauffeur, launderer...) Susie's blog, New Day, New Lesson, is her attempt to help others and herself view the lessons life hands all of us in a positive light. She will also be the first to admit that blogging is great free therapy as well. Susie's hope for the world? Increasing kindness, tolerance and love.
You can also follow her Facebook page New Day, New Lesson where she posts her unique photos with quotes as well as gift ideas.
Recently, my family and I were invited to attend the baptism and confirmation of a neighbor’s son. They are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Days Saints, and they asked friends, family and neighbors to witness this special rite of passage. I am an agnostic, and we do not practice formal religion in our home, but I was excited to take my sons to support their friend.
I grew up in a Catholic community, but I reached a point when I realized that Catholicism wasn’t the right fit for me. I explored other faiths, but none stuck. However, I have a tremendous amount of respect for formal faith-based communities. I may not agree with all aspects of any given religion, but there are many things that I do agree with and that warm my heart.
Family, community, connection, support, love…these are the things that you can find playing out in houses of worship around the world.
I talk to my children about religion. We discuss the different forms that prayer can take, and the ways in which people of various faiths interpret the presence of God in their lives. We also talk about people who do not believe in God, and ways in which they can be spiritual. We have visited Christian churches, a Buddhist temple, and a Hindu monastery. We celebrate Christmas, and we spend time in the fall and winter discussing the festivals of light celebrated around the world. We have our own version of prayer in the form of secular daily intentions that we recite together.
We talk about mindfulness, morality, and being positive members of our community. I try to draw parallels about how we think on these things and how those who practice religion do.
Prior to attending the baptism, my boys and I talked about what it would mean to their friend and his religious community. I explained that it would be OK if we didn’t understand everything that happened during the service. We would go to observe, learn and show support.
It was a joyous gathering. Family members spoke and guided the service. They did a wonderful job of explaining the process to everyone there, especially those of us for whom this was new. People sang and cried happy tears. Their friend was immersed by his father in a font while everyone, especially a front row of the littlest attendees, looked on him with smiles. He became an official member of his religious community, surrounded mainly by people of his ward but also a few from the outside.
As we drove home, I asked my children what they thought. They had both had a great time. They had interesting observations and were able to talk about what they expected and how it compared to what actually happened. But overall, they knew that this was a special day for their friend, and it helped them understand his life a bit more. As a family, we are still content approaching all things spiritual in our own manner.
However, I want to make sure that while my children don’t practice religion, they are tolerant and respectful of religion. We live in a time when it is so easy to become cynical and focus on what we don’t like about someone or something.
While it is important to champion our own beliefs, it is equally important to continually learn about those who choose a different path than ours.
Opportunities like this recent one benefit us all by bringing us closer together while still allowing our differences. At the end of the day, it’s all about the larger community, and I love mine.
Do you practice religion with your children? How do you talk to your children about faiths that are different to yours?
This has been an original post for World Moms Network by Tara B. Photo credit to the author.
Tara is a native Pennsylvanian who moved to the Seattle area in 1998 (sight unseen) with her husband to start their grand life adventure together. Despite the difficult fact that their family is a plane ride away, the couple fell in love with the Pacific Northwest and have put down roots. They have 2 super charged little boys and recently moved out of the Seattle suburbs further east into the country, trading in a Starbucks on every corner for coyotes in the backyard. Tara loves the outdoors (hiking, biking, camping). And, when her family isn't out in nature, they are hunkered down at home with friends, sharing a meal, playing games, and generally having fun. She loves being a stay-at-home mom and sharing her experiences on World Moms Network!