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I was raised a Catholic….kind of lightly.

By the time I came along, discipline (and belief) had waned. Parents had more important things to deal with. But I was a young person who probed, asked questions, and sought to understand more by learning broadly. I wasn’t going to go to church because that’s what priors did. I always wanted to know the why. And I was willing to listen and learn. I was willing to probe and question.

My mom was truly raised a Catholic. She went to church, spoken in Latin. She had to wear a hat because women were required to. She ate only fish on Friday’s and trained as a nurse at Mercy Hospital with the nuns. She went to mass more during her education than most do in their world, daily, more than I could ever imagine.

This isn’t a religious post. I value anyone’s religious beliefs (or none) because that is as personal as your core values.

And that matters. I respect anything you believe.

But for me, I believed in a universal power of good. I believe in community. I believe in love and brotherhood of man. I believe people are born pure and loving. And my scientific studies showed me that the world is not random chaos. It’s too ordered. It’s too interconnected. It’s – to me – the most magical hypothesis that anyone could ever imagine. The miracle of birth alone is astounding or an acorn becoming a giant tree. I love when Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, describes the miracle of a brilliant flower blossoming from a thin, green stem. How extraordinary is the metamorphosis of a butterfly?

It just makes me believe that there must be something to it, something more.

I raised my sons Catholic. It’s what I knew.

And when we sat, side-by-side, in the pews on Sunday mornings learning how we could be better, how we could try harder, how we could love our fellow man – somehow, I knew this meant something. I was humbled. I was grateful. Often, I was moved to tears when choir voices sang, especially on Christmas Eve. This certainly wasn’t hurting us and how we engaged with the world.

And then my sons, as smart and free thinkers, began to question.

And I responded.

But never as an authority.

I’m not an authority. I’m a seeker as they are.

And as their thoughtful, respectful questions grew, I only felt good. All I could do is bring my kids to the table. But surely as anything, I brought my sons up to be free thinkers. Smart and informed, to me, is everything. And my kids researching on their own, coming to their own conclusions, was the way it should be in my mind.

We can be wrong. We can make incorrect assumptions. And we all can change. But all of this comes from thinking, questioning, engaging others who think differently than us, so we can even come to our conclusions.

Without listening to others, and probing and asking questions, we cannot come to our own thoughtful beliefs. We need differing histories, thoughts, opinions to get closer to our own truth.

This exchange with one another is necessary… bring forth the best each of us can possibly be.

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