My husband and I had an interesting discussion today. Or rather. . . the beginning of an interesting discussion, because we have so more to talk about. The subject is far from closed.
It started when I was getting ready to leave for work. My neighbor's children saw me and called to me. I waved and told them to have a wonderful day and that I was off to work. Then the older daughter--she's six--called out to me that she has gotten my younger daughter (she's seven and has autism) to "accept Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior". She then told me that her brother has convinced my daughter to say a prayer to "God" every night before she goes to bed.
I approached the fence and told them that I know they are very excited to share their faith, but that it is up to me to teach my children about religion. I told them that my daughter loves to play with them, though, and maybe they'll be able to play later in the afternoon when we all get home from school and work. I wished them a nice day again, and got in my car to head to work. I call myself Agnostic, but I lean more toward Atheism.
My husband called me on my cell phone to tell me that our neighbor called and apologized profusely for what her children had said and done. He told me that he assured her that they had done nothing wrong, and that he had been meaning to start going to church himself soon, and to take our older daughter with him.
Here's the problem. We were both raised in Christian households--his Southern Baptist, mine Lutheran. When we got married, though, neither of us was religious. We both felt that Christianity was not the right path for either of us and didn't believe in the concept of deities. He did like to celebrate Pagan holidays, and I joined him in those, but I really had no religious affiliation. I think he liked the Pagan holidays because they tied in well with his Irish roots, but I didn't think he felt any more about any religion than that.
Now, however, he has reversed his position, and wants to take my older daughter to church with him. He's not worried about our younger daughter because he is convinced that children with learning or cognitive disorders have an automatic place in "Heaven". I didn't realize that he believed in things like Heaven and Hell. It's like I'm married to a stranger, and it worries me.
My older daughter has no interest in going to church, and I really don't want her to go, but I'm not sure I have any more right to prevent my husband from encouraging her to believe in something that I find nonsensical, than he has to tell me not to share my thoughts on religion. I thought that she should make the decision about her spirituality and religious beliefs when she is older and beyond the influence of childhood fantasies. He says that it's not fair to give her only one viewpoint if we expect her to be able to make a choice for herself.
I think, if we are to do her the service of exposing her to different beliefs, then why stop at two? Why stop at his and mine? If we are going to make her go to church, then she should attend services at different Christian denominations, a Jewish Synagogue, a Mosque, a Unitarian Universalist church, and any other place of worship that's available to us, so that she can really experience the ceremonies and beliefs of all religions that she possibly can. If she now, at age ten, must be on a spiritual path to finding a faith, then let's give her the full menu. Or better yet, let her look into these herself when she is older and isn't worried about pleasing her parents.Answer Question
Answer by Musicmom80 at 7:55 PM on Mar. 1, 2011
Answer by Anouck at 7:58 PM on Mar. 1, 2011
Please dont feel like you are married to a stranger- then you will have a harder time talking to him. Just think of it as your marriage becoming deeper you are getting to know him even better than before. I think no matter what any of us offers for advice we could never know what is right for your family. So my suggestion is get a sitter, go for a long ride or a walk and talk to each other openly and honestly, and calmly with out attacking the others beliefs.
Answer by Liberty979 at 8:04 PM on Mar. 1, 2011
Answer by parrishsky at 8:06 PM on Mar. 1, 2011
Oh and I am sorry you are not on the same page with your spouse, just realize that she will eventually have questions and will come to you both for answers. It's best that both parents are involved. Perhaps you can take her to a temple and he the church? Just a thought...
Answer by parrishsky at 8:09 PM on Mar. 1, 2011
Answer by dullscissors at 8:13 PM on Mar. 1, 2011
Answer by charlotsomtimes at 8:16 PM on Mar. 1, 2011
Answer by clarity333 at 8:17 PM on Mar. 1, 2011
Answer by Awakened1 at 8:25 PM on Mar. 1, 2011
Answer by pnwmom at 8:47 PM on Mar. 1, 2011