The purpose of the “Back to Center” advice column is to provide perspectives for personal realignment and empowered living in these tyrannical times. Sarah encourages you to reach out to her with requests for advice about self-development and emotional and mental well-being. Please send your questions to email@example.com
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My 15-year-old son asked me to sit with him to have a conversation. He told me that he had to confess something to me. He said, "Mom, I no longer believe in God, nor in Divine creation. I will not forget everything you have taught me, so just because I don't believe in God you shouldn't think I'm a bad person." I am a woman of great faith but I don't know what to do.
Thank you for your question. It can be so difficult when our children adopt views that run opposite to our own treasured beliefs. I can imagine it must have been very painful to hear this confession from your son. I hope what I have to share with you here will be helpful and encouraging to you.
I want to start by drawing your attention to something that stands out strongly to me from your message: Your 15-year-old son made a point of having a conversation with you about a change in his beliefs. That's a big deal! Many parents struggle to get even a few words out of their teenagers, but your son sat down with you and shared something very personal that was on his heart and mind. To me, that says that he trusts and respects you.
And even more than that, your son said he doesn't want you to think he's a bad person. The message that sends to me is that he cares what you think about him. The relationship between the two of you matters to him; if it didn't, he might not have taken the trouble to talk to you about these things.
Now, how does this help you? I believe it means the potential for more conversation about your son's relationship with God is there. The door is open. And as far as what you should do, that might be the very best thing at this point - to simply keep the door open…to let your son know that he can talk to you anytime, that you'll listen without judgment, and always love him no matter what.
You know your son best, of course. What words do you think he needs to hear from you to feel that you're there for him even if your beliefs are different from his?
If the opportunity for another conversation about spirituality does come up, I encourage you to listen deeply to your son and ask him curious, non-judgmental questions about what he shares. Try to understand his perspective. If you talk about your own beliefs, focus on the fact that they're your beliefs, and you're just sharing, the same way he shared with you about his. Let it be all about respect.
One thing is for sure: You cannot control what your son chooses to believe. It sounds like you have done a beautiful job raising him in the way of faith, and now, as hard as it is, you have to let go and let him find his own way. What you can do is pray for him, be there for him, and never give him any reason to doubt your love for him.
And who knows? This may be a road your son has to travel for a little while, and he will eventually return to a life of belief. Teenagers are trying to figure out who they are in the world as individuals, and sometimes that can take discouraging forms in their parents' eyes. Don't lose heart! Stay steady and walk beside him. I believe he will thank you for it later. Best wishes!
I am alone this Thanksgiving for the very first time. I used to get together with family in big, fun, festive gatherings, but that doesn't seem possible anymore. I am the only one who decided not to get the COVID shot, and went through SO much conflict around it with family members. Nobody could understand my decision - they think I am being careless with my health and the health of those around me, that I'm buying into conspiracy theories and lies…they're angry, hurt, and confused. Within the last year, they basically decided they didn't want to see me anymore, or not until I come around to make the “right decision" and go get the jab, which is something I won't do. So here I am, by myself for the holidays. It's really lonely. I feel so sad over what I've lost with my family, but I just can't do something I feel is so dangerous and wrong…Looking for support.
What a painful story. I'm so sorry to hear about what you've gone through with your family. One of the most devastating effects of the COVID experience has been the conflict and division it's created between family and friends. There are, unfortunately, many people out there like you who have had to choose between what they thought was right and relationships with the people they love, at least for now.
I want to point out to you what a courageous thing you've done in swimming against the stream, making decisions that are in alignment with who you are and what you believe, rather than bending to please others. That's not easy.
But knowing you've done something courageous doesn't take the loneliness away. The holidays are a really hard time to be on your own.
I want to encourage you with this: This is the way things are right now, but that doesn't mean it will always be this way. It's hard and sad and lonely, but it could also be temporary. Sometimes the damage done through family conflicts can take a while to heal, but it is possible. For your part, it will take patience with your family's process and a steady stream of reminders that you still love them and that you're ready to resume the connection when they're ready, if that's what you want.
More information is coming out all the time that reveals the lies the COVID story was built on. I believe it's only a matter of time until the world - including your family - understands what truly happened, and then they'll have to decide what to do with that realization. I hope to see many reconciliations between loved ones at that time.
As for how to handle the holidays right now…I understand that your celebrations aren't going to be anything like the experiences you used to have with your family, and that's hard…but it could be the chance to create something new and different for yourself that's also lovely in it's own way. Focus in on being kind to yourself and appreciating what you do have. What are some activities that would really nourish you and make you happy? Who can you connect and celebrate with? What new traditions could you possibly add to the day that you would find meaningful and really enjoy? What things are you grateful for in your life, and how could you celebrate them today?
As I said, it won't be the same as it once was, but you can still choose to create a beautiful day for yourself. There are times in life where we don't have control over how things change, but we can always choose our response and what we want to create out of the new place in which we find ourselves. I hope you will make yourself a beautiful day to enjoy. All the best!
- ‘What’s a formerly proud American to do these days?'
- ‘How can I extend forgiveness for all the COVID atrocities when it still hurts so much?’
- 'I long to help my daughter connect with God in these times'
- Is it irresponsible to think of having another child in today's world?
- ‘I want my son to have strong male role models’
- ‘Our son has secretly been in the process of gender transition’
- ‘I wonder if the sacrifices I and my fellow soldiers made were worth it’
- ‘I know Scripture approves of 2nd Amendment rights, but the idea leaves me uneasy’
- ‘I was an approval-seeking people-pleaser’
- 'God is a God of justice, right? Where’s my justice?'
- ‘I’ve tried my best to be faithful and live a holy life; now I don’t know what to believe’
- 'Kids gravitate toward honest answers, even when they’re tough answers'
- 'I used to be a pretty positive person, but the world is different now'
- 'Do I have an obligation to say something to my friend who is about to inject her one-year-old?'
- 'How do I respond to wild hatred?'
- ‘All my friends have abandoned me’
- ‘Who am I to build a better world?’
- 'The world does not have to understand or approve of your choices'
- 'I get tired and overwhelmed'
- 'I vacillate between feeling inspired and useless'
- ‘I pity the people creating the lies’
- ‘The anger and hurt feelings are costing you too much’
- ‘People who once treated each other with so much love and kindness are now at odds’
- ‘Struggling with my relationship with God since COVID’
- 'I have lost confidence in our healthcare system, including my own personal doctors'
- 'Can you forgive yourself for the years you couldn’t be there with your daughter?'
- 'My wife is willing to take the sacrifice for her sister and I'm sick to my stomach thinking about it'
- 'I deeply regret taking the vaccine'
- 'Married 39 years and I thought we were on the same page when it came to things that mattered most'
- ‘How do I repair this relationship or accept that I may never see my son again?’
- ‘How can I stop fear from controlling my every thought and ruining my dreams?’
- 'How can I pursue my dream to find the person to marry, when it's so hard to connect with new people because of COVID?'
- 'How can I feel safe these days?'
- Advice column premier: Back to Center
Sarah encourages you to reach out to her with requests for advice! Please send your questions to email@example.com. Anonymous and secure.
Sarah Perron is a Certified Transformational Life Coach. Her passion is to help people create a powerful vision for their lives, identify and eliminate anything that holds them back, and step into their own unique greatness and mission in the world. She believes deeply in the power of coaching to bring fresh perspectives, ideas, and motivation to anyone who wants to thrive in life. Sarah works with clients one-on-one and in group coaching programs and presents exciting workshops on self-development topics. You can follow her on her YouTube channel Find Your Fire.
You are invited to book a complimentary coaching call with Sarah! Please visit https://calendly.com/sarahperroncoaching/45min to choose a time that's convenient for you. She looks forward to meeting you!