Four and a half months into finding out the news that I am going to become a father, I am still trying to come to grips with the idea that someone who not too long ago was concerned with whether to buy a Nintendo or a Playstation is going to be responsible for shaping the growth and development of a little one (human that is, not Playstation).
One of the questions I have is that as someone with with a very loose grip on my own spiritual identity, how do I pass on my spiritual heritage to my child? How do I teach my child the best of these beliefs without passing on the worst? In my zeal to shield him from the crueler faces of my own religion how do I avoid throwing out what is good?
Picture courtesy of High Gloss blogMaybe the answer is just to focus on the things that I wished I knew earlier.
There is a deep value in differences. No group has a monopoly on truth. A little bit of light can be found in the beliefs of those you encounter and a little bit of darkness can be found in those of your own. The unraveling world of tomorrow will be one in which different beliefs and cultures will be in closer proximity than ever before and an “us versus them” will only drag us backwards into the conflicts of the past.
Be wary about anyone in a position of authority who discourages criticism and questioning. The truest forms of spirituality hold up to hard questioning and are fashioned from the blades of doubt and honesty.
Sacred scriptures can be understood as inspired myths and poetry. Don’t get wrapped up in whether or not the events actually happened, but rather see that they are happening over and over again every day. Somewhere out there every day an Adam finds the way back into the Garden of Eden of his own heart blocked by a flaming sword. Every day a rich young ruler turns his back on the Kingdom of Heaven.
Be skeptical of those who would push you too far in one direction only, whether it be toward scripture, mystery, rationality or tradition or too far away from scripture, mystery, rationality or tradition.
Rituals have a sacred meaning that words cannot convey. From families spending time together at Christmas to communions and baptisms, rituals can make sense of the things for which we do not have words.
Do not allow guilt and dread to make you old while you are still young.
Spirituality can help you understand that there is something bigger than you. It was here long before you were born and will continue long after you have left us. Spirituality can help one get in contact with that truth and can help find the treasures of being a servant to others.
On second thoughts am I being a bit ambitious? Friend’s stories of my imminent lack of sleep are already circling me, I might just need to trade all of this in for a few good nights of sleep four and half months from now.