Here’s the thing

8 Apr

Holidays make me remember my childhood. I remember Easter as new outfits, new shoes, chocolate and Sunday morning mass. Chistmas brings memories of midnight services, beer in the kitchen, the nativity on the mantle (and baby jesus only appeared ON christmas day. To this day it drives me nuts when people put jesus out early, or have the three wise men out before it’s talked about in mass. But I digress)

As much as I do not believe in god, I sincerely miss the rituals of certain times of the year. Lent always amused me, watching people either pick something hard any generally failing, or something easy and feeling superior. Fish on fridays. Ash Wednesday, the ashes coarse on my skin-I had to wait until I got home to wash it off since my teachers got angry the time I did it at lunch. The pure glory that is a church choir, the comforted feeling you get from 100 people saying a prayer in unison.

I miss that sense of community sometimes, where everyone sends themselves into the backround, surrendering to something bigger that they don’t quite understand.

Staring at Vivian this morning, I wondered if I shouldn’t take her to an Easter service. I didn’t obviously, but I wonder if it’s too early to expose her to church, and at some point, to synagogue, and others. Will she get it? Will she be quiet? Should I even bother?

For as much as I don’t need religon, I don’t want to deprive them should they be called to it. And I want to expose them myself, so I can explain the meaning, as well as the truth behind the activites. Not that I can explain why a woman isn’t supposed to be a priest.

The church I grew up in was beautiful. It truly was. If I entered that building now, I know a peace who fall upon me. But it’s the the service I remember-it’s the many evenings my father and I attended, out of obligation to my dead mother, and we sat in the vestibule since we were late, and we talked. Those moments, forced as they were, I remember forever. And they fill me with peace.

I’m thinking a lot about god and religon this month because I know my mother would have wanted my children, her grandchildren, at least exposed to her religon. (Let’s not talk about how pissed she would be to know they weren’t baptised). I think of the comfort it brought her as she died, and I wonder if I shouldn’t allow them to taste what I don’t need. Should I? Or am I mourning a life I can’t have back?

11 Responses to “Here’s the thing”

  1. katsplace April 8, 2007 at 1:31 pm #

    My mom is religious as are my inlaws (actually the same denomination). We have exposed our kids to some of it. For example, my kids have gone to a Passover Seder, a bris, and have been exposed to a lot of the cultural customs. They also have been to Christmas eve service to hear my mom sing and know about christian beliefs for both Easter and christmas. We talk openly about God, churches, different beliefs and I try to keep my tone “This is what others believe and out of respect to them we don’t mock their beliefs”. At the same time, I openly speak of my lack of belief and feel that I am raising them with beliefs that do not look to the supernatural or faith.

  2. katsplace April 8, 2007 at 1:33 pm #

    I think in someways, this is a unique issue that agnostics and atheists face. I don’t know of a single religious person that ever worries or even thinks about whether or not they should expose their child about other religions in case another belief system suits the child better. Most people simply teach their own belief system.

  3. Marcy April 8, 2007 at 6:16 pm #

    I became a Christian in my teens. I am a little afraid of how to raise the issue with my dd (who is still a baby). Some people who were raised religiously get so burned by it they never want anything to do with faith ever again. I would love for her to grow up to know and trust God, but I don’t want to force it on her or make that decision for her. I also don’t want to leave her without any guidance or information at all, and I don’t want to raise her to think that it’s purely a matter of choice. I believe what I believe is true, but I also believe she needs to arrive at that truth herself.

    I think most kids will be exposed to various beliefs through school or other social interactions. If they express interest, you can get books at the library, have the relevant family over and talk about their faith, go to their services… I wonder if it might be more interesting to investigate spiritual things through relationships (including your own history) than to go to random services or events.

  4. thordora April 8, 2007 at 6:31 pm #

    That’s why I wish my inlaws were closer-I’ve mentioned to my MIL about taking Viv to church with her, since it would be more meaningful if she went with a believer. As well, I know were rapidly approaching the “god” conversation, and I’m not sure how to explain that to her. I already had to try and explain revelations after I was watching NatGeo TV the other day.

  5. Jon Speer April 8, 2007 at 8:19 pm #

    You raise an interesting dilemma. I grew up in a Christian home. Being a non-believer was really never considered an option. Now that I’m in my 30s with two children of my own, I’m not really sure what my religious beliefs are. However, I’m sure they are very different from my parents and my upbringing.
    As for my kids, I hope they are able to be informed but able to make their own decisions. We pray and give thanks–not necessarily to “god”. My children often are exposed to Christian beliefs when staying with my parents. I just want them to feel like faith is their choice.

  6. Caitlin April 8, 2007 at 10:06 pm #

    We don’t really make a point of Paul to religious services since for the most part, he’s too young to sit still for that long. However, if we’re visiting my inlaws over a holiday, we might go to one of the early Christmas Masses. We also go to Friday night rosary at Paul’s great grandmother house, not to do whatever saying rosaries is supposed to accomplish, but because it’s a family thing. All 10 of his great grandmother’s kids usually show up, with some combination of their kids and grandkids in tow.

    Paul’s lack of a baptism really bothers my inlaws sometimes, but I think that has more to do with them having lost a child (Paul’s namesake) and being Catholic. It brought them a lot of comfort knowing their son had been to church the night before he died and was “right with God” and they worry that if something happened to my Paul, he wouldn’t be “right with God”.

    Paul has started asking religious questions, although they have more to do with “why do my cousins/grandparents do this and we don’t?” type of things. I teach him practical things, like a variation on the Selkirk grace, that will keep people from thinking Paul needs to be saved until he’s old enough to make an informed decision. Choosing a religion is kinda like getting married, in that it’s supposed to be a lifelong choice, and I think to get the most out of it, you need to have chosen it freely.

    I don’t think you should feel that you have to take the girls to church every Wednesday and Sunday, but they would probably enjoy seasonal things like Christmas cantatas, Easter services, or anything where the choir gets to do a bit of singing. You could also look up the pagan holy days that correspond with them, and introduce those as well. When the girls are a little older, you might try tracking down the Simpsons episode where Lisa becomes Buddhist.

  7. Jason Dufair April 8, 2007 at 10:52 pm #

    This is one of the things I like about being a UU. They do get exposed to a variety of religious beliefs (and even services, in some cases, at least when I teach RE). I’d love for them to grow up to be UUs, but if they chose another path, at least it will be one that they have had some understanding of since their youth. As far as holidays, I enjoy the pagan traditions behind most of the Christian holidays, so we go that route, with the requisite dose of magic too (Santa, Easter Bunny, etc).

  8. eric April 8, 2007 at 11:56 pm #

    Question, when did moms highjack Easter and make it another Mother’s Day? Am I the only one noticing this?

    on a side note, your last comment on my site was marked as spam. Of course… I -just- now noticed that. So. That’s the 411, hope you didn’t feel snubbed. Got it up now.

  9. thordora April 9, 2007 at 7:22 am #

    Eric-‘splain Lucy ‘splain-I don’t get it.

    and I was wondering about that comment!

    I just want to find a good balance between what I believe, and what’s out there. I don’t want to be intolerant to them, but I don’t want to promote anything either.

    At the same time, I do believe that is you need religon, it will bring itself to you.

  10. eric April 11, 2007 at 11:49 pm #

    Religion is there for it’s purpose, to make people feel safe and secure in times they don’t understand or to handle situations they don’t understand. I think you can promote believing in something without promoting the specific thing to believe.

    As far as the first statement. If I have to explain what I said, then I guess I’m the only one seeing. Sigh. I’m just noticing a lot of easter traditions revolving around the mother lately. I don’t think that’s bad but… wait.. maybe mother’s are highjacking Sunday!

  11. thordora April 12, 2007 at 9:53 am #

    I don’t really do much at Easter, so I’m likely not seeing what you mean. Plus, I don’t really hang around many women so….

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