When Holidays Converge – A Teachable Moment
I breathe a sigh of relief today as my children return to school from Spring Break and our routines resume. Before the hectic pace kicks in, though, it’s worth considering the confluence of events that just took place. President Obama’s weekly address to the nation recognized this – “to call on people of all faiths and nonbelievers to remember our shared spirit of humanity. All people know the value of work, health, education, and community. This week is a time to be mindful of this common bond which is at the heart of all the world’s great religions.”
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I’m struck that the President exhorted Americans this week “to be mindful.” The big, tough, divisive issues aren’t going away anytime soon. But as parents who want better for our children, one of the best things we can do is “to be mindful” and try to introduce as much peace in their turbulent lives as we can. We can talk about the convergence of holidays over the past few days – whether we celebrated an Easter mass, hid plastic eggs, shared a Seder, rejoiced for the final day of eating Matzo, shared a picnic for the last day in the ancient Iranian rite of Spring, cheered at a regatta, survived an earthquake, or dusted off a bicycle. This conversation recognizes differences. It also gives a sense of belonging – to a human family. Talking with our children around concepts that don’t fit so neatly in one little box, but begin to touch on issues like unity, diversity, respect, grace, devotion, and tradition help equip them more capably as actors in a vibrant democracy. Likewise, exploring The Golden Rule as expressed in various faiths helps show that at the root, we share basic values. These conversations can help them gain a better sense of their own identity; so questions like “who am I and why am I here?” can be explored by thinking about “who are they and why do they think they are here?”
The convergence of multiple holidays serves as a teachable moment, to launch an on-going exploration of what matters with our kids. So, take a deep breath, be mindful, and talk about it – even as the busy-ness of life creeps in again.
Homa Sabet Tavangar is the author of Growing Up Global: Raising Children to Be At Home in the World. She is the mother of three aspiring world citizens, ranging in age from 6 to 16.