Over the last four years my life has changed for the better with the addition of my two beautiful daughters. Their birth has triggered many questions and provide few answers. Most importantly, how did my parents do it? How did they keep three boys mostly out of trouble? After four years of thought I think I have found a credible explanation. It is one which I think I intuitively knew but resisted. It was not luck. It was community. It was the village. It was hard work.
Being in a household with structure is vital and essential. But having room to discover the world is where the real growth occurs. The religious structure of Seventh-Day Adventism was conservative and liberal rolled into one. The triple focus on the Advent, education and health made the development of good habits not a choice but the obligation. These habits have served me, my brothers and many very well. Adventism for us was about understanding but the return of Christ is promised, but while on earth it is our responsibility to be well-educated so we can sensibly discuss our faith and treat our bodies as the Temple of Christ.
I was not a very attentive student and one of my sixth grade teachers gave me a book on the Solar System. I discovered the universe and all the questions that come with the smallness of humanity in the grand scheme of things. That sparked many questions, which included questions about the value of religion. Gladly my parents were tolerant. They understood the value of curiosity. They allowed me the room to discover the world within the bounds of God, School and Health. My values are defined and in concert with Adventism, but I am not chained to it. That freedom within limits is what sustains me to this day.
I know my parents are sometimes troubled by my outlook on religion, but it is that religious liberalism of Adventism that has led me to questions. The conservative structure of Adventism is blended with a true environmentalism. Adventism can claim truthfully that we were the first among organized religion that to realize that conservation the planet is the true work of man. We have from the founding of the movement recognized that the Lord has provide us a home that we are responsible to Him to protect. Vegetarianism is the best way to converse the planet and simultaneously treat our bodies as the temples they are. I am and will always hold true to the fundamentals of my up bringing and strive to inculcate the same in my girls. God, Education and Health.
Take a good look into your life and pull those truths out and live them. Our parents knew something. They did raise successful children. Thanks mom and dad. All that is mine is your. Love you forever.