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April 19, 2012 - Image 32

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-04-19

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A Guide For Raising
Compassionate Kids

for Goldfish Swim School's
Annual Safety Day Event!

With a focus on water safety for families, our
Safety Day Event will also include free famil
swim, food, and lots of fun activities for
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Are you opening - or closing - your
children's hearts?


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SUNDAY, APRIL 22, 2012
2-5 PM

Tickets: $12 in advance; $15 at the door.

Admission includes: Access to more than 79 artists
studios in 10 departments.

+ Entrance to Cranbrook Art Museum and Opening Day

of the "2012 Graduate Degree Exhibition".

+ Family Events, Performances and Demonstrations in
the Big Top.

+ Entrance to Cranbrook Institute of Science.

For more information, tickets, and parking directions:
www.cranbrook.edu or Art Events at 248-645-3040.



Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum
39221 Woodward Avenue
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48303

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0 1 1

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April 19 a 2012


here are only two ways to
walked to another aisle. As she passed
raise your children: You either me, I heard her say to her son, "We
shut them down or you open
don't talk to those people. They don't
them up.
believe in Jesus:'
If you shut them down you raise
Religion is often a means for
them in a zero-sum world of winners
closed-heartedness, and parallel sto-
and losers. You teach them
ries could be found in any
that the world is a pie of
faith. Because religious
fixed size, and that if they
stories are some of the most
want more they must see
personality-shaping stories
that others have less or per-
we humans tell, we must
haps nothing at all. This is a
examine them to see what
fearful world of endless and
kind of children we are rais-
often violent competition
ing when we tell them these
and retribution; a world
of haves and have-nots; a
A few months ago, I met
world of us versus them
with a small gathering of
Rabbi Rami
where the ends (the success
Muslim and Christian cler-
of us) justify the means
gy to draft a statement con-
Special to the
(whatever secures the fail-
demning religious violence.
Jewish News
ure of them).
We had no problem doing
If you open your children
this as long as the violence
up you raise them in a nonzero-sum
was this-worldly, but when I suggested
world where abundance is the norm,
we also condemn the eternal torture
and while there will still be winners
of nonbelievers (who are really only
and losers — those who have more
differently believing believers) in the
and those have less — it is not a world world to come, I found myself in a
that allows some to have nothing. This
minority of one. If God wants to burn
is a world rooted in compassion rather people for believing what they believe
than competition; a world of us and
that is His business, I was told. So
them rather than a world of us versus
yes, we should avoid telling our chil-
dren that our God condones violence
Are you parenting opened hearts or
against those who believe differently
closed hearts? One
than we do, but we
way to know is to
should tell them that
analyze the stories
God will do just that
you share with your
when they die.
children. I'm not
Of course, religion
talking about the
isn't the only source
storybooks you read
of heart-closing
to your kids, though
stories. Politics,
these, too, need to be
nationalism, ethnic-
looked at; I'm talking
ity, race can all be
about the stories you
used to this end.
teach them through
And what all these
your faith and your
heart-closing stories
dealings with others.
have in common is
The other day I
that they demonize
was in a discount
the other.
store walking down
a toy aisle. Two kids were eyeing the
What Do You Teach?
action figures. Both boys were with
So what stories are you telling your
their moms, one of whom was dressed children?
in a manner that identified her as a
When you see a homeless person
Muslim. The little Muslim boy picked
is your story "there but for the grace
up a toy and turned to show it to the
of God go I," or do you talk about the
other boy who moved closer to get a
power of negative thinking, or do you
better look. As the boy moved closer,
talk about justice and injustice, and
his mom, who had been holding his
our obligations to the poor? None of
hand, yanked him back, turned and
these stories stops you from giving

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