Monday, May 07, 2007

Children's Opinions

Yesterday during one of our church meetings a few of the speakers spoke about how negative the PBS special was. They went on to testify that the church will always have this kind of persecution. At that point Aaron, who had watched all 4 hours of the PBS special, leaned over and simply asked me, "What persecution?"
Aaron has always loved history. He has his own, well formed opinions about morality, religion, politics and social issues. Many of his opinions are not the same as mine. When he comes to me for advice or to ask me questions, rather than tell him what I believe I tend to just ask him questions instead. Well what do you think? Do you agree with that? How would you do things differently? My intent is to assist him to define his own opinions before he hears mine. Then after I have helped him better define what he already believes we can have an honest discussion about why some people, even I, may believe differently. I believe that this strategy has helped him to respect others’ opinions.
After church we discussed the comments he heard in church. With Aaron’s passion for history he has learned the real definition of the word persecution. Hitler persecuted the Jews. He saw no parallel at all to what Hitler did and a simple TV documentary that spoke about a few embarrassing historical facts that the perpetrators would rather sweep under the rug.
Aaron’s political views typically lean a bit more liberal than either of his parents. That’s probably typical for a socially conscious 12-year old. I frequently have to pull him aside when I see him getting into political debates with friends and family members. Most of the time the only reason I pull him aside is because I see a situation where he understands both sides of the issues so well and the other person is just parroting their parents. It was with this same intent that I cautioned him about getting into discussions on the PBS special with his friends at church.
Throughout my life and especially the last five years people have always been comparing me to my father. I enjoy the comparison so long as they are comparing physical traits or my thirst for knowledge and insight that Rog instilled in me. When the comparison turns sour on me is when people assume that our paths have brought me to the same conclusions as my father. I know dad would not want me to be simply a parrot of his opinions and ideas. I respect his opinions even when they differ from mine. This is the same that I hope for my children. I will respect any opinion that they develop as long as they come to their conclusions honestly and not simply adopting somebody else beliefs without scrutiny, even mine.

1 comment:

  1. It seems that words are becoming completely devoid of meaning. We can look at our own history to see real persecution. I wonder what early members of the church who experienced real persecution would think of the casual use of the term to describe anything that doesn't show the church in a rosy light.