Yvette Warren is a grandmother and an ordained minister in the Universal Life Church. Her blog, which explores interfaith family values can be found at: One Family, Many Faiths
My children and their children inspire me to be a better person.
They give me hope for a future more sacred than that which my generation offered to them. Since their children have entered the teen years, my dialog with my children has been less frequent, but we will always have the voices of each other in our hearts and souls. Their spirits still keep me alive, no matter how much physical time, silence, or distance separates our earth-bound selves.
As a product of gross abuse and neglect, I embraced the upheavals of the sixties as an opportunity for me to learn how to be a better parent than the parenting that was offered by the old religious and societal models. I attended religious school for my full education, and was expected to marry and rear religious children.
My efforts to become a better person and mother required me to leave both my religion and my marriage, and to leave family and friends behind. This left me with only a high school diploma and no support system. My children were partially financially supported by their father, but I had nothing important left in my life other than the protection and guiding of my sacred offspring.
Despite many other adult objections to my methods of parenting, I continued to seek better avenues of understanding through dialog with my children. I also continued to seek professional therapy for better methods of communication skills. The only criteria I had for differences of opinion with my children was that we all be respectful of each other. My children continued to correct me when I was exhibiting unjust power plays. I thanked them for doing so, and rewarded them by being a fun mom when they didn’t force me to pull protective rank on them.My “religion” was my family. I still am “allergic” to one-sided dialogs of most religions, and my children and grandchildren follow their own spiritual paths. My daughter and her family are devoutly Christian; my son’s family seems to follow the “religion” of family and friend celebration. We do seem to all share a spirit of responsible compassion, beginning with our children and radiating outward to include others in our own committed communities. This is my definition of “religion.”
I have always been sure that children are not a gift from some invisible “God,” but a freely chosen obligation of people who may or may not have any functioning Sacred Spirit. I was not a fully functional adult when I bore my first child, but I accepted my sacred responsibility because I couldn’t bear the burden of guilt if I led my children to “sin.” The Sacred Spirits of my children always set me back on the path to pursuit of peace.
Throughout my time of borrowing these talented sacred souls, I contended that I would never know whether I had succeeded as a parent, which I believe to be the most sacred mission anyone is ever given, until my children are taking care of their own charges. Based on what I see in my children’s families and their impact on their communities, I feel that the Sacred Spirit that I sought is alive and well in this world. It is now being radiated and expanded by two generations that come after me, with better sacred skills than I had.
I live to see them succeed at The Sacred in themselves and those they touch. I would love to believe that all generations will call me blessed, but I probably blew that chance when I encouraged my children not to worship my motherhood.