Friday, April 20, 2012

I'm NOT Christian, But I AM a Good Mother

There's been a lot that has happened since my last blog post. I guess the best way to tackle this would be to go chronologically.

RP is registered for Kindergarten. Yay? I filled in all the forms (and got hand cramps doing it), turned in his physical form, allowed someone from the school to take my precious child away and "test" his readiness for Kindergarten and did it all without a single tear. It was a madhouse since they were running behind with the testing of the kids and the school nurse had to go take care of mid-day medications while we were there, so there was a LOT of waiting. It's a good thing that Mommy has GAMES on her cell phone to occupy a 5 year old while we waited for the testing to happen. We arrived at the same time as another mommy and her little girl and RP introduced himself and started to play with the little girl right away as I filled out form after form after form. The paperwork part went fairly smoothly since I had everything at hand and had my cell phone for phone numbers. The hitch came after they took my baby away to test him. It just seemed to take FOREVER for him to come back. There were kids who left AFTER he did that came back BEFORE he did, and my paranoia went crazy worrying that he is woefully unprepared. When he finally DID come back, I was informed that he "very smart and very imaginative". Apparently he talked the tester's ear off and read a few of the words in a book that they were using to test story-telling ability (tell the story of the picture). Out of 100 "points" he scored 96. WHAT??? Doesn't that translate into an "A" if he were actually in school? I mean, I knew he was kinda bright (and expected him to be since both Patrick and I are) since I don't know of any other kid who at 18 months knew the word "contraption" and could use it correctly in a sentence ... but that kind of floored me. Our instructions for preparing him? "Have a great summer!" Oh, and continue to read to/with him.

Now, I have NOT been pushing stuff like sight-words, math, penmanship (obviously, his is AWFUL!), calculus, playing the violin ... so I was afraid that he would need some help in order to get ready for school in the fall. We HAVE been reading to him for as long as I can remember (I can't remember when we started) and we always tried to speak in complete sentences since before he was born ... we refused to do "baby talk" and asked our families to also speak normally to him. I admit that we allowed ourselves to repeat mispronunciations  like "hospible" (What is that, anyway? A hospitable hospital?) when talking to him, but we always started out with the correct ones until he insisted that WE were wrong. But I have been so anti-pushing him to learn on MY schedule that I was afraid that I was doing him a dis-service by not pushing things. I guess I was actually doing it RIGHT? I mean, I was the one who was home with him all the time. Patrick and Grandma had some influence, but it was ME who was the one who decided to let him learn more organically.

BUT - this result from the Kindergarten testing has me worried. I remember how BORED I was in school in Middle School and High School. I sought out things to learn about on my own even in Elementary School because I wanted to know MORE about the subjects that were taught. I have been a voracious reader all of my life (and was a bit more advanced at reading that RP is when I started Kindergarten) so THAT helped me to learn even more. I have been concerned ever since he appeared to be learning things quickly that I would really have to help supplement his learning as he gets older. Oh well ... I'll figure it out.

Now, on to the other half of this blog entry ...

At the request of my Mother-In-Law and my husband (who just wanted to SHUT HER UP on feeling that I was preventing RP from attending Sunday School at her church), I started allowing RP to go to church with Grandma. I had very grave misgivings about it since my entire side of the family is either agnostic or some flavor of "pagan", but it seemed to be important to Grandma and I DO want RP to have access to a variety of religions and religious instruction. I personally am NOT Christian and I DO NOT like Grandma's church because they are just this side of Southern Baptist, but I still let him go with Grandma. I figured it would help give him some experience at following directions in a classroom setting and give him even more socialization. But we have come to a problem, in my opinion.

I was sick last week and RP said he would pray to Jesus for me to feel better. When I pointed out that he could ALSO pray to the Goddess, he said that his Sunday School teacher said I could pray to whomever I wanted but that she wants HIM to pray to Jesus. Um ... wait a fucking second, lady ... I am his mother, not you. You have now effectively started undermining me by that instruction. What ever happened to the commandment to "honor thy father and mother"? I guess that's only for "non-heathen" Christian or Jewish children. It made me honestly feel COLD inside. It also made me very angry.

I am trying very hard to raise a child who is tolerant of differences in other people, especially when it comes to religious matters. I am a moral person - I have to be. I was raised by a commissioned Air Force officer. My child is being raised to be polite, have respect for authority (but not blindly follow authority if it means harm to him or others) and to treat others the way they want to be treated. He is being raised with "An ye harm none, do as ye will" as the guiding principle in his life ... and the 10 commandments boil down to just that. Lying harms both yourself and other people. Murder, well that one should be obvious that it is hurting another person. Coveting/Jealousy hurts yourself and the relationship with the person you are jealous of. Keeping one day "holy" for rest is to prevent you from harming yourself with overwork. Honoring your elders is to prevent you from harming the relationship with them and to maintain your community ties. As far as the "Thou shalt have no other Gods before me" ... well, putting Jesus ahead of God is just that, as well as the Virgin Mary and myriad of Saints in the Catholic church . The no graven images is broken by most churches who have pictures of Jesus AND GOD in the church, as well as the aforementioned Mary and the Saints. I have no images of any gods in my home, and I break down my Higher Power into a masculine and feminine who are EQUAL (thus no god is put before another). Technically I am following those commandments better than the Christians are in my eyes. I am not anti-Christian. I am anti what people have done with the religion. I don't understand why over half of the New Testament consists of letters purportedly by a man who never actually MET Jesus and who spouted misogyny at every chance he could. I just don't understand it.

One of my main concerns stems from my Father-In-Law's funeral where the "preacher" told a story about his dentist and what a lovely man he is. This dentist is gentle, giving, compassionate and a very moral man according to the "preacher". What a shame that the dentist is GOING TO HELL because he's JEWISH. This set off alarm bells in my mind. What the hell are they going to tell my son about his Grammy who is Wiccan? Or MOMMY who has done a lot of comparative religious study and blended aspects of many religions into her own spirituality? I ascribe to aspects of Wicca, Druidry and Shamanism. These are my HERITAGE. I am part Lakota and very Celtic in other parts ... so these religions come from my ancestors. My father always felt more in tune with his Higher Power when out in nature (which makes sense since my Druidry comes to me through his family tree). I descend from Picts, Druids, Angles, Saxons, Galls, Norsemen/Norsewomen, Lakota, Romans and even supposedly Jews (specifically, Joseph of Aramathea). I honor ALL of my ancestors in my spirituality. Isn't that what I am SUPPOSED to do? Isn't that what my son is supposed to do? I am scared that he will be POISONED against his family because of this church.



  1. I agree completely and I sympathize wholeheartedly.

    My oldest is baptized. I promised I would raise him Christian to his godparents since they have problems with the fact that I'm Wiccan (althugh my husband certainy does not.) Both the boys go to public schol, although my youngest, who is autistic, goes to a special program in a different school and has trouble with the concept of religion and spiritualism--if it's not tangible he has a hard problem grasping the concept.

    So my oldest, who just turned 10, has heard a lot of Christian spirituality, and about Mommy's beliefs and Daddy's (a Deist who believes in a Higher power but rejects the idea of organized worship.) And he's pretty good about it; he conforms at school but doesn't make a big deal out of it at home, and although he calls on God whenever Mommy or Daddy ask him to something TOTALLY unreasonable ('Go clean your room' is usually met with 'Jee-zusss!') but I haven't seen him outardly disrespectful of eiher me or his dad of any of his Christian relatives. And while we don't identify ourselcves as Christian, both my sonse come home with progress reports where their teachers say they are polite, well-mannered, and a joy to teach.

    I wouldnt be worried about your son becoming poisoned aginst you because of the church. Yes it's going to hur when he says stuff like that and you re goingto doubt yourselfmany many timesover the next few years. But 'Do as I say, not as I do' doesn't work for kids--they are a lot more perceptive than we give them credit for sometimes, and in the end, if the church tells them youre bad because of what you believe but he has never seen you display anything but love and his best interests, if you've raised him to be a perceptive, thinking independent individual he will recognize the rhetoric for what it is and come to his own conclusions. The goal here is to not inculcatehim with you belifs, but to raise him with enough sense to think through and make his own decisions. And if he does find that he prefers the Christian faith, that is his chice as a self-determining individual.
    There is no one true way, and the way you find may be good for you but not necessarily for anyone else,since your perception is going to be different than everyone else's since YOU are different from anyone else.
    If it isn't true, going to do some good, or spread a little love around, don't say it, do it, or think it. In other words, some lies are okay. If your husband is self conscious about his looks and you're late for a dinner and he says to you, "Honey does this shirt make me look fat?' are you going to be hont or in the interests of keeping the peace in the family, say 'of course not, let's go, food's waiting?'
    Leave the world a litte better than you found it. Do at least one nice thing every day, however little; whether getting up on the bus to let an elderly woman sit or picking up a nice stray dog and taking it to a shelter to be cared for.