Monday, May 23, 2016

When Your Child Is Religious, But You Are Not







I'm not religious.

Yes, I've been to church. I was even in some church groups in high school. But I never felt like religion was for me. I believe in a higher being--but who that higher being is, I don't know. I suppose I'm known as agnostic.

I've always been fine with those who are religious. Many of my friends are. Many family members are. And I always vowed that I'd allow my children to decide for themselves what they wanted to believe. So I put them in vacation Bible schools.

Tommy? He wasn't a fan. He found it boring. He has a more scientific thought process and needs proof.

But Natalie? She loved learning about the Bible. One time she told me, "Jesus is Lord." Another? "Mommy, let's say hi to Heaven!"



I am honest with my kids. If they ask me if I believe, I'll explain that I really don't believe in the Bible. Natalie knows this, but SHE chooses to believe, and I would never take that away from her. Never. Even though I'm not religious, it doesn't mean my daughter can't be.

I do tell her that I hope she always believes that it's okay if two consenting adults want to marry, even if they are the same sex. Right now she doesn't have an issue with it and wears her shirt proudly:



Maybe one day she'll change her mind. And that's okay. I have friends who don't agree with it and we're still friends.

Maybe one day she'll decide she doesn't want to believe anymore. And that's okay too.

But for now, in the present, when Natalie says, "It's raining. I love the rain. We should say thank you to Jesus," and it means so much to her so I'll comply and say, "Thank you, Jesus."



Because it's not hurting anyone.

77 comments:

  1. I love how you raise your children. That is all. :)

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  2. My parents did the exact same with me. You're awesome!

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  3. I read some friends are ok with it but do they try to convince you otherwise from time to time!

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  4. Thank you - for bringing your child to church! Thank you for allowing her to believe what she wishes! I pray her faith continues to shine! Blessings!
    Sarah (www.sarahefrazer.com)

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  5. Supporting her is the most important thing, whether or not it's something you believe in. I'm going to share this with a few friends who would love it.

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  6. I love her joy. It says a lot of your character to be openminded. That door swings both ways in the religious sector even though it's a hard one to accept. For me, it is difficult to know what is "right" and "wrong", so I don't worry about all that. I just concentrate how I can do better and become a better follower of God. All the details of what God accepts and what has been convoluted in translation is peanuts in my opinion. We are not called to judge, we are called to love. And if people have that down 100% then good on them...but they probably don't. Just my opinion.

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  7. What a great post. You are doing things exactly right in my book.

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  8. When I was a kid, my mom didn't take me to church or VBS. When I did get involved in church, I was 11 or 12 and I LOVED it! I loved getting involved and helping with things. I loved learning about God's love, and how He'll always be there for me, even when my life isn't really all that great. That He would never leave me or forsake me. I saw bonified miracles take place before my eyes. No one would be able to convince me that God wasn't real! My mom was not as enthusiastic about faith as I was. She would get offended when I would tell her that everything would be ok when we were in the middle of a rotten situation. She still does to this day. I'm so happy that you allow your daughter to express her faith without making her feel odd or uncomfortable.

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    1. Yup, my daughter seems to be the same way.

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  9. I have an 18 month old, and I have a hard time with this. I mean, I totally love that you left it up to them! But I also know how easily seduced I was by church at your daughter's age. I had a lot of church friends, and my husband had a church girlfriend. We got totally swept up, and it had little to do with believing. As adults (18+) we both realized it wasn't for us, and felt a bit silly about it. My husband is an atheist and has a large cross tattoo! LOL Big regret. My regret is that I lived in a small town (now I live in Houston) so everyone still thinks I'm super religious. Kind of annoying.

    I think we're going to wait until our kids are a bit older, like maybe 16 or so, before we make it an option. Who knows though! The only thing we've decided for sure is that we won't send them WITHOUT US when they are little.

    Great post!

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    1. Yes, I know what you mean. Natalie does go to vacation bible school without me, but she knows she can ask questions and such and I'll give her my honest opinion.

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  11. I have always been a church goer but never been close to the church. The church is outside the temple but doesn't mean you need to preach. When you live by the church, it's all about your intentions no one can see. It's about how you treat one another or even acknowledge. How you leave the person feeling after you leave a conversation. It's about smiling because it might lighten up their day yet it being ok if they don't smile back. It's about turning your cheek instead of engaging on gossip. It's things like that. I don't much see the bible as a rule book but instead as an inspiration as we see in many blog. The bible being more on point to me. I believe many are living the live we are taught in church and don't know it.

    www.peanutsnthread.com

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    1. That's a nice way to see it! I do the smiling thing a lot. I think I scare people.

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  12. I can totally relate to this post. I'm not religious, yet I encourage my children to believe whatever they want to. I've been thinking of having us all go to a Unitarian Church so they can learn more and make their own decisions.

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  13. I think it's wonderful that she is able to make her own decisions without feeling any pressure! :)

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  14. This is very similar to what we do in our family. My husband and I are not religious, but we don't shut down any questions our kids may have. Ask questions. Be curious. That is how you learn about ANYTHING. If they ever decide that they would like to explore religion we will take them to ANY religious establishment that they ask.

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  15. I'm agnostic myself. It doesn't help that the kids are both Jewish and Christian. I get so confused. I just want them to believe.. in something. And be kind and happy. I wonder how it will develop.
    Natalie rocks!

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  16. I'm agnostic, and I've wondered how I would approach this topic. Though now we're looking at sending our daughter to a Christian private school because it is top-notch, so she might start being pulled that way. I don't want to force her this way or that, and try to guide her the best way I can.

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  17. I loved this post! I love that even though it's not something that you believe in, you are letting your own children decided for themselves and supporting them, either way. I think it's interesting that you've had two different experiences with your children.

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  18. I think it's great that you let your daughter believe what she wants to. Parents tend to impose their own beliefs/non-beliefs on their kids and eventually, they'll make the choice for themselves anyway.

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  19. AMEN!! I thought I was alone. You and I parent the same! We've always encouraged our children to form their own opinions, sometimes a certain someone may sway them but I love him anyway. We've been questioned for our parenting on teaching different ideologies/religions to our children and all I can say is hopefully they'll be the openminded thinkers our world needs. I want them to know all and respect all, well within reason. When my eldest daughter was younger she use to go to church outings with her friends, we're glad she got to experience that, even though we didn't follow the teachings of that church or any church for that matter, we wanted her to have that experience. Kudos to you, mama!
    XOXO
    www.mrsaokaworkinprogress.com

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  20. I kinda love everything about this. I love that you respect your kid, your own beliefs, and the beliefs of others all at the same time. So many people have a hard time understanding this- and I'm talking from both sides. I go to church and I know people from church who are horrific to others despite what my homie Jesus told us and showed us by loving on hookers and such. I also know some atheists who are so horrible toward anyone believing in a higher power that I've decided I'd rather be stupid then as miserable as they are. Bottom line, respect and kindness is what makes the world go 'round. You're exhibiting both. And that, mama, is a good and rare thing.

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  21. I'm with you on this - if I ever have kids, it's definitely up to them to decide. My parents were/are not at all religious and thus I wasn't exposed to it - Sunday's were for swim meets! HA But I do, in some ways, wish they had given me the choice. Oh well. Now I will go into places of worship but I don't discriminate. I'll often find myself praying at a Chinese temple and then at the Church of England. HA

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  23. I am a stepparent so it is a very difficult line to tow because my youngest stepdaughter is being told some things by her religious grandmother that are very hard to hear (i.e. I have to celebrate my birthday early because the blood moon is coming and we will all be dead before it gets here because Jesus is coming for us all). I do feel kids should be told all options and as they get older and are mature enough to actually understand the differences, make a decision from there. When they're little and it's put into their heads, it's harder for them to be open-minded - I know; I was raised in a crazy cult. It's a complicated matter, good for you for being open minded.

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  24. We are not overly religious. Our daughter (5) goes to a Catholic preschool. She also goes to other classes at the church and we take her to the Church sometimes. I was happy with what she was learning, and really had not given it too much thought beyond that. And then the last 6 months happened. She lost all 3 of her Great Grandmothers, including one she saw daily and was very close with. And, she was okay. It was our 5 year old who was calming the adults at the funeral home, because Grandma E was in Heaven with Jesus now, and she was going to be our angel and watch us and make pink clouds for us (they shared a deep love of pink). I was certain losing these people who she loved so much would have a terrible effect on her, yet while she cried she also was the one keeping us all together. She ad a great handle on death and dealing with it because of the church. While next year she is going to public school we still plan to encourage her involvement in summer Bible camp for this and other reasons. she talks too us about what she learns, but kids learn weird and terrible things in regular school too (my teen son was told by a teacher that global warming wasn't real) No matter what they are learning where what matters most is that they know they can talk to us about it all.

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    1. That's fantastic! I'm glad she was able to cope okay. Yes, I'm always here to listen when Natalie wants to talk about religion.

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  25. I love how you're raising Natalie, You give her the choice to believe what she wants and live a carefree childhood. Keep up the great work!

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  26. That is some excellent parenting! I hope when I have kids of my own some day, I do the same exact thing. I think parents can unintentionally mold a child's thoughts and ENTIRE belief systems based on their own beliefs but you've somehow managed to do something so different and so wonderful!

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  27. wow you are amazing! Keep up the good work! :)

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  28. Just amazing! Cudos to you for being there for your kids in what they choose to believe.

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  29. Just amazing! Cudos to you for being there for your kids in what they choose to believe.

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  30. I admire your allowing your daughter to believe in what she likes. I am strong into my faith and was raised as a protestant attending sunday school and was a soprano in the church choir. My husband was raised Anglican and his mum worked for the Church. It is admirable to separate your beliefs and let your daughter decide.

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  31. Very interesting post, and interesting points raised - your daughter seems amazing and very strong-willed!

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  32. As for parenting goes, so much to learn from you. The best part is - you are raising a strong and independent girl. We need them more.

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  33. Wow what a unique topic to write about! Have you ever thought of writing children's books? This would be a perfect children's story. I really like how you didn't force your belief on to her and you gift her the freedom to explore it and figure it out herself. Too many parents/friends/family members & strangers aggressively force their opinions onto others. That is one thing I cannot stand LOL. Enjoy the rest of your day :)

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  34. This was beautifully written. I love how you're teaching your children how to think but not what to think.

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  35. Such an interesting post. I would always let my little one follow his heart.

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  36. I appreciate your parenting style, the way you've given space and freedom to your kids and respect their beliefs and ideas!

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  37. I don't think I've ever read a post like this before and I find it very eye-opening. Usually, it's the other way around with parents and children. Thank you for sharing and for always supporting your children.

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  38. God gives us free will to choose one over the other. Praise the lord that Nathalie is a Christian believer. Very is a great post and thanks for sharing it.

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  39. It's great to know that you allow your kids to believe in a religion of their choosing even if it's not the same with your belief. This is a challenge that parents will experience. Most parents won't allow this kind of stuff to happen but I'm glad you made a good choice! :-)

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  40. You are amazing! You are doing a great job with your child.

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  41. Can I just say I think you are an amazing mother! To be so tolerant and supportive of your child's beliefs is amazing. So many parents unfortunately are not or they push their beliefs on their children to the point of tension. If I ever have children, I hope to be like you in this aspect.

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  42. I adore this and I adore you for writing it. <3 I am so similar to you - religion is not for me, but I do believe in some kind of higher power. And I absolutely want my children to find their own set of beliefs, that I will support and respect no matter what. Love love love! -Erin at www.stayathomeyogi.com

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  43. I was very religious as a child as was my parents but as I grew older we all sort of fell out. I believe in God, Jesus and the holy spirit. I just dont practice. Ill let my son make his own decisions on what he believes in.

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  44. Thats really nice that your children have made there own choices when it comes to religion. I have to say thats wonderful that you took your daughter to bible study even tho you did not believe. :) Its nice that they were able to make the choice as individuals.

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  45. It is really a good foundation that kids are religious or should I rather say have a huge faith for good nature. I am not a religious person same as you. My parents are Catholic, but as I grew up the Catholic teachings only makes me questions a lot of things (contradicting to their teachings and such) so I decided to discover and find it on my own. Now I have a huge faith on good nature, but I have no religion.

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  46. My parents left it to me to decide about my religion. I raise my child the same way. I don't want to make a decision for him that he might not agree with as an adult. Nice post. Makes you think.

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  47. I was raised in a church so my beliefs have been a part of my whole life. I think it's great that you are letting your child explore her beliefs. That last photo is adorable.

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  48. This is beautiful. More often than not children are raised to believe (or not believe) what their parents believe. I think it's great and really special that you are allowing your daughter to explore her beliefs/religion.

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  49. Your Children was really awesome and you are a good parents to her. I'm so glad to hear this story

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  50. That's a very sensible attitude to parenting Difficult I am sure

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  51. That's a very sensible attitude to parenting Difficult I am sure

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  52. Supporting your daughter in the positive things in her life is so important. Great parenting.

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  53. I love your parenting style and letting your child be who she wants to be!

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  54. awwww she's just an angel and i love the insight you shared here about your journey with her. belief systems can be tricky to navigate but you're rocking it.

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  55. She is really beautiful and amazing. You are a good parents to her

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  56. Growing up with a Catholic upbringing I tried my best to bring my kids the way I brought up, but I can never forced them to be one. I can totally relate.

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  57. Great story. This really reminds me of when my son was younger. I did love that he had a great passion for something like that at such a young age. He could have been on another path leading him in the wrong direction of life so I was proud of him.

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  58. I am not religious either, but I believe that there's a higher being out there. I think what they call people like me, deists. It's nice that you're daughter's interested in the bible though. And I love that you're supportive of your kids!

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  59. I like the fact that you're supportive of what they want to believe and that you're also not forcing them to believe what you do. It's very refreshing to see parents like you!

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  60. Love this, both my daughters believe in God. They sing songs and praise him, I support them all the way as you do yours!

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  61. This is so beautiful. I love that you choose to love your child for who she is. I wish Christians would reciprocate and to the same for their friends who are not believers. As a believer myself, I know I do, but I see so many people filled with hate and prejudice. <3 <3 much love.

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  62. So awesome, I think its very important to let our kids choose their own beliefs. Well done to you x

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  63. All I can say is you are awesome and more parents should be like you. You are raising an amazing future adult, good job!!

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