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When you don’t fit in at home

Differences of opinion are dividing this family.

People are entitled to their own views, says our elder. The key is not to let them drive us apart.

Dear EWC:

Sometimes I feel like I don’t really fit in with my family because I’m both a Christian and a conservative. Now I’m not very political but when it does come to politics, I’m more conservative while the rest of my family are secular and liberal.

Like most of my family are in favor of things like same-sex marriage or abortion or transgenderism while I’m against those kinds of topics. Even my mother is liberal even though she attends a Catholic church but she’s not very devout at all. In fact, she never taught my brothers or me anything about Christianity.

Because of this, I feel like this causes conflict in my family and I feel like I don’t belong in my family. Now I’m not saying I hate my family but at the same time, I find it very unfortunate that they don’t share the same beliefs or views that I hold. And I find it disappointing that my family and I don’t pray together or have Bible studies or talk about Jesus like I do in my church and with Christian friends.

Scriber replies:

First, I’m sorry that you feel like you don’t belong in your family. Sometimes different dynamics in families can be very challenging and can even cause conflict at times, as you well know. I’ve found from personal experience that it’s better to accept the fact that we can’t change anyone else. I’ve also learned that people are entitled to their own opinions and views, whether we agree with them or not. We may not like or agree with their views, but we can still like the actual person. The key is to not allow our differences in viewpoints to divide us.

Although it would probably be nice (and easier) if all our family members completely agreed with our views, it’s unrealistic. Just like you, they are unique individuals with their own points of view. Just like we can’t realistically expect our family members to conform to our personal beliefs and views, they also can’t expect the same from us. Therefore, we have to find a way to come to a mutual understanding that we’re going to agree to disagree.
As you go through life, aside from your family, you’ll meet lots of other people. You’ll find yourself in some situations, like places of employment, where you may have co-workers and/or bosses who don’t share your views. Remember, we’re not clones, so we cannot expect other people to always share our beliefs.

So, even though you feel it’s unfortunate that your family doesn’t share the same values or views as you do, as you put it, try to accept them “as is” as you continue to exercise your own beliefs. We can’t choose the family we’re born into, but we can choose whom we associate with in terms of our interests, beliefs, views and so forth. Over time, all of you in your family may learn to look past the differences.

Family
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