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Children and religion

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Dick Whitman, Apr 4, 2013.

  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I throw this to the board, because it's much more comfortable to discuss with this Internet community than my real life Internet circle, a curious mix of true believers and strident non-believers.

    I'm wondering how parents here have introduced their children to religion. I was raised Catholic (Versatile will love this fact), and my plan has been to raise my children into some form of Catholicism, but also to let them know that they are free to think for themselves about these matters, and eventually choose anything from atheism to Greek mythology.

    The planned slow roll-out has kind of accelerated, as we lost two very close family members in the last year. My mother, a very devout Catholic, has also begun taking him to Mass quite frequently when she watches him. I don't have a problem with it. I just don't want him to be confused about what's allegory, what's science, and what's sheer faith. Kids are so literal.

    How do you guys do it? What have you observed that your little ones can handle? I know I'm probably the model of a fretful 21st century parent, but I do worry about his (and her - she's an infant) scientific/academic, cultural, and moral upbringing, though, as far as morals go, I don't want them to think that we do things because a millennia-old text says it's so. Just so tough to mesh them all ...
  2. What is "some form of Catholicism?"

    How old are your kids? Where I am at, and when I grew up, you had to attend religion classes or CCD to proceed through the Catholic process; First Confession, Communion, Confirmation. You didn't get to pick and choose.
    My sister tried to skip a confirmation retreat in lieu of a soccer tourney. Confirmation director said if they kid missed the retreat he would be booted from the class. Period.
    Same thing here when my oldest went through first communion. You were allowed to miss one class. We had kids and parents showing up for classes for months I had never seen before and had no idea they were Catholic.
  3. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    My son is almost 4. My daughter is a baby.

    When I say "some form," I mean that I'm undecided yet about things like confirmation, confession, etc., etc. The process. I'm not particularly institutional or ritualistic. At all. I'm certain my mother will be putting the full-court press on about this stuff soon enough. And there is some amount of tension with my wife, who was raised completely secular. She's only vaguely aware of things like Noah's arc and the Christmas story.
  4. Uncle.Ruckus

    Uncle.Ruckus Guest

    I was raised Catholic. My wife was raised Methodist. We were married in a Methodist church. Our son attends day care at a Methodist church, which is where he's getting his introduction to God and Jesus Christ. He seems to understand the basic concepts; or at least, he seems to remember them. If he chooses to not believe or to believe in something else, more power to him. I'm not going to force him into anything.
  5. doctorquant

    doctorquant Well-Known Member

    Is that the shorter three-point line they had before the great flood? :D

    In all seriousness, I wouldn't sweat your mother's machinations. Your children will find their "form of Catholicism" regardless of what you, your wife or your mother do. And regardless of how literal your son is, if he ultimately decides to take that millenia-old text to heart, it'll be because of what it says to him, not because you, your wife or your mother made it happen.
  6. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    But you have to think about it a little bit, right?

    I have a nephew who already corrected me when I said something about how planets were made, from a documentary that my son and I watched on the Science Channel.

    "That's not what happened! God made the planets! God made everything!"

    I don't know at what age you have to start to be careful that visions of Jesus riding in on a dinosaur are going to begin to stunt a child's STEM curiosity and development.

    I know: I'm neurotic.
  7. dreunc1542

    dreunc1542 Active Member

    I went to a Catholic grade school and grew up with a mother who is strongly Catholic. I was smart, but not really intellectually curious until I got to high school. It was never really laid out for us in grade school that the stories we were told from the Bible weren't factually true. I never thought too hard about them one way or another, but just sort of assumed there was some truth to them. Believing those things didn't stop me from doing really well in math and science, and then eventually making my own decisions about religion, science, etc.
  8. HC

    HC Well-Known Member

    I was raised in a devout Catholic home. Didn't take ... I was sent home from catechism in Grade One for asking questions and disagreeing with the teacher's answers.

    If your child is getting the secular view at home, anything s/he learns at church will be filtered through that, IMO. On the other hand, are you letting them make up their own mind if you don't expose them to religious teachings at an early age?
  9. doctorquant

    doctorquant Well-Known Member

    Just from some other posts you've made, I get the sense that one of your regrets is that you didn't pursue the STEM track more vigorously. Assuming that is true, I think you have to be careful to not let those regrets seep into your children's lives. If your kids become scientists, it'll be because they're intensely curious about the world around them. And to the "God made everything" suggestion, you could always say, "Yeah, but it's still interesting to try to figure out God's recipe."
  10. This is why I pulled my kids out of Christian school.
    Correct science tests answers consisted of Jesus and God.
  11. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I was raised Catholic, but stopped going to church regularly after my parents divorced. My dad never went to church after they split and my mom went twice a month or so and my sister and I probably would average about once a month from age 8 to 18.

    I've since converted to a different religion and we go every week. It's not so much that we're super religious, as it is that we really, really like the church we go to now. It's just very positive, has a great Sunday school program. The previous church we went to seemed like a constant money grab and the sermons were very negative and geared toward scaring people. They actually called us once to explain how by simply doubling the amount that we gave each week how much it would help the church. When I got off the phone, I told my wife... "I don't want to ever go there again."

    I look at it this way, we go every Sunday by choice. If we didn't like it, we'd go a lot less. If my kids didn't like it, we'd go a lot less. But since we've found a situation that is a very positive experience, it doesn't seem like a chore to go every week.
  12. If I didn't have kids I wouldn't go, period.
    I lost my faith years ago, but I still go to church regularly. We pray at dinnertime and at bedtime with the kids and take them to Sunday School.
    I am going through the motions so they can make the choice to be Catholic or not later in life ... but not until after Confirmation. I feel I am responsible to at least set an example for them at this age.

    And my mother is a religious nut.

    My aunt and uncle are very active in their Catholic Church. Two of their college-age kids no longer attend church out of choice.
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