Image by Nicole Wilcox (Unsplash)
Two Christian women have asked me in the past month or two: how can I stop what happened to you in the church happening to my children?
Here’s my answer:
Teach them to listen to their intuition. Especially when it conflicts with what their mind is saying. Mind and body and spirit can be aligned. If they are not, investigate.
Teach them that they are safe in their own body. Teach them to listen to its wisdom.
Teach them that their self-expression is important. That they can speak up even if no one else is. That the obvious thing may not be obvious to everyone.
Teach them to think critically. Teach them the power of their ability to think, from all different possibilities. Teach them to argue from the other point of view. Especially in communities that have some kind of ‘teaching’.
Teach them to listen to others.
Teach them to challenge the wisdom they aren’t sure about. Teach them be bold in this. Teach them not to accept being brushed off.
Teach them to listen to themselves.
Teach them to disregard other people’s ideas when it doesn’t sit right with them. Teach them how to do it respectfully and politely, but also teach them how to be fierce when it’s needed.
Teach them that it’s ok to express anger.
Teach them that it’s ok to embody emotions.
Teach them that it’s ok to express their sexuality in a safe, conscious and self- and other- honouring way.
Teach them that it’s ok to ask for what you need - even if that need feels selfish.
Teach them to do as they would be done by and also how to have strong boundaries.
Teach them that you love them regardless of the path they choose.
Teach them to live with the questions, but also to decide for themselves.
Teach them to regard every human as equal. Teach them to do this regardless of what anyone else ever says to them.
Teach them to challenge their assumptions - particularly if they are about a member of a different gender or no identified gender.
Teach them that they always have a choice in how to respond to whatever comes their way.
Teach them that and how men and women are different - and show them how to treat members of the opposite sex, knowing those differences.
Introduce them to other belief systems. Explain you and they are different, and they get to choose.
How can we teach them all this, we ask?
By living it.
Explain when you make a mistake.