It was a sunny winter afternoon and I was busy putting final touches to the Diwali decorations. Like most smart Mom’s, I had dressed up my kids in the morning and sent them to play in the playground while I was finishing off all the things I had planned for last night. When my kids came back in the afternoon I was expecting to meet hungry monsters. However, I wasn’t prepared for what happened next.
My kids were heartbroken because other kids in the park had unknowingly said some hurtful things to them. They were wondering why my kids were dressed up nicely and bursting crackers. “Why are you celebrating Diwali? Diwali is not your festival, your festival is Christmas”, said one of the kids to my baby girl. While another one said, “You will go to hell because you don’t worship our Gods”.
I wasn’t thinking about the misfiring bulbs in the lights anymore. For next one hour, I was explaining to my kids why being a Christian wasn’t their fault and that they should not feel any different just because some playground bullies does not want them to celebrate Diwali. I may have been calm in front of my kids, but I was questioning my religion and beliefs in a deep and profound way!
Where do our religious beliefs come from? We are what we are born into. We cannot choose our parents and we are just following what they have been following. Minutes after your birth, your name, religion, caste/sect and nationality is pronounced. And most of us will die defending our religion, something which we did not choose and had no control over!
Nothing wrong in being religious as long as we don’t hurt somebody else’s sentiments. At the end of the day, you could have been born into another household and would be then following another belief altogether.
It’s not easy when you are living amongst people who come from various beliefs and background. What I am teaching my kids is that they are Christians only because they are born into the Christian household. What matters, in the end, is that you are a Good Human. Be kind to everyone, don’t be judgmental and always stand for what’s right. If they will follow this, they will be religious as every religion preaches the same thing after all.
It gave me immense satisfaction when my 12-year old said, “Why is Donald Trump saying all these things? The bad guys don’t follow any religion and if they did then they won’t be bad”. That’s it, that’s what you need to remember son!