Eli was in a class at school where they were making rain sticks, and in learning about the culture, learned that the Indians called on the rain-gods by using these sticks to ask for rain. He challenged this idea, saying that he believed in only one God. And he came home having to grapple with the voices of our culture, even in 1st grade.
“That’s okay for you to believe, but others believe differently, and they are right too.”
“I believe in many gods – whatever you believe is fine, but don’t try to make others believe what you do.”
“Well, the Indians prayed to their rain god and he answered them, so…”
Eli was really troubled by this, especially since it had come mostly from a teacher. (Not Cindy, for those of you wondering, but another teacher we love and appreciate greatly….) And honestly, as he recounted the phrases that stuck in his head, I was troubled too.
The questions the world will ask of our faith are hard. And legitimate.
As a momma, I, like everyone, felt conflicting feelings.
I want to protect him. I revisited considerations I’ve had of private school and homeschool. I wanted to confront the teachings…and remind the staff member that separation of church and state means they can’t teach my child what to believe or not believe… I wanted to avoid. Because I hate confrontation altogether. And, I wanted to take advantage of a great opportunity.
Eli had conflicting feelings too.
I don’t want to go back. What if she gets mad at me again? I want to teach her about One God! I don’t think I should learn anything from her if she teaches a lie. I don’t like her anymore…
Ever been there? It doesn’t just happen in 1st grade.
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect… (1 Peter 3:15)
The problem is that too often, we settle. We tell God He’s not worth the fight. Or we let culture tell us it’s not polite to assert our faith in the presence of others who think differently. Or we run over people so fast with our beliefs that they can barely catch their breath, let alone catch a glimpse of where they fit in it all. Sometimes we hide behind law, or we let others tell us we have to. Or for some of us, the conflict is so intimidating, we let the struggle be killed by worries and anxieties in our mind before it ever has any effect on our actions at all….
This led to some pretty insightful conversations between Eli and I that I will share over the next few posts… they may not be profound to the world, but the two of us learned a lot from God’s word and His spirit…and had some funnies happen too. All good things from Him are worth sharing. So are weaknesses sometimes. None of us are superheros. Raising our kids to be “in the world but not of the world” can be painful, challenging, confusing, and rewarding...but it's a worthy pursuit.
1st grade’s not to early … to be asked hard questions, or to learn that faith really can answer them.