Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Building Solomon's Temple

I once had a friend post the question, "What is your greatest pet peeve?" on her Facebook page. Most of the responses were the type you'd expect-- people who don't park straight, people who leave their shopping carts in the parking lot, putting the toilet paper roll on upside down, people who put the eggs back in the carton after cracking them, or in my case sleeping with wrinkles in my sheets... oh I hate that!

One person though left a comment that has given me a lot of thought since. She said her biggest pet peeve was parents who indoctrinate their children with their personal religious and belief system before they are old enough to be able to decide for themselves what they think is true. She was very passionate about this and felt that children should be given the opportunity to explore lots of different religious beliefs and traditions and not be brainwashed into thinking one was right or better than another. She felt that parents who did this were irresponsible and were denying their children opportunity for authentic thought and decision making. 

In some ways I agreed with her. I think it is important for kids (and adults for that matter) to be familiar with lots of different religious beliefs and to explore their own personal faith independently of what their parents or their family believes or has taught them. The last thing that I want as a parent is children who are "brainwashed" into following something they don't have passion for or a testimony of. I want my children to have a variety of spiritual experiences and a broad understanding of the ways in which God can, and is, worshiped. 

Yet on the other hand I also had to disagree with her. I don't think that it is wrong for parents to indoctrinate, teach, instill, train, influence, school, implant, and drill core beliefs, values and teachings until they go blue in the face. There are few things more important for a parent to do then to be active in shaping the character, values, and dreams of the future generation. I think that what the woman on Facebook was forgetting is that children don't live in a bubble and that they are always being indoctrinated and influenced by something or someone. It isn't irresponsible to make choices about which messages you want to be the loudest in your children's lives. 

These thoughts really surfaced the other night when I was reading in 1 Chronicles about the preparations King David made before his death. I knew that, even though he wanted to, David wasn't allowed by the Lord to build a temple and that it was his son Solomon who built the magnificent temple in Jerusalem. I'd always just assumed that Solomon was just a very good son who shared his father's vision and wanted to build what he was never able to. What I didn't realize is how much David did before his death to ensure that the temple would be built and that Solomon and his kingdom would be successful.