Let me begin this by reiterating what I’ve blogged before, and that is that I have no desire to have children and not sure if I ever will for various reasons. However, this question was posed to me on my final for Multiculturalism, so I felt like my thoughts on the topic were blog worthy. We were asked:
If you have kids or have thought about having kids, consider what messages, teachings, and values you emphasize most. What would/will your children say about the culture you create? How has your decision to pursue and time spent training within the field of professional counseling impacted these things? How does the culture of counseling and our professional ethics code contribute to the mix?
I do not know that I would want to raise my children in the Orthodox Church. I do struggle with that notion because there are some things that I myself do not accept about the Church’s moral teachings and would not want them to necessarily embrace either. As a father one day, it would be a blessing to see my baby baptized 40 days after its birth, but I also know that it may not be in the Orthodox Church or maybe not at all.
I also know that I can find value in raising my children to embrace faith on their own, to raise them in such a way that is within the general, historic, and apostolic fence of Christianity, but to take into account reason and experience. I would want them to be strong people of faith, but to embrace faith and make it their own. This may mean raising them within Christianity, Orthodoxy specifically, or not within a religious tradition at in order for to raise them to explore, elvaluate, and come to faith in their own ways using their own reason, experiences, and intellect.
Much of this is hard for me to answer because I am unmarried and do not have kids. I want them to wrestle with faith, doubt, meaning, ontology, religion, belief, and such. I want them to question, explore, learn, and grow up in a multicultural-sensitive home that values civil discourse, convicted civility, shame resilience, healthy relationships, and education. I would want them to always question the powers that be and the status, to know there are never any answers or black and white in life.
I would want them to love and accept all people for who they are just as they would want to be loved and accepted. I would want them to not be judgmental, condemning, hateful, close-minded, or narrow in their thinking about love, life, relationships, religion, and the world. I would want them to value non-violence, peace, love, non-intervention foreign policy, and sensitivity and respect for all human life. I would want them to be educated, tolerant, senstive, stable, and happy.
I do not know what they would say about these values, but I would want to see them embrace them and the culture within our home I’ve described. I would hope that it would be positive, encouraging, and grateful experience. I would want to see them adore and love their mother and me for the way we would raise them to be.
Counseling and our ethical guidelines influence this a lot because we are taught to be respectful of other worldviews, to embrace the fact that we do not know it all, and that we are first to do no harm. I think that is a great approach to parenting too! To do no harm to our children by the way we raise them. I believe the skills one learns as a counselor in working with families and such also aid greatly to the parental process! I know that I do not want to parent from a place of dysfunction, shame, or instability. I find the skills I am attaining as a student help to prepare me to become a good father coupled with the self-growth and personal development I am doing.
I am not ready to become a father right now. I value completing my education and gaining financial stability before choosing to become a parent, but I do know what I am learning and the ways I am growing as a person are things that will impact my children; I can only hope that it will be for the better.