55-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 both 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.

The 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, just before launching their professional careers, they had a girl, and the family team was getting ready to face the world.

The boy was about to start school, and they quickly realized how awesome a challenge that was. 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 satisfied that he did not believe in nor promote creationism, and therefore, the child would be able to hold 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 come from a common life source that split up into different families. 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. Overcome with fear, they tried to appease the spirits that surrounded them by invoking 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. However, when writing came along some 5000 years ago, religious myths and doctrine started being put to paper in order to deal more effectively with the fears relating to death and afterlife. Judaism was the first monotheistic religion to be set to paper. Christianity followed around 4000 years later, and Islam 700 years after that. Though these three religions 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 its 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.

He also knows that all living things are forced to eat, drink, breathe and reproduce. He knows how plants, bees and salmons reproduce, and although he knows he comes from his mom’s belly, he doesn’t yet know how that happens. In time, he will be told how his body will be transformed and forced to reproduce just like all other living things. For now, his parents are dreading the moment he will start asking pointed questions, but when he does, he will get precise answers. He will be told that giving life is the most awesome thing one can do. He’s been told that though many people abuse that privilege, those who understand and respect it are certain of having a fulfilled life.

Like his parents, he will speak softly and carry a big stick when challenged on those questions. 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 he respects it. He will never put down those who speak to god through prayer, and he will not take sides regarding the different prophets. That should keep him out of trouble in the school yard.

He has been told time and time again by both parents that he was always wanted, that he is loved and that he is an indispensable part of the family. He has always been told that he may not know as many things as his parents, but he is surely as quick witted as they are, and perhaps even more so. So, he is to make his own choices in life, and his parents will always be there to help him and defend him no matter what he does. If they disagree with the path he follows or the decisions he makes, they will tell him so, and why. If and when they give their advice on a given matter, he knows it will be with his well-being in mind. 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 be doing what he loves to do for a living and have someone intimate to share his life with. If he has a good life, it will make them happy, especially if he has children and doesn’t live far away.

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