Last week I was making cookies (I know this sounds very June Cleaver of me, but really, I am just a chubby girl who wanted cookies at the end of a looong week) and Banjo asked me, out of nowhere,
"What's the difference between Mormons and Catholics?"
I paused for just a second to consider a preface before I launched in to my Return Missionary speech, carefully outlining our differences.
I replied, "I'll tell you 5 things that are different as long as I can tell you 10 things that are the same."
She liked that idea and so I went through a sort of list with her, first explaining some fundamental doctrinal differences, but then showing her that we also have a lot in common.
Moving from the East Coast to the Land of Mormons was an adjustment for our kids. In Philadelphia my redheads were the only Mormons in their entire elementary school. When the school had parents sign up to bring Iced Tea for parties, I would bring lemonade. Banjo didn't mind, she was in 1st grade at the time, but Chicken hated feeling different. As a third grader, she had more desperation to fit in and she begged me to not bring lemonade and call attention to our differences.
I want my kids to always remember that there are good, kind, and amazing people of all different faiths. I want them to focus on what we have in common, not just the ways in which we are different. Since we moved here to be near family, we will likely stay for good. But who knows what life will bring to our kids as they reach adulthood? They may move away and be in the minority again. I want them to be able to go anywhere and become good friends with neighbors and acquaintances of all faiths, colors, and backgrounds, without first stopping to consider the ways in which they are different.
And even if they stay in Utah I want them to always remember that people holding a coffee mug may very well be more spiritual than they are. I want them to remember that tattoos and tank tops don't define someone's worth. I want them to look at all of God's children and celebrate what we share. To look for common ground and also to embrace what's different.
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