Monday, January 28, 2008
Celebration of Abraham
I am ever hoping to instill a sense of acceptance, love and moral responsibility in my children. Along this vein we try and expose Ari and now Devyn to situations that encourage this lesson. Sunday afternoon was one of those occasions. We went to the Celebration of Abraham here in Davis. It was started after 9/11 as a way to help the religious community build a foundation of respect and tolerance based on what they have in common. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, in that I was hoping for a little more interaction and more of what our common beliefs in Abraham are. What did happen was that a speaker from each of the major religions, Islam, Judaism and Christianity all spoke on acceptance and diversity really, but not really on our commonality. I think we all too often, me included, only see how we are different from those around us. Ari was definitely bored at the event and Devyn got fussy, but I’d like to believe that just getting them to things like this at this young age will inspire them to seek out the opportunities to love and accept their neighbors who are not necessarily like them.
I have to admit that I don’t know much about other religions and have never taken the time or opportunity to learn as much as I would like, unfortunately. Last year however, we decided to go to “Fast for a Day” an event put on by the Muslim Student Association at UC Davis to help the community better understand and be able to participate in the celebration of Ramadan. I was eight months pregnant at the time and therefore didn’t participate in the fasting aspect, but even Ari was willing to try (she didn’t make it by the way, but I was proud of her for being willing to give it a shot). For those of you that don’t know, during the month of Ramadan followers of Islam are to fast during daylight hours to show self-discipline and to reject worldly desires. The program was fascinating to me, I think my favorite part was the “singing” of the prayer in what I assume was Hebrew. I was surprised at what a spiritual experience it was for me. Even though I don’t share the same beliefs as Muslims, I felt the Spirit in that room. It was another testament to me that Heavenly Father loves each and every one of his children. All the women covered their heads during the prayers and I felt bad that I didn’t do so myself, only because I had nothing to cover my head with. We had to leave early because Ari had already made plans with a friend for that evening so we didn’t get to stay to the dinner portion, but we will definitely be going back next year and I’m looking forward to staying for the whole thing next time. Oh, and I will also be bringing a scarf to cover my head out of respect. I’m glad I’m able to let Ari experience some of these things at a young age so she has a better understanding of those around her, an understanding that I’m only being to achieve in my thirties. I love that she has had many opportunities in her young life to be exposed to children around her of many different, races, ethnicities and religions and I only hope that I can be a contributing factor in helping her to continue to accept each and every one for who they are. Next I need to find an event that will help me learn more about Judaism, and other Christian religions for that matter, as my knowledge is truly lacking.