Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sibling Solidarity

(This is another personal post that will likely upset some readers.)

I love my kids. Sure they can frustrate the hell out of me sometimes but I still love them. I didn’t enjoy being a teenager and I can tell that my two teenagers aren’t exactly digging it either. It seems that most of their troubles come from peer pressure; so-called friends attacking them, frequently physically, for their opinions and beliefs and trying to get them to just go along with the crowd. What’s really upsetting to them is that most of this criticism comes from people whom they think should know better, members of our church. As a parent few thing make me more proud than when one kid stands up for the other, especially in a situation where they really don’t have anything to gain my doing it. We had just such a situation last night. And although it was very traumatic for her, I couldn’t have been more proud of my oldest daughter.
A little back history: Aaron hasn’t been attending church at our ward for the better part of a year now. He has been arranging, on his own, to get rides back and forth from the Brocket Ward. He gets along with the kids in that ward better, they accept him and genuinely love him. In stark contrast, the kids in our ward tease him, call him a Satanist and frequently physically assault him. In his own words it is rather ironic that the least spiritual hours of his week are spent at church. He doesn’t participate in the Varsity scout program on Wednesday night. We’ve moved him to another troop that is a real community troop where sharing the same religious upbringing is not a requirement to hold positions. He gets along much better with these guys. On Wednesday he even arranges for rides over to Brockett to hang out with the kids from that ward that he gets along with so well. In the entire time that he has been attending that Ward only one person from our ward has asked about Aaron. He was genuinely concerned and I thanked him for caring and not forgetting about him. Not a single other person has given us the slightest clue that they’ve even noticed his absence. In stark contrast, the leaders from Brockett comment to us about how they enjoy having him there and miss him when he’s gone.
Well last night I dropped Rachel off at the church for her Young Women’s activity. She typically doesn’t have the same issues as Aaron so I was a little surprised when Victoria brought her home and she was in tears. I asked her what was wrong. Rachel then proceeded to ask if she too could attend Brockett Ward rather than our ward. Apparently even in his absence Aaron is still a topic of conversation. A few of the kids were making fun of him and it really upset Rachel. I found a bit odd that their primary criticism of Aaron is that he “believes in evolution”. Rachel has never been one to gossip and hence she refused to tell me which kids were involved. But she did say that it really surprised her because she had though that these kids were above that. Apparently she had spent half of the meeting outside crying and just waiting for us to come pick her up.
Rachel didn’t openly defy these kids, that’s just not her style, but she did refuse to be a part of what they were doing. They still fight like, well brothers and sisters, but when the chips are down it’s really nice to see them standing up for what they know is right. Rachel didn’t want to tell anybody, especially Aaron, about what happened. I thought that he needed to hear it. After he was dropped off from his activity at Brockett we talked about it and he gave his little sister a nice big hug.

I chose to post this in order to add my name to Rachel’s. I stand behind my family. You criticize one of us you criticize us all. And we won’t tolerate it.

As far as the chief complaint lobbied again Aaron goes, Evolution is a fact. Get used to it. It used to be a theory but it has long ago graduated to a fact as far as I am concerned. I would even go so far as to say that evolution is more of a fact than gravity. Gravity is still lacking a clear definition of how it works. Like evolution gravity has been tested and tested and tested thousands of times but gravity is still lacking a carrier. We don’t quite know how it works. We have hypothesized the existence of the graviton, but haven’t actually seen one. In contrast we have found DNA and natural selection, the elements that make evolution work. So in a very real sense there is more evidence supporting evolution than gravity. In the past when people have asked me if I “believe” evolution I’ve had to rephrase their question in my answer. Because belief requires faith I don’t think it applies to evolution. Faith is a belief without evidence or even in spite of the evidence. You just aren’t looking if you don’t see evidence of evolution. So I respond something like this, “I accept the overwhelming evidence that life evolved via natural selection.”

"If science proves some belief of Buddhism wrong, then Buddhism will have to change. In my view, science and Buddhism share a search for the truth and for understanding reality." The Dalai Lama
Wise words. It's a shame more people don't apply this same idea to thier own beliefs. I'm glad my kids are.


  1. I hate when people get violent or mean over differing beliefs. I saw some recent photos of Christians physically attacking members of a Vodou (voodoo) gathering in Haiti. The congressmen who voted for the health care bill are being threatened and physically intimidated. It's just wrong. I overheard a guy at my college arguing with someone and he was saying something about the Nazis not being all bad. A couple of guys tried to jump him. Me and another guy protected him and told them that he can say any damn stupid thing he wants. Feel free to ridicule him but don't beat him up. Turns out the guy that helped me was Jewish and thought the guy was a moron, but wasn't about to let a fight break out.

    Sorry to hear about the problems your kids are having. They're learning the hard way that dogmatic beliefs are always a bad thing.

  2. Oh man, that just breaks my heart. I'm sorry about all of this. Your story has really touched us and we've been talking a lot about why kids do that and how we can raise our kids to be better than that. It frustrates me that this would happen in our ward, where our youth seem so strong. I appreciate and admire your kids for thinking outside the box and for daring to be different. I think you're a great family and I'm sorry we couldn't have been one of the ones to ask about Aaron. Unfortunately the only thing we notice in church is how rambunctious our boys are in the very back row. Thanks for the reminder though, to be more aware. We love you guys and hope and pray that this works out for the best. Please don't leave our ward :( Please! Pretty please!

  3. Oh and I also wanted to say that Rachel is so awesome to look out for her brother like that. What a girl. She rocks! Way to be kiddo!

  4. Krista, I'm pretty sure none of the offenders read my blog. If they have in the past I'm sure I've scared them away with my radical views.
    No apologies necessary. I know yall have your hands full and you guys have been more than gracious to our family. We love you guys too.
    And yes, Rachel does rock. It was obviously bittersweet but I couldn't have been more proud of her.

  5. Unreal.

    I used to see this kind of stuff go on in the chat rooms (having been a devotee for three years, I've seen the good, the bad and the truly dispicable), but I would never think that it would be done with such vitriol out in the real world.

    Very sad to hear that people can be so close minded at such a young age, but by the same token, very heartening to hear how your daughter stuck up her brother.

    When the chips are down, blood is truly thicker than water (sorry about the cliche).

  6. "Growing up it all seems so one-sided
    Opinions all provided
    The future pre-decided
    Detached and subdivided
    In the mass production zone
    Nowhere is the dreamer or the misfit so alone"