I have alluded to my mother’s influence on my spiritual development. While the spiritual development was intentional I am not sure my parents ever realized how much impact their lives had on my social-cultural development. It was a lifestyle that they lived as opposed to a belief system that was taught to us in words.
The church was the centerpiece of our lives. Drawing from her own lack of religious education my mother’s conversion to Christianity created w new value system for her family. She led by example, writing scriptures on index cars and propping them on her matching at the factory, memorizing them all day long as she worked. She also knew the trouble friends can lure young people into and so she ensured out social life was centered at the church. We grew up attending multiple services on Sunday, church sports groups like bowling and baseball leagues on Monday, Awana on Tuesday and Thursday and youth activities on the weekends. Our summer vacations were spent attending and volunteering at church camps. When it was time for college it was understood that we would be attending private Christian colleges. Although there were times that each of my siblings left the church I can say with pride now that each has returned to a corporate community of faith although we each worship in a different protestant denomination that the one in which we were raised.
There was no intentional training in social or cultural beliefs. However, the actions we witnessed every day formed those values in our lives. My family was mixed race but it was never addressed as such. We were told my father was American Indian descent, a myth that would continue until just a year ago. After my son did...
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...hen my sisters divorced they paid for lawyers, relocation and whatever else they needed. I suffered severely from Good Child Syndrome and stayed in an unhappy abusive marriage for 28 years, only having the courage to leave after both my parents were deceased. My brother who remained in his one and only marriage was portrayed as a traitor who embraced his wife’s family while deserting his own. I appreciate the spirit that taught me to love all and to cross societal stereotypes regarding race, class and social welfare even when they did not understand why I became who I did. I understand that my mother’s own upbringing and struggle with mental illness led to some of the seemingly conflict between belief and behavior. Cheney encourages us to “Pray to God that you can accept the bits and pieces in humility and wonder, and never question and never regret”.
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