Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Choices

It's been a while since I've posted here.

My life in real life is busier than I ever thought it could be.

I have chosen to allow my children to decide for themselves about religion.

I have given my reasons for that here in earlier posts.



So, today when my youngest daughter was told by her best friend that "We are no longer friends because you are not Christian and we have nothing in common..."

It kinda broke my heart.

They've patched things up and they've agreed to disagree on religion but, the fact that her best friend wouldn't want to be my daughter's friend because she's not religious, hurts me a lot.


I feel like I've failed but at the same time....

I'm not going to force her to believe in something or someone just to be liked.


Sigh....

19 comments:

Snowbrush said...

It's with her as it is with us. When you break out of the sheep line, you find out who your friends are.

Green-Eyed Momster said...

@ Snowbrush....It hurts when it's my own daughter that's being judged.

Have I failed her?

Will I ever know?

Thanks and hugs!!

evolveintobirds said...

How do you think you've failed her? I would have felt like I failed only if my daughter had then decided to become a xtian to keep the friendship.

Everyone is being judged pretty much all the time, even our homeschooled kids who don't have to deal with the very high level of peer judgement that goes on in schools. I have been very clear with my kids that they have choices. They do not *have to* accept that judgement...whatever it is. They can make other friends, go other places, challenge the thinking, etc. I didn't have those choices and I'm pretty jacked up because of it.

You can't protect them from everything. They have to learn things on their own. Be her soft landing and she'll be fine. :)

Anonymous said...

Not giving her direction in matters of faith is like not giving her safety instructions for life.
Making her find faith by herself would be equivalent to telling her to play on the streets to learn about the world. There are too many who would lead her into trouble and despair. She needs your loving guidance. Perhaps the reason you feel this way is you aren't sure what faith values to give her.
We cannot pass on to our kids that which we do not possess.

Perhaps you and she could begin a faith journey together. Explore various faiths you feel may be acceptable. Go with her to different places of faith. Ask questions, then discuss it with her.

Later on she will thank you for the parental moral and spiritual guidance and help.
That isn't forcing her, it is helping her. Like supporting her school efforts at learning, or taking her to the doctor when she is sick.

-from a father of 3 boys,one an adult child.

evolveintobirds said...

@ Anon

I have to say that I don't think you are understanding the issue. If I understand GEM correctly, she doesn't feel like she has failed because she has chosen to let her kids make their own decisions about religion.

Your advice to her is akin to telling me, as an Anarchist (who has chosen to let my kids decide what political beliefs they will hold) to take my kids to various party conventions and expose them to party platforms so they can choose their political affiliation.

Firstly, they haven't asked for that assistance. Secondly, because I believe that governments, of any affiliation, are not a Good Thing, why would I take them by the hand and say "Here, look: there are many political parties that have many different approaches to governing people. Which do you like best?" As an Anarchist my values are that of "no government" just as an atheist has values of "no gods". There are no political parties that I find acceptable just as an atheist has no religion that they find acceptable (that's why they are atheist). Have you read the sidebar that says that all the writers here have *been* religious and have chosen to leave religion?

What if GEM were to follow your advice and later her dd didn't "thank her for the parental moral and spiritual guidance"? What if instead it just confuses her dd and she comes away from it wondering if maybe her friend was right and she can only be acceptable if she is a person of faith? What message does that send? I don't think that's the message that GEM is looking for.

-from a mother of three children, one an adult (and so what?? GEM has 4 kids, one who is an adult. What's with the subtle appeal to authority?)

Green-Eyed Momster said...

Wow!!

Anonymous, I thank you for your input. I appreciate the advice and I see your side. Since I cannot guarantee my kids a Heaven or God to "save them and always be there for them" I haven't forced them to believe what I cannot promise them. As for faith. It confuses me, hence this blog.

Evolveintobirds, I thank you and I miss you!! You've always been there for me and I will always be grateful for you!! Hugs!!

P.S. I felt (for about a minute) that maybe I should have forced religion/faith etc. on her like my parents did to me because I didn't want her to lose her best friend. They are still friends and I've told my daughter to avoid the subject of religion with her. That's working for now.

Snowbrush said...

"I felt (for about a minute) that maybe I should have forced religion/faith etc."

I sometimes hear atheists say that they took their kids to church so the kids could decide for themselves how they felt about religion. Given the lifelong trauma that I have suffered from being taken to church, I rather think that taking your kids to church is not necessarily better than allowing a pedophile to rape them in order to let your kids decide how they like sex with forty year old men. If a person thinks of religion--as I do--as one of the chief evils in the world, then why on earth would he subject his children to it?

Anonymous said...

Faith is not religion. Faith is not church or synagogue or mosque attendence. Faith is what you believe about life, what you hope for.
Atheists have faith and in some ways more so that people who place faith in God, gods or the "force".

@evolveintobirds: there is a difference between being an a-theist and being an anti-theist. One is no god(s) and the other is against god(s). Anarchism is against law/government, not just the absence of political affiliation.

You said you can't protect your children from everything. I agree, but you can protect them from ignorance and misinformation to teh best of your ability.

You teach your children anarchism, you teach them anti-theism as well. You do it just like you teach them how to dress properly, wash their hands so they don't get sick, avoid things that are bad for them(based on your own experience and beliefs)

"Firstly, they haven't asked for that assistance. "
We all learn by two methods, by hearing about other peoples experience or by our own experience.
Unsolicited advice is like saying "look out!" to someone who doesn't see the car about to run them down from behind. I think your kid would say thanks if you shouted that unsolicited advice. Rather than be there in the hospital room as their "soft landing"

Letting them make up their minds freely without influence sounds good on paper, but it fails in reality. You are giving them your beliefs and faith(see above definition) and like those of religion or political party affiliation you promote your beliefs by your words and actions.
All you do by not helping them is saying leave me in my beliefs and go find your own....they most certainly will, but you may not like it when they do.

"What if GEM were to follow your advice" Anyone can play "what if"
I can too. What if your child leaves you still ignorant and naive and falls into a cult and "drinks the cool-aid" because you didn't warn her or give her good if unsolicited advice.

"What's with the subtle appeal to authority?' I think your own hostility to authority may be an issue with your civility.
My signing it that way was to show I am in the same boat as a parent and not a 12 year old kid giving out parenting advice.

gotdoubts said...

Avoiding the half truths and lies based on a lack of education about atheism and atheists that Anonymous is saying.

I will just say this GEM.

You are a great mom. You have raised great kids. They make mistakes, but the best thing you have taught them is responsibility. To themselves, others and the world as a society.

They can't change what others think or feel. As long as you have raised them based on being the best that they can be to themselves and others, and to know they are good people, especially in the face of bigotry, then you have done what a parent needs to do.

Religion doesn't teach anyone how to be a good person any more than it teaches someone to be a bad person.

I'm not a parent, so I'm not one to give out advice on parenting.

However, I do know that religion does not a good person make... and I think that your daughter's friend proves that point.

And BTW anonymous, most cults are religiously based.

evolveintobirds said...

@ Anon
"Faith is not religion. Faith is not church or synagogue or mosque attendence. Faith is what you believe about life, what you hope for."

So, when you advised GEM to take "a faith journey together. Explore various faiths you feel may be acceptable. Go with her to different places of faith" you weren't talking about religions and places of worship? You were suggesting that she visit things that she hopes for? How exactly does she visit what she believes about life?

I am uncivil because I believe people should work cooperatively and voluntarily with one another? You are reading "hostility" into my political beliefs where there is none. Similarly, you mistake Anarchism with the desire to destroy government.

Atheists are not anti-theist (for how can we be against things that do not exist?)so, no...I don't teach my kids any such thing. It sounds like you believe you need to exert control over every aspect of your children's lives. Like, if you aren't constantly making sure they know your opinion on something that they will make terrible choices and ruin their lives. Know what? They still might. That's the nature of kids and parenting. I understand full well that all of my efforts to lead my children to information and to lead them by example may all be for naught. Does that mean I've failed to do my "job"? Nope. You can scream "Watch out!" to the child about to step in front of a car and sometimes they still do. All throughout their lives. And you know full well the difference between matters of physical harm and choosing one's values. You are being disingenuous to suggest an equivalency.

I stand by my advice to be a "soft landing". Children are going to make choices so they can know for themselves whether or not their parent's experience/advice rings true. They are going to make some choices we as parents don't agree with. Being there after with open arms and a shoulder to cry on is sometimes all that we can do.

Green-Eyed Momster said...

Thank you Snowbrush, Evolveintobirds and Gotdoubts. I love you.

Anonymous, why are you anonymous?

Anonymous said...

Just a thought I wonder why people home school their kids? I come up with three reasons:
1. They think they can do a better job preparing them for the big world better than a school could prepare them.
2. They want to control every aspect of their life so much so they can't let them go and be indoctrinated anyone else.
3. They are basically so irresponsible they just pull them out and call it home schooling.


If answer 1 or 2
Why then when it comes to an area such as theism or atheism would one say I'm going to let them make up their own mind? I very much doubt that. I think a home school parent is going to give them "the opinion" they should have.
Unless of course the answer is number 3..then it would make complete sense.

So this isn't really an open place about doubting and trying to find answers. It appears everyone here has their mind made up and your all in agreement. Your posts make that clear.

gotdoubts said...

Anonymous: Personally, I'm not a fan of home schooling, mostly because it has been hijacked by too many religious groups who do it to educate using a religious lens instead of the truth.

You are right. Those of us here are non-believers. We are here to help those who doubt see that going to a church for answers isn't the only place they need to look.

I also am a big fan of religious education. Most atheists I have known have studied religion. We have actually read the bible and come to the conclusion it's all bullshit. I think parents should teach their children about religions as education not indoctrination.

evolveintobirds said...

I see, Anon. You can't really address my comments so you resort to ad hominem against us because we homeschool. Guess we're done.

Snowbrush said...

"I see, Anon. You can't really address my comments so you resort to ad hominem"

Anonymous writers so often turn out to be mean-spirited that I rarely address anything they say. Besides, it's just no fun talking to someone who insists on hiding himself.

Anonymous said...

@evolveintobirds: I defer to your expertise on ad hominem attacks. That is all you have done toward me from my first post.(see your father of 3 boys comment)

@Snowbrush: I have not been "mean spirited" but I certainly have found it here among those who claim to have truth and the superior philosophy of life.

Beside, there is no "spirit", no great flying spaghetti monster, just us humans here. So I have no spirit to be mean with, just my mind and instincts.

I made an honest post in response to the blog about not forcing my beliefs on my kid, and not denying them access to any of them, even the ones I don't believe in personally, to educate them about various "faiths". Why not expose them to Islam, or Christianity or Wicca alongside Atheism? Cannot Atheism stand on its own merits or must it be shown to them using straw man arguments?

If being atheist means responding to strangers the way you have responded to me, no one "doubting" will come here to discuss, for they must fall in step with you or be attacked. That is no different than a fundamentalist.
Why would I want to expose myself to further attack by registering with Google?
No, you have proven who is "mean spirited" and it wasn't me.

I will move on and find less attitude to deal with.

Green-Eyed Momster said...

Thanks Anonymous.

I feel much better with the decisions that I've made.

Green-Eyed Momster said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Holmes Family said...

GEM, I don't think you have failed her. I think you have given her a great gift. The gift of being able to know who her REAL friends. So many people float through life surrounded by fake individuals, living their lives in an attempt to be welcomed to these people. But they forget to welcome themself. They forget to LOVE the person they look at each morning. Far better for your daughter to have a small number of friends who truly love her as she loves herself, than a large number of people who don't really give a damn about her.