My parents took me to church, so I had the opportunity to learn, but whatever I believe nowadays is whatever I have decided was right rather than reflecting their beliefs. Since my beliefs have deviated from theirs, it's been hard at times... especially because my mother fears I'm going to hell. The thought is hard for me in that my soul might be lost, and frustrating for me because I feel like she can never understand me and thus our connection is weakened. My mom was never a good "discusser of ideas," and any time I had a different opinion in my family, I felt like my voice was undermined/dismissed. So for many years I never allowed myself to openly share what I believed with them.
My own kids have been raised within the church, and my ex has beliefs similar to my mother's. But we are both a bit different in that we allow our kids to speak their minds and explore and examine and criticize. We want our kids to be open. I think I do better with the "openness" thing since I am not holding a particular belief set as 100% true per se, so no matter where my kids end up, what matters to me is HOW they work through it, not necessarily what conclusions they arrive at.
I am really happy with my eldest right now. He does claim to be a Republican (which in my area is synonymous with being Christian) right now because I think he agrees with the Repub stance of some of the social (and thus "moral") issues that are prevalent in our society... but he's ranted to me a great deal about beliefs in the church that he thinks are stupid from a rational viewpoint, and he's always open to explore a new idea. That is all I really want for him. Even if he differs from me, I want us to be close by being able to share our thoughts and feelings about faith and similar matters, without shame or fear of rejection.
The same with my other children too. I want them to be empowered and equipped to challenge ideas and challenge themselves, so as to come to better conclusions about what they think life is worth living for.
I agree with all of this. Not all of it was EXPLICIT in my environment growing up, but it was IMPLICIT... and because I am sensitive and intuitive, it was all the same to me. I grew up very scared and self-loathing because of how I felt like my culture viewed me, and because I had trouble getting outside validation so that I could trust my inner compass.Originally Posted by Beefeater
I hate how the church often opts out of culture. My kids are learning how to navigate WITHIN culture.
I also hated how I grew up being afraid of the world, and then realizing later in life that the world actually was not as ugly or dangerous as I had been told -- there were some very beautiful things in life to experience and share. I realized the people I left behind lived more in fear and for a long time I had been living in that same shadow.