Did you poison your kids?

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Twenty-five years ago, I took my kids to every place of worship from Baha’i to Zoroastrian and everyone in between, including the LGBTQ church. We would have gone to an Atheist gathering if there was one. However, they are familiar with the Athiest thinking; indeed, my daughter is ahead of me on the knowledge about Atheism.

This picture is from our visit to the Garland Gurdwara Saheb in Texas. I wanted them to be familiar with people of different faiths; I did not want them to grow up with a bias towards other people.

I wish I could reach out to every parent and ask them not to poison their kids against people of other faiths, nationalities, races, ethnicities, and cultures. When they grow up, they don’t invest 100% into relationships at work and society. I wish parents don’t run sewers in the hearts and minds of their children.

One of the Medical Doctors was in DC for the training, and he was the son of a friend’s friend from Bangalore. He stayed with me for a month – we carried conversation every other night. He said something very profound. “Mike, I wish my parents had not poisoned me against Muslims and Black people, I have stayed with both people, and now with you, I had apprehensions about staying with you, but I found my parents to be wrong. All the myths I have heard about Muslims was bullshit.” Bullshit it is, the same is true when a Muslim stays in a Hindu Home, or a Christian in a Jewish home, a Sikh staying in a Bahai’s home, or other combinations. This is not common, but they’re enough parents out there who are poisoning their kids.

How many of you feel somewhat or entirely at dis-ease with people of other faiths, races, ethnicity, and nationalities? Do you think you could be a wholesome employee for your employer and a healthful man or woman to your family?

Today, my kids can work with anyone with comfort. There were a few times; I had to pull them back from being biased against other nationalities. If you are Prejudiced against others, it depletes your good energy; you are the loser, not them.

Now, my son is doing the same with his kids, what a joy it is to see them enlightened. Indeed, it is the wisdom of every religion to build societies where people are not tense. If you are biased against others, it is not too late to extricate yourselves. If you find it difficult, let’s work together.

One good step is to ponder which group you are biased against and push yourselves to make friends, not one, but at least ten to make sure statistically you are not judgmental with one or two lousy examples.

There is nothing more joyful than being free from tension with any human. Let’s work together and find salvation, mukti, moksha, nijaat, and achieve nirvana. A state of mind, you are free from fear and tensions as you learn to respect the otherness of the other and accept the God-given uniqueness of each other.

May you find freedom from bias. Amen!

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A few stories shared by friends:

Aditya Deshpande A Muslim friend of mine had a difficult time financially. Yet he put my altruism to shame. We would travel in Mumbai by Auto and anytime anyone old came to ask money he would give. Without fail. I would often ask him why he did that when he needed money so badly he will give. He used to tell me – god helped me get a job where I can do this. I will keep doing until I can. If I cannot, then I cannot. He believed god worked through him. It taught me that a good person of any religion figures how to be a good person using whatever religion he is from. A bad person will find ways to be bad using his religion by finding things in his religion that allows him to be bad. It is a choice.

Let me share this beautiful story ( not sure if his name is right)

Mian Meer’s charity was well known, and no one would go empty-handed from his door. However, he lowered his eyes (humility) when he gave. Tulsidas, his contemporary heard about it and asked him in a Doha (couplet), why do you lower your eyes when you donate? Mian Meer countered it with another Doha – What I gave was not mine to give; it was given by God, which I am merely passing it on. When they thought that I was the giver, I felt humiliated and hence lowered my Nain (eyes).

My Saudi Story

Dr. Mike Ghouse is the founder and president of the Center for Pluralism.  He is a speaker, thinker, author, consultant, pluralist, activist, newsmaker, and an interfaith wedding officiant.  He is deeply committed to Religious Freedom, Human Rights, and Pluralism in Religion, Politics, Societies, and the workplace, and to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions to the media and the policymakers.  Book information is at www.AmericanMuslimAgenda.com and his info at www.TheGhousediary.com 

Mike frequently speaks to a full range of audiences in international, faith and interfaith, civic, educational, and community life.  He would welcome the opportunity to speak to you and your communities, as well as to invite you to events and programs that he and the Center for Pluralism offer.  He also welcomes your thoughts, comments, and inquiries.  

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