A mainstay of many ancient cultures is respect for the elders—those who have preceded us in life and whose wisdom gives guidance and comfort. But our modern culture only rarely honors those who have earned elder status. This is a great loss to young and old alike.
We must teach our children about religion for three reasons. First, human beings are intrinsically religious: for thousands of years we have inquired into the meaning of life, often expressing our thoughts in the form of religious myth, ritual, and theology. Teaching our children about religion helps cultivate the art of existential inquiry: learning to ask and answer the core questions of life: Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? and Why?
Second, human beings often use religion to justify warring against one another. Teaching our children about the human origins of religion helps them to resist religiously sanctioned violence.
Third, our children live in a world where working constructively with one’s neighbors requires an understanding of our neighbors’ religion. Teaching our children about religion helps them to build more stable and loving communities.
By Cindy Matchett
My young son and the many children I have spent time with over the years have all taught me a lot about celebrating. From them, I have learned that children love to be in community. They love to wear special clothes and have special jobs and be a part of something important and meaningful. But they also can get tired, shy, overstimulated, hungry, and cranky, and need to be protected and cared for. Celebrations are big energy.
A few years ago I became an adopted grandma and had a five year old living in my house for awhile. I have to admit that seeing the world through the eyes of a five year old is an excellent reminder to lighten up. She and my cats were clearly put in my life to remind me to play and have fun, no matter what I am doing.
I received an interesting questionnaire while I was away in India. I’m sharing my responses with you here as an invitation for you to share your own with us as well. The questionnaire was meant for Jews, so adapt the as necessary.
What do you want your grandchildren to know about their being Jewish?
A conversation with a friend and fellow activist inspired me to offer some special love and appreciation to all of you parents out there this week.
So you think you know what you want: But are you sure?
When I was much younger and pondering having children as a life’s path, my girlfriend who had children said, “You should only have kids if you can’t live without having kids—it requires that much commitment.” When I really thought about it, I began to realize that while I had all the proper maternal instincts, the pressure to be a mom was more of a cultural society thing than my own real goal. I could live without making that choice. Ever since, I chose to “birth books and borrow babies” instead.
I spent the last three days with my friend and teacher, Andrew Harvey, at Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville. He was our guest speaker for Wisdom House's annual Mystic Heart Retreat. (Next April we are hosting Matthew Fox).
One of the things Andrew asked us to do is discover what we were most passionate about and then engage with that passion for the good of the planet. I have two passions: books and dogs. I chose to begin with books.
We are standing at the brink of the most creative period in human history — a time in which the deepening awareness of our lost connections with the natural world will drive us to move beyond mere sustainability to the “re-naturing” of everyday life.