By Patricia Allwood Hindman

“If you don’t change your beliefs, your life will be like this forever. Is that good news?”

W. Somerset Maugham

Little Max flying his kite sees everyone as a good person, every statement as true, and every excursion as an adventure.
Soon he will start shaping his beliefs. Is that good news?

By now we probably have some non-negotiable credence of faith. Beliefs, however, can always change. They should less we judge before we comprehend.

When I was young, I believed, according to my religion at that time, dancing was a sin. The fact that this had nothing to do with a basic faith in God didn’t occur to me because I didn’t question. I was taught that. Therefore, when I was a queen candidate in high school, the school eliminated the queen’s dance for that event . It was honorable on the part of the school, but since then my belief, not my faith, has changed. And I dance! So did David in the Bible, but I guess that was explained away somehow.

I was also raised WASP, but, fortunately, my family never taught me to discriminate among people (as much as possible in an all-white community in the fifties and sixties.) My belief that all people have inalienable rights has not change. I suspect it won’t now.

Now, as a “going gray” person, life seems much simpler than when I had to gather my many beliefs, touch them, turn them over, and examine them like a crystal quartz to see if I truly could accept them. I had to decide what portion spoke truth to me and what didn’t. Often, I’d have to pick up that same crystal quartz of truth and re-examine. I’d change my mind. I still do on some matters. I hope to do so to the day I die.

Nonetheless, the picking up and turning over the “truth” has lessened. I hold to a few basics and watch as my children and grandchildren do the hard work of determining their standards of societal and personal right and wrong. Geez. It’s easiest when you’re down to a couple of basic beliefs. I believe I’ll stick with love the Lord your God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself.

To little Max flying the kite…you can be a police officer like you want to be now, but the real question for your future will be “Can you keep an open mind?” Will you see all the good in the world? Will you determine what is good and what is evil? Will you let people be who they need to be even if they don’t fit in your set of beliefs? Will you continue to pick up that crystal quartz of truth and turn it over, seeing the changes with each turn?

And will you love, grandson? That is paramount.

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