60-FACING SOCIETY

At 21 years of age, as planned, our imaginary young couple has decided to commit to marriage and have children. At this time, they are both in the final year of their respective bachelor’s degree. She has been accepted at a veterinary school, and he is to start his internship with a local architectural firm the following year.

Since the architectural firm and the veterinary school happen to be in the city where their parents live, and since all four parents are anxious to have grandchildren, they will go ahead and have their first child in the summer months prior to her entering veterinary school. With so many available and willing babysitters, having her first child at that time will not interfere with her studies.

Their first child turned out to be a boy, and the next few years were pure bliss as they got more involved in their individual fields of study and worked at making the third member of the family team feel welcome. Four years later, they had a girl. It was also the time to get the boy ready to face the world, that is to enter primary school.

They soon realized how awesome a challenge it was to have a child integrate the outside world. The traditional Judeo-Christian education system was not in sync with what he was being taught at home, and it had to be countered in three main areas: religion, evolution and reproduction. After meeting with the school principal, they were relieved to find that he did not believe in nor promote creationism. Having raised him to be confident in what he believes, the child will be able to handle the disturbing effects of religious thought on his own, in the classroom and the schoolyard.

The 5-year-old has been introduced to Charles Darwin’s laws of natural selection and knows that all living things on earth have evolved from a common source of life and that humans belong to the ape family. He knows that all living things like trees, fish, birds, and bears, and natural inanimate things like prairies, mountains and rivers are interconnected, and if all thrive, people thrive. He also knows that because humans are the only intelligent beings, they have the responsibility of protecting all the other living things along with their habitats.

He knows that when humans broke the time barrier and became intelligent a very long time ago, they became aware of their mortality and were overcome with fear. In trying to appease the spirits and the natural forces that were now perceived as supernatural threats, they invoked them in thousands of ways. When loved ones died, in order to show respect and make sure the spirit of the deceased was given time to leave the body and reach the world of spirits safely, they were interred. Some 5000 years ago, religious myths started being put to paper, and the child realizes that it was an effective way to deal with the fears relating to death and the after world. Judaism was the first religion to be set to paper, followed by the eastern religions, but it was Christianity created in 325 CE that gave us the world we find ourselves in today, notwithstanding the fact that Islam, created several centuries later, does play an important role in the world, especially in the Middle East.

The child knows that though Judaism, Christianity and Islam all lay claim to one God, each group has a different prophet, namely Abraham, Jesus-Christ and Mohammed, to interpret His will. And because each group thinks his prophet knows best and is willing to fight the others to prove it, the boy has been told that it’s wise not to join these groups, and instead, to live at peace with the spirits of the natural world by respecting and protecting their habitats. Like his parents, he has a deep respect for Mother Nature, the giver of life, and like them, he believes that all matter is part of a whole. Like his parents he believes there is no hard and fast distinction between the spiritual and physical world, and that ‘soul’ is not limited to humans. All living things, all the mountains and rivers, all the seasons and forests, and all the natural entities have essence, and their presence affects our lives as we affect theirs.

Like his parents, he will speak softly and carry a big stick when challenged on troublesome religious topics. He’ll never refute one’s belief in a creator or a god, but if asked, he will clearly state that he believes that Mother Nature is all powerful, and though he doesn’t understand that force, he can easily observe it and respect it. He will never put down those who speak to their god through prayer, and he will not take sides regarding the different prophets. That should keep him out of trouble.

He has been told time and time again by both parents that he was dearly wanted, that he is loved and that he is an indispensable part of the family. He has been told that though he may not know as many things as his parents, he is surely as intelligent as they are, and perhaps more so. His parents will always guide him when making life choices, but he’s the one who has to make the final decision. His parents will support him unconditionally, and if ever he needs their help, they’ll defend him no matter what. If they disagree with the path he follows or the decisions he makes, they will clearly tell him why and refrain from passing judgment. They want to have him around for a very long time, and later, when he decides to create his own family, they want him to do what he loves doing for a living and to have a loving intimate partner with whom to share his life. If he succeeds, it will make them happy, especially if he has children and doesn’t live far away.