Tag Archives: faith

Parents & Adult Kids: Different Religious Beliefs

Can Christian (or any devout denomination) parents and their strayed-from-the-flock adult children just get along? There’s a lot of love under that thar roof…and mutual respect is sacred.    — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — I was raised Christian but no longer go to church, but my parents are still into it. When I go home to visit them, I don’t want them ramming their religion down my throat but it’s still their house, and I’ve never figured out how to let them know respectfully. I consider myself spiritual just not religious. I’m 28.  — Respectful Son

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Dear Respectful Son,

I have a lot of questions regarding your question. I cannot know if your parents are preaching at you throughout the visit and pushing you to go to church? Are you questioned on the state of your soul and your rightness with the Christian faith? I cannot tell from your question if you are being harangued, prodded or just extra sensitive to your parent’s preaching. So with the hope that rational, non-judgmental minds wanting only the best for each other will prevail in this situation, I’ll try to answer.

I can tell you that feeling like you can share all of who you are with the people you love, most especially your parents, really does wonders for your own sense of self. Think of it as a growth opportunity that allows you to be an adult—with your parents. Though this hurdle may feel insurmountable, the truth is when you do finally present who you are what you believe to your parents in a self-accepting, confident manner, you will feel better about yourself.

Chris Rock once said, “Secrets rot the soul.” I believe this to be true, whether the secrets are huge betrayals or any of the small ways we hold back from sharing who we really are and what we really believe to fit in. If you accept who you are and what you believe, though these beliefs may differ from your parents Christian faith, you truly stand as an adult, self-affirming. You don’t hold anything back, which means you allow yourself to shine—fully.

My thought, personally, is that all faiths speak to God in their own language. So, in my world, there is room for spiritual beliefs and Christian faith to co-exist. In your parents world, it may take a straight forward, non-judgmental conversation. Let them know that you appreciate the foundation you received, and your personal beliefs have shifted. You may expect at least one or two in-depth religious arguments, but if you remain compassionate, non-judgmental and open, you will represent yourself and your beliefs well.

As my Dad said after hearing I no longer went to church, “I don’t care what you believe, only that you believe in something.” So believe.

Be thyself. Fully. Don’t hold back.

Good luck,

GoodWitch

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Dear Respectful Son,

This is a very complex question fraught with issues, but it most makes me want to respond politically: Don’t let religion kill your family’s relationship and love for each other. To put a finer point on it, to my ears, this issue is less about religion or spirituality than it is family (of individuals) dynamics development.

1) You’re 28 and on your own. 2) Your religion doesn’t define you but does it your parents? Let’s start here.

1) You da man! You’re already out there, presumably, rocking your own adult identity and…have a life. No need to prove to your parents that your choices are your own and that you’re happy, at this stage in time. Your parents, in turn, should not feel attachment to or definitively act like they hold parental final say over your adult decisions. Ideally, they should have trusted their own parenting skills and step out of your Big Boy business.

2) You say you got closer to your spirituality when you dropped the organized religion portion of the program. I’m trying hard to advise you neutrally as this is exactly what happened to me, while my own parents are very much still into their religion they raised us in. However, I am clear how much their religion means to them, how much grace and peace they derive from it, and how much they identify with their religion. I genuinely respect their church for them. Are your parents similar to mine, and if so, can you respect their choice as you want them to yours?

Then there’s that large swath of in-between gray area including the difference between spirituality vs religious (again my personal decision was far more a political than religious one), and the “you’re under their roof” bit. Whether for the holidays or any other occasion, the main difference between being a visitor and an under-age kid in their legal and spiritual charge, is huge. I am religious for balance. Maybe you can feel comfortable being your own man under your parents’ roof by accompanying them to church for a service, while clearly (and without heightened emotion) asking them not to try to recruit you back into the flock. Perhaps they will feel secure enough to allow you to be the same great son they love sans a family-sanctioned label you choose not to wear. I don’t know. You’ll just have to talk it out honestly (and with the love of mutual respect) amongst yourselves. This will all have been especially great if you have children of your own one day; maybe you’ll find you’re the gen religiosity skipped!

If there’s anything I’ve learned from being a functional adult child of functional parents, it’s that on the big issues like religion, suddenly everyone’s lost their damn minds and partying like it’s 1979. Instead, you all need to check your calendars and start a new conversation that reflects who you are today. Understand yourselves as individuals. Update your family dynamics. (Right, like when my progressive and religious mom says to my not going to church, “Oh I see,” then starts up about the importance of churchgoing again, to which I reply in my most emotionally whole and spiritual, adult and updated voice, “I see.” Sigh.) It’s all about the love — believe in that.

Respect!, brothah,

BadWitch

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I See Green Chutes. Do You?

obama.econ.advsrsPresident Obama sees ’em. In his economy update last Tuesday in Georgetown, while wary to declare “good news” too certainly or too soon, he did say he and his economic team “are starting to see glimmers of hope.” Chair of Council for Economic Advisers, Christina Romer, said that while there will be inevitably more job losses and pain, she expressed hope that we could bottom out by Q3 or Q4 this year “and then actually, finally be on the upswing.” No on really knows anything, but how do YOU feel about things financial, nationally and personally?? Sound off in Comments. — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GW/BW – How do I keep a healthy economic outlook when all I’m hearing is gloom and doom? — Small Business Owner, Oakland, CA

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Dear Small Business Owner,

You ask a legitimate question in a loaded way. It sounds to me like you already believe a healthy economic outlook is an optimistic one, despite a storm of gloom and doom forecasting and media babbling. Here’s me supporting you: spread the seeds of confidence, the lack of it is a huge contributing factor to this crisis. Follow your actual (and useful) industry trends, but don’t watch the news in an unfocused way. Focus more on the micro pieces you can control, and just keep an informed eye on the macro ones you can’t. Keep doing what you do best. Run your business in the unique way only you can offer your clients and peers. Cut your costs, protect your assets, but also keep your eye out for opportunities this time of challenge might actually offer you. Stay focused on the right things, SBO. Keep your optimistic view alive through wise and realistic choices and business best practices I suspect you have already observed in the last down cycle.

Keep investing in the faith,

BW

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From GoodWitch:

Faith means believing in something you can’t feel or see or touch. It’s knowing in your heart that despite what the outward appearances tell you, something better is destined for you. In these times of economic transition, we need to hold on to faith that the good times will return, even though the news forecasts doom and gloom at every turn. Faith, self-reliance and common sense are needed right now. Take a deep breath, click your heels three times if you need to and remember, it may not look right now and it may not look like our perfect picture, but it will be all right. How do you know? Faith.

— GoodWitch

How do I keep a healthy economic outlook when all I’m hearing is gloom and doom? —Gloominous Doom

Dear Gloominous Doom,

Not to sound like your mother, but if everybody was jumping off a bridge, would you jump? We may think, of course not, but here we are unable to picture a bright beautiful new beginning for our economy because we keep hearing gloom and doom stories on the news, in the paper and from just about anyone else we’re willing to listen to. Stop! This is no time to jump just because everyone else is. Listen, everyone was sure the Titanic was unsinkable. Did that make it so?

It is time to remember that the Great Depression was quite the opportunity for many people. Rockefeller, Odlum, Keynes all made hundreds of millions during the Great Depression. What does this mean? Crisis can actually mean opportunity if you stay grounded, hold on to the possibility of a better tomorrow and keep sharp for sows ears that can be refurbished into silk purses.

Our economy is going through a HUGE transition. Corrections must be made. The wealth must be distributed more equitably. Now is the time when someone with gumption, foresight and the drive to make it can create new wealth for themselves. Bootleggers, like the Kennedy’s, made HUGE family fortunes during the Depression. Keep your eyes open. If you believe you can create better for yourself than what you’ve seen on the news about rising unemployment and plummeting stock prices, you can.

Sound all rose colored glasses to you? It shouldn’t. Life is cyclical. Sometimes we’re up and sometimes we’re down. This is economically as well as in any other area of life. The trick is to stay optimistic during the down times that a positive outcome is possible. John D. Rockefeller said, “These are days when many are discouraged. In the 93 years of my life, depressions have come and gone. Prosperity has always returned and will again.” And, let’s face it, he made out all right during the Depression.

Listen, the future won’t fix itself without some hard work on our parts, some tough decision-making and, quite frankly, a heaping helping of faith that the down part of the cycle will eventually come up again. Do the work. Start that business on the side that has been your life-long dream. Remember that designer labels don’t make you likeable or lovable. Get rich schemes usually only work for the Madoff who came up with the scam in the first place. Save where you can and plan on a better day. And, at least a couple nights a week, turn off the news. Focus on what you want to create for yourself and let yourself out of the societal box of “this is how you get rich” or “I need to do this to be accepted.” All bets are off now. It’s up to you, your creativity, your own hard work and the opportunities you can carve out for yourself to move forward to a better tomorrow.

Remember your optimism and, please, try to play nice with the other weary travelers on the road.

Believe to achieve,

GW

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