Thursday, February 25, 2016

Teaching Kids to Respect Different Religions

Teaching Kids to Respect Different Religions

Religion is as diverse as it is personal to individuals, and in order to respect different faiths and religions it is important to have a good understanding of them. Whether you class your family as being religious or not, it’s important to teach your children the importance of respecting people of all different faiths and beliefs.  Whether you have a firm belief in a religion yourself or don’t hold to any particular religious belief, educating your children about the different religions and faiths which people follow can help to instill a deeper respect for diversity in them.

Understanding Your Own Spiritual Values

Before you can start to explain the different belief systems and values of other religions it’s important to have a good understanding of your own spiritual values and that of your family. If your family has a religious background, it’s important that you realize that this is a vital part of your family history and should be explained as such to your kids, regardless of whether you yourself still practice the religion personally. Children should be encouraged to learn about and compare other religions in a respectful way. Different theologies lead to various practices and celebrations, and it’s important that these differences be approached in a respectful and courteous manner rather than saying that ‘our way is right and theirs is wrong’.

Encourage Learning

Don’t leave it to your kids to figure out different religions for themselves; instead bring up conversation and encourage your children to ask questions and learn more about diversity of religion. For example, if your child has Muslim friends at school, you could bring this up in conversation and get them talking about the religion of Islam and its different practices and traditions. It’s important to help your child to understand that no matter which religion you follow personally, all religions have good things about them and moral standards which are useful in life. Teach your child to celebrate different religions as they are part of what makes individuals who they are. This website is an excellent resource for information about all different religions and can be a great tool to help you answer any questions that your kids might have.

Incorporate New and Old Rituals

If your family has a history with a certain religion, there will no doubt be certain religious rituals and traditions which you still partake in as a family unit. Incorporating new and old rituals and traditions can help to encourage your child to respect other religions and have an open mind regarding the traditions and culture of different faiths. Religious rituals create a spiritual framework along with warm family memories, so it’s important that you observe these old traditions as well as create new ones which people of all faiths can participate in. This allows you to accommodate for any friends of your children who follow different religions and demonstrate to your children how people of all religions can respect each other’s beliefs and get along in harmony.

Can you give any more guidance to parents who are looking to encourage their children to respect other religions? Let us know in the comments.
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