Sunday, March 31, 2013

Five Signs You May Be Raising an Interfaith Kid

Act #90:  Seek commonality.  The rest will work itself out.

We are an interfaith family.  Truly, we are.  My mother is a Muslim.  My father is a Buddhist.  I spent most of my childhood in a Seventh-Day Adventist School.  In my youth I was once baptized as a Mormon.  In college I almost became a Baha'i.  I still may.  My husband grew up in the Bible belt with a southern Baptist mother.  His late father was an atheist.  These days he straddles the fence between being a non-believer and a seeker. Together, we seek to offer our 5-year old a strong spiritual foundation for finding and developing his own personal relationship with God.  As a family, we pray together occasionally.  Just yesterday our son asked if God lived inside his body.  Sometimes he stumps us.  We don't have all the answers, but we engage him in dialogue and encourage him to keep asking the questions.  We focus on love, commonality, and the expression of faith through service and goodwill to others.

Over the years, we have formulated a family philosophy to share with people when asked about our faith that goes something like this.  Simple enough for a 5-year old.  Complex enough to keep the world in constant turmoil.

We are an interfaith family. 
We are centered by different faith backgrounds and values.
We believe that we are more alike than different. 
We believe that together, we can make the world better.
There's enough room at the table for all of us.

Five Signs That You May be Raising an Interfaith Kid

1.  He sometimes prays with his butt in the air (one grandmother's influence).....on his knees (another grandmother's influence) .......and sometimes he simply "talks to God" when it strikes his fancy (like in the middle of the movie theater).

2.  He thinks God is literally everywhere - like in his chocolate milk, in the wind, and inside his heart (How did he get that small mama?) 

3.  Lately, he's been contemplating whether or not he wants to be born into the world again, or go to heaven.  He doesn't care as long as he has the same mommy and daddy and...see #2.

 4. He gives up something (like acquiring new toys, or giving his old toys away to others) for Ramadan.  And for Christian Lent.  And for Taoist Lent.

5.  Recently, he asked us this incredibly simple, yet profound question, "Mom, God is the same as love, right?" 

Why yes, my son. 
Yes, he is.
I offer you peace. I offer you love. I offer you friendship. I see your beauty. I hear your need. I feel your feelings. My wisdom flows from the Highest Source. I salute that Source in you. Let us work together for unity and love."
-Mahatma Gandhi



  1. I think it's such a unique opportunity for you to be raising your son in a way that is respectful and considerate of the many different ways that we as human beings experience and pursue faith!

    And for the record, there are days when I feel like my own faith is in a solid place if I can just remember #2 and #5. =)

    1. I'm right there with you, my friend. Right there with you. ;-)