Parenting From Kumbaya
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Tuesday is kid day here at CoupleDumb. You really should know that by now. The following post may upset you. This is a warning to all those who believe their faith is the one and only. We are talking about spirituality and all the New Agey stuff out there. What does that have to do with kids?
Lee says: Being a parent does not come with a job description. We do the best we can with what we have. Unfortunately, what we have is usually the inconsistent examples our own parents gave us. Now, don’t get defensive because I dissed your parents. I have met many deluded adults who feel that their childhood was perfect. I am not saying that your parents were a little bit better than Sybil’s parents but I am saying that your parents did the best they could. Despite their efforts, feelings were hurt, confidence was bruised and warped beliefs about oneself were created. That is childhood. That is parenting. We do the best we can.
So how are you teaching your child spirituality? Are you taking them to Church every week? Are you insisting that they attend Bible Study? Catechism? Are you taking them to learn Hebrew? Are your kids studying the Koran? A lot of parents indoctrinate their children by just bringing them along. If a parent is Catholic then they automatically assume their child will be baptized and raised in the faith like they were. The majority of people who identify themselves with a certain religion entered that faith with as much thought as it takes to eat another potato chip. Their parents were Catholic/Jewish/Muslim therefore that’s what they are.
This is probably one of the reasons many people leave their religions when they reach adulthood. They reach a certain ennui about their un-chosen faith. Children are programmed at an early age. There is no choice in the matter. However, when they reach a level of maturity where they can question all the definitive statements Mom/Dad made, there may be some fundamental changes to how your child thinks. This is called individuation. This is a very good thing! However, many parents take their young adults attempts at becoming their own person as a personal affront to their very humanity. How dare you even question the laws/rules/truths I passed down to you?
My parents did this to me. I am not going to get into details but in a nutshell, my parents assumed my change in faith was tantamount to choosing not to spend eternity in their heaven. Do you see why I won’t get into details? Long story short, we are cool now but it took a lot of discussion and bending of the truth to get them to relax.
My children are being raised with a broader understanding of spirituality. In other words, spirituality is not set in cement. We are teaching them to respect and honor faiths of all kinds. We refuse to be those parents who impart to their kids a concept of the Creator/God/Lord/Jesus/Jehovah that makes Him/Her petty. In other words, we aren’t teaching the kids that the Guy Upstairs will get pissed at them for questioning faiths. We are going to try to bypass that dichotomous teaching of an all loving/punishing God. We are raising our kids to understand the laws of attraction as a birth-rite. How will that work for school?
Bobby, our 7 year old, during his Holiday Show read a passage from Isaiah. He goes to a public school and he was reading from the Old Testament. Anybody else have a brain ache, here? Did we react? No. We talked to him about it. He told us Jesus died for him. Now, a 7 year old doesn’t understand the magnitude of sacrifice or how this was His choice. What he heard was ‘he is dead because of you because you are inherently bad’. Now, putting aside that he goes to a Public school and he won’t hear that talk at home, the plan of action was to explain that dying wasn’t Jesus’ big trick. That’s the New Agey bit right there. Stop focusing on the victim part of the story and move on to the Glory. Conquering death, even metaphorically, is the lesson we teach.
It is a discussion, not an edict. We chant with our kids and teach them about connection and love and Kumbaya and the power to create their own life. We do not teach fear of any kind (with the exceptions of fire and cockroaches), especially, not to be afraid of God. However, if later in life, Bobby changes his mind, it is his prerogative. We just hope that he keeps respecting other’s faiths including that of his parents.
Paul says: People need to see Fiddler On The Roof. It explains it all.