News Desk |
These days (and in this country), the words “tolerance,” “love” and “acceptance” seem to be increasingly hard to find — no matter your religion or creed. On one hand, our national flag has a dedicated white portion to highlight our country’s religious minorities, but on the other, the news shows practical violence against them. Amidst the chaos, we need to take in our own hands the responsibility of our child’s acceptance and understanding of the minorities.
There are no definitive guidelines for observant families to teach their kids about other religions, but the more positive and engaging parents can be when talking about another religion, the more likely kids will be interested and understand another person’s religious experience.
Your kids are undoubtedly going to have questions about all of the fascinating things they’re learning. Talk openly and honestly with your children and encourage their curiosity.
The good news is that when we approach these conversations with compassion and open-mindedness, our children learn to ‘live and let live’. Here are a few steps to make the process easier:
Do not be Scared of your Child ‘Converting’
Having knowledge and being aware of other religions only makes your child more accepting of people they meet. It ingrains in their minds that Hindus and Christians have as much of a right on Pakistan as we do, because all of them were born in the land ad their own. However, it will not drive them to those religions because your child will only follow in your footsteps and the prayer mats will not be easy to forget!
Buy Books at an Early Age
Making your child read about the different religions practiced worldwide will make them see it as an educational experience. Books with illustrations and pictorials might also peak their interest.
Read more: 9 tactics to manage defiant children!
Make it a Storytime Before Dinner or Going to Bed
Children love to converse with their parents like an adult. Find real-time stories online and narrate them to children. Teach them about Jesus and other religious prophets, like they were famous personalities.
Respect the Religious Without Accepting Intolerance
Teaching your kids to respect religious people is important. But that doesn’t mean they must respect religious intolerance. It doesn’t mean they must respect immoral, unethical or hateful words and actions simply because they come under the heading of religious righteousness. You will find relatives spreading hate speech and negativity for people of the next religion and country. Make sure that your child remains safe from such influences.
This can lead to your child hurting or terrorizing another child — or anyone — in the name of religion is no different than terrorizing a child for any other reason. Bullying is bullying and should be treated as such. The bottom line: Don’t hold religious beliefs against people who are being nice. And don’t hold it in favor of people who are being mean.
Your kids are undoubtedly going to have questions about all of the fascinating things they’re learning. Talk openly and honestly with your children and encourage their curiosity. For instance, if your child asks why someone has strings hanging off of his shirt (tzitzit), take the time to stop and explain that some people of Orthodox Jewish faith adhere to a dress code. When you’re back at home, you can then pull up some photos and further discuss. Approach every conversation without judgment and with respect so kids don’t get the impression that some religions are “better” or “weirder” than others.