Momaha.com will host Project Interfaith‘s next community conversation,”Parenting in Pluralistic World: Raising Kids with a Strong Spiritual Identity While Respecting Those of Other Beliefs,” on April 11 at the Jewish Community Center, 333 S. 132nd St. Click here for more information.
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The Christian Bible teaches us to “love your neighbor as yourself”.
Well before I was baptized, well before I knew that as one of the Ten Commandments, and well before I ever heard a sermon preached on the commandment, my mother preached those words in our home.
Decades later, I am a mother now. And as I watch my now-toddlers grow into boys and one day men, they will know that scripture, too. Whether Christian, Muslim or Jewish or any other religious affiliation, the greatest lesson we can teach our children is to love.
“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Those were God’s orders to His people. He did not say love thy Christian neighbor. He said love thy neighbor. Each morning and night as I say a prayer with my children, each prayer ends the same.
“…Bless everybody. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”
“Who is everybody, mama?” my 3-year-old, JJ, once asked.
“Granny, Papa Holder, Kyonte, Paw-Paw…” I replied.
I went on and on naming everybody I could think of. I named my best friend Alice, who was a bride’s maid in my wedding. I named my very good friend Niveditha, Niv for short. I even named my former Japanese professor, Mr. Holman, who took me on my first trip abroad. Alice is Buddhist. Niveditha is Hindu. And Professor Holman is Mormon. When I named them I didn’t think about their religious beliefs. I named them because they all shared one common theme – they were people I loved and people who loved me.
Since asking that question, JJ now fills in people’s names after we say, “Bless everybody.”
“Bless Granny, Kyonte and Niv…” he says.
And even though JJ is only 3-years-old and my youngest, Joah, is only 23-months-old, they are still both old enough to say, “Bless everybody.” And to me that’s what matters most. Moreover, that’s what matters most to God because as quoted in Mark 12:31, “Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”
Tunette Powell is married with two children. You can read her every Tuesday on momaha.com
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