Shortly after starting Kindergarten my oldest son found a children’s bible I had bought for him and he began reading it. Not too long after he began reading the bible he came to me and expressed a desire to attend church. He told me that he wanted to become a priest and specifically asked that I take him to the Catholic church by our house. As a mother I knew better than to discourage him from exploring something he felt so sure about. For about six months he attended the church on Sundays and read the bible everyday. He would share with me the stories and the lessons that each taught. His father, a man that is very anti-religion, didn’t discourage him at all nor did he question our son’s faith. His father instead told me privately, “Well, if he is going to be this passionate about something that I don’t agree with at least he has picked something that is very positive and might help others.” My parents, his father and I were beginning to accept that our family of heathens might have produced a child that was called by a higher power to spread the word of God.
Then one Sunday morning I said to him that if he didn’t get dressed soon he’d miss the first service at church. My son looked up from his cereal and declared, “Mom religion and church are a load of crap!”
After reminding him that he shouldn’t talk like that I asked him why he thought that. He told me that the bible was nothing but a collection of stories that teach people things they should already know about what is right and what is wrong. He flat out told me that the lessons in the bible are common sense things he was already learning at home and school. I respected his decision to not go to church anymore and we moved on as a family. Yes. I let a six year old decide on his own about his religious views. Why? For one I partially agreed with him and two he did have a great argument. I never saw him pick up his bible again.
When in History we got to the Medieval Times he began to bring up conversations about how religions were connected to education, wealth and protection. He made up his mind that although religion had spread both in reach and power during a time that needed “saving” that everything that came after wasn’t necessarily done for God. He cited how the religious crusades were a dark time in history, how people will never stop fighting over the land in Palestine and how religion was used to oppress women. There is no arguing with him these points because history is not on my side to prove otherwise. He proclaimed that religion a necessary evil that once lifted humanity would someday destroy it.
I’m fine with allowing him to have his own beliefs and on many points I don’t disagree but I don’t want him spreading his beliefs to my other sons.
Have you ever met a person that needs God? A person that without religion might not make it? I think that religion gives a lot of folks something to live for, guidelines to stay within and eases the pain of not knowing the answers to the life’s really huge questions. My middle son is the type of person that might benefit from having religion in his life. I worry a lot about my middle one and I feel that I can’t fully reach him. I might not go to a church but I have a very strong relationship with my God. I want my middle son to benefit from this type of relationship…if I can’t reach him maybe The Celestial Planning Committee can find a way that I haven’t thought of. In my house though it seems impossible to bring up the bible or religion without the two oldest males in the house not sucking their teeth.
What is a mother to do when she wants to share her spirituality with one of her sons but another one is so against it?
I am in charge of my home. I do force my children to live how I think they should but when it comes to religion and spirituality I am afraid to force the topic because I truly think that it is such a personal decision we should make for ourselves. I want and I pray to find a way to share my own beliefs with my middle one while allowing my oldest to keep his own. I plan to speak to my oldest soon about how I’d like for him to curtail his educating his younger brothers on the farce he thinks religion is. I want to explain to him that I respect what he thinks but I want to give his brothers the same opportunity he had to make that choice…for themselves.
Am I wrong y’all? Do you think it is right or wrong for children to decide about religion on their own? Am I giving my eleven year old too much freedom? What would you do in this situation?
© Anaín Bjorkquist April 4, 2011 ~ All Rights Reserved.