Hi Craig, your timing is perfect as I’ve been mulling over an issue that’s coming at me fast. I have Christmas traditions that are important to me and that my husband and two grown children agree with and participate in. I however have grandchildren who do not share my beliefs and who have posted on Facebook etc various Memes etc. that give me reason to believe that following these traditions may cause a ruckus Christmas Day. These are minors except 1 who while not a believer is accepting of what They call the your house your rules way of dealing with differences. Do I give up my traditions to keep children happy? I am talking about Christmas Music – mostly Religious, reading the Christmas Story, Lighting the Jesus Advent Candle and things of that nature. Help!”
Progressive people of faith walk a fine line. On one hand, we want to be respectful of other people’s beliefs and practices. On the other hand, we don’t want to be so respectful that, in the process, we become completely invisible to others.
So how do we walk the fine line?
There are many ways to approach the situation. Here is what I would do. I would let all my family members know what traditions I am observing and at approximately what time. Those who want to participate in my traditions – or support me in the observance of those traditions – are welcome to come. Those who do not want to participate in the observance of the traditions – or can’t extend the dignity and respect toward myself and my traditions – are welcome to come either before or after those times.
I’ve used that approach many times – in a variety of situations – and had great success. It’s a way of both acknowledging and honoring the beliefs of others while still acknowledging and honoring YOUR beliefs. You should NOT make yourself invisible – and completely miss out on those things that you hold nearest and dearest to your heart – simply due to worries about others. To do so would be incredibly codependent.
How about you? What issue(s) or insights does Cheri’s question raise for you?