In an interfaith or multifaith family, family members may not agree on a single set of religious beliefs—on a theology, creed, or dogma. But that is no reason to avoid giving children the opportunity for spiritual experience. It is a gift to introduce children to beloved religious or cultural traditions from all branches of your family.
There are lots of resources out there for the thoughtful spiritual parent, but here’s one you’ve probably never considered: The Wizard of Oz. I’m sure your children would enjoy and learn from the movie—at least indirectly—but I’ve got a different goal in mind. I’d like to offer its wisdom to you directly, for use as a parenting tool. There’s a reason this is the most-watched film of all time, beyond the marvelous acting, singing, dancing, costumes, and elaborate set design. Gems of wisdom are embedded in Dorothy’s journey to the Emerald City to ensure that viewers are not just entertained, but also enlightened. This is the tell-tale sign of any classic work of film or literature.
The house, our first, needed a ton of work. Worn wallpaper needed to be steamed and scraped off the walls. Every square inch, inside and out, needed new paint. Old, dirty carpets needed to be ripped out. (To our surprise, the original pine floor had been hiding underneath.) Holes in the wall had to be patched. Doors needed to be replaced. The kitchen needed a new ceiling. A small addition in the back was literally falling apart and needed to be completely rebuilt.
One night a couple years ago, I was in the middle of our bedtime saga—trying to get dinner put away and my twin toddlers wrestled into pajamas so we could begin the battle that would end, inevitably, with me sitting on the floor between two wiggly toddler bodies, a hand on each back, patting slowly while the white noise machine and the Moana soundtrack drowned out every thought.