Diversity is something that makes the world an exciting place. Growing up, I was fascinated by the diversity of religions. I also questioned religion when I got caught up in the nuances while learning about each one. However, focusing on the common theme of many religions in the belief of something larger than us with emphasis on kindness, giving, and values helped me find comfort while learning about many of them.
I grew up Lutheran.
And I always assumed my primary religious holidays for my future family would be Christmas and Easter. I went through all the steps growing up. I attended Sunday school and proudly received my first communion. There are many fond memories of Sunday school teachers, Easter egg hunts, seemingly always being the donkey in the Christmas pageants, and my siblings and I trying to entertain each other as we sat still in services. Going to the 10 pm Christmas Eve service past my bedtime felt like a treat. Although I wouldn’t admit it at times as a kid, I enjoyed every moment of it. I would then force myself to stay awake to try and catch my parents bringing up the presents from the basement to put under the tree.
Fast forward to my adult life and one child later.
I am blessed to be working on forming an interfaith family. My husband Scott also has many fond memories of growing up Jewish ranging from high holiday dinners, temple with family, and birthright to Israel. I got to become part of these traditions, pulling out our plague masks for Passover, looking for the afikomen, throwing bread into the ocean on Rosh Hashanah, and dipping apples into honey for a sweet new year. Our family has now become one of celebrating many holidays and attending both temple and church at various times.
People sometimes ask me if I think this will be confusing for my child. And I go back to remembering that many religions share similar core values. She will be getting a lesson in faith from two perspectives. When Scott and I got married, we always said we must remember what our core values are. Two of those are family and traditions. In order to give those core values to our daughter, we emphasize the family traditional holiday celebrations and morale instilled by both religions.
Perhaps my daughter will also get caught up in the nuances as she grows. But I feel questioning these beliefs is part of growing up. She will one day form her own opinions and beliefs and my hope is that by celebrating all these holidays she will cultivate her belief system around embracing diversity, being a kind person, and wanting to make this world a better place. We can all learn a thing or two using lessons coming from different religions. I hope to have a diverse table of her friends at many holidays in the future to continue to learn from others!
With An Open Learning Mind,