This blog is the eighth of a 12-part series on ‘Parenting is a Journey’. Ignatius Fernandez also blogs at http://thechildisfatheroftheman.blogspot.in/.
A band of fierce men stormed a chapel, somewhere in Columbia, South America, just as mass was to begin, and dragged the priest out. Then, the chief of the band demanded: “Is there any other Christian here?” A few in the congregation stood up. They too were dragged out of the chapel. In seconds, gunfire was heard outside. Returning, the chief asked for the second time if there was any Christian left inside the chapel. Trembling in fear, not one stood up. Angry, and visibly disgusted, the chief berated them: “If you cannot stand up for your beliefs, you have no right to be here”. In moments he and his men disappeared. Coming out of the chapel, the people saw the priest and the others who were dragged out, unharmed and smiling.
If we were in Chapel that day, what would we have done?
Are we zealous in defending our beliefs? Do we teach our children to defend their beliefs? For example, would they return to the owner, a lost wallet, with a large sum of money in it? Would they support someone who is falsely accused? Would they join a just, but losing cause?
Our children will find the courage to stand up, when they learn from us to stand up. When Conviction leads the way, Courage is close behind. We only hope that they will not choose to be neutral. Because being neutral, where there is injustice, is choosing the side of wrong.
“We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are”. – Anais Nin
Put differently, we are what our beliefs are. Our children are what their beliefs are. Since they get most of their beliefs from us, in their formative years, it is important that we recognise the huge responsibility that rests with us.
From our set of beliefs, which we pass on to our children, a few questions surface:
1) A young traffic policeman pulled up a car for traffic violation. The occupant of the car summoned the policeman and introduced himself as a very senior police officer. He expected the policeman to salute him, and let him go. Instead, the policeman wrote out the ticket and gave it to his senior officer, saying: “Sir, you should be happy that you have an honest policeman in your force”.