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  1. #1
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    Default Feeling manipulated

    About 3 years ago, I took the big step of coming out of Islam and into Christianity. My chosen denomination was the Church of England, in the Anglican/Episcopalian Communion. I was baptized and confirmed. I went to services very frequently and began training for the priesthood.

    I have never forced my kids to practice religion purely because I do. Whenever I've been involved in religious activities, be it services or anything else, I've always given them the option of going to play at a friend's house or something, or accompanying me if they want to. Most of the time they've chosen to come with me, but I've never taken this for granted and every single Sunday (or whatever) I've always asked them the question (and the night before too) "Do you want to come to church or shall I drop you off at [someplace else they like to be]?"

    My eldest daughter, K, being the sociable ExFJ that she is, decided to accept an invitation to go along to the youth group on a Tuesday afternoon, after school. She's continued to go there for a little over a year now, though I strongly think the main reason for her is social rather than spiritual. Occasionally, the youth group prepares plays and other presentations, to give during the Sunday services in church, and K always bags herself some star part.

    Now, here's where the problem starts: for the last 10 months or so, I've been having increasingly strong issues with the church, coming to a point where I've simply stopped going, as going there has a considerably negative effect on me (and thereby a knock-on effect on the kids). What the issues are, is beside the point here; suffice it to say, I very strongly do not want to go to church and can't see that changing in the foreseeable future. I've given up my training and pretty much dropped out of the church.

    But K still goes to the youth group. And she expects me to go to the services where she's performing or presenting something with the youth group, just to support her. Sometimes I do go, just for her, but I really, really hate it; I'm literally seething all the way through and can barely bring myself to applaud the kids because I feel so bitter and angry at the hypocrisy of how the church does the total opposite of all the good values they've taught those kids to perform songs and dances about. So, I more often than not don't go.

    I'm feeling now like, though I've never forced my kids to go along with stuff they don't want to do just for me, I'm now being forced to go against my spiritual integrity just for K. I'm also cynically aware that at least half the reason why the youth group leaders make them do these presentations is in order to manipulate their parents into attending services to boost the falling attendance figures and get more money in the collection plate.

    Would it be fair for me to tell K she can't go to the youth group any more? Somehow I instictively feel that it wouldn't be.

    Is it fair for me to refuse to go to services just to support her performances? I'm not too sure about that one...

    Would it be fair for me to suggest she go to the group, but not get involved in performances? Not sure about that one either...

    I do know though, that the very least effective way of all to get me to do anything is to try to make me feel that I 'ought' to. But I feel that both the church leaders AND my own daughter are trying to "should" me into periodically appearing to support something I've consciously decided against. Is that fair?

    As usual when emotion enters the equation, I'm all of a muddle and don't really know how to sort out this tangle of connected-but-disparate facts and questions. Any help will be welcome.
    Ils se d�merdent, les mecs: trop bon, trop con..................................MY BLOG!

    "When it all comes down to dust
    I will kill you if I must
    I will help you if I can" - Leonard Cohen

  2. #2
    Diabolical Kasper's Avatar
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    You're the parent it's not about fair and unfair, if you feel it is an unhealthy environment than find another alternative for her. She probably won't like it but there should be other social outlets she could get involved with that would fill the gap.

  3. #3
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    Hmm... it's not that I think it's unhealthy for her per se... the political/sociological stuff that pisses me off so much about it is sorta all over her head at the moment, and the group does teach her good things that I do agree with and condone. What I don't condone is how the clergy do nothing to exemplify or encourage those things themselves, but the group isn't run by clergy, it's done by lay volunteers. What goes on in the group is generally positive and good for the kids, but it has to 'tie in' with services occasionally because of course it's all funded by the church.

    K does have friends there that mean a lot to her and if she stopped going she'd be unlikely to see these friends anywhere else, it would hit her quite hard I think... there isn't really much in the way of alternatives round here, either...
    Ils se d�merdent, les mecs: trop bon, trop con..................................MY BLOG!

    "When it all comes down to dust
    I will kill you if I must
    I will help you if I can" - Leonard Cohen

  4. #4
    Senior Member Bella's Avatar
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    Wow, this is big. I sympathize, but I don't think I have valuable input for you. Hope you find some answers, Sub.
    yesiknowimamiserablegrouchnowgoawayovmeleor

    It's Mizzz ST, thank you...

  5. #5
    Diabolical Kasper's Avatar
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    Ah ok, tough one. If there are benefits for her to be involved but youre not comfortable going to the church I'd suggest you come to some kind of understanding with her that you won't be going to see all of her performances and maybe she could select a few specific ones she's excited about for you to see and make a big deal out of them.

  6. #6
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    I'd say, if we're talking about fair/not fair, that your daughter should be free to go to the youth group and participate in the performances, if she so wishes and you should be free not to be present to any of her performances.

    I think it might be even better if you explained that to her. If not for any other reason, just as a lesson for religious tolerance and acceptance of personal choices of each one. You respect her wish to participate to that group, she should respect your wish to not have anything to do with them.

  7. #7
    desert pelican Owl's Avatar
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    I suggest you become a member of some church, and then start taking K there. Do you want your daughter taught by hypocrites?

    I know this will probably sound obvious... but you should find a church where the word is taught and practiced most faithfully and attend there. No church is 100% pure. You may have to work to reform the church from the inside. I don't know where you are. This Anglican church may be where you need to be at the moment. Wherever you are, I cannot stress enough the importance of being connected to the body of Christ.

    I hope God makes your path clear.

  8. #8
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    yeah... trouble is tho, that then she feels all sorta left out and stuff, and y'know... she's Fe dom... shit like me being there to support means a lot to her (my parents never attended anything I did and it didn't really bother me, but it bothers her big time if I miss something of hers). But it's understandable that it makes her feel shitty when all the other kids' families are there and she's kinda 'on her own'.

    This is why I wasn't meant to be a family man! lol Can't serve two masters... I feel like I'm being forced to choose between my daughter and my spiritual integrity, and I know in a choice like that, the latter's gonna win out... which means the kid always loses out... either way, someone's always losing out, or in fact both of us cos though I don't regret not choosing her, it still hurts that it has that effect on her... bleh.

    Owl - like I said, she's not taught by the hypocrites but by the more genuine lay volunteers... any church you can go to will have as many hypocrites as genuine people... anywhere, in fact. And I do feel connected - it's that connection with Christ that's inspired me to break the connection with ... ehhh... I worked to reform things from the inside but... that's complicated... couldnt get anywhere cos the whole thing's geared to keep it in the family if you know what I mean... ehhh anyway my issues with the church in specific aren't what's the point here... the denomination I'd choose stopped existing about 700 years ago lol
    Ils se d�merdent, les mecs: trop bon, trop con..................................MY BLOG!

    "When it all comes down to dust
    I will kill you if I must
    I will help you if I can" - Leonard Cohen

  9. #9
    Queen hunter Virtual ghost's Avatar
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    What you should do?


    How about telling the truth to K?

    But in that case you must not be blunt about it. Probably it would not hurt if you explain the deeper side of the stroy. Since she is young she probably is not aware of that part.

    If you are going to pull her out you should have a replacement right away since you don't want here to feel isolated because of you. After all she is EF.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Antisocial one View Post
    How about telling the truth to K?
    You say that like you assume I haven't already... which of course, I have. What I'm saying is that this is of little comfort for her. To her, she just feels like 'something else' is more important to me than supporting her, and that hurts, she can't really see past that.

    She's aware of the whole story of my struggles with the church and the clergy, fully aware. Just, to her, none of that should matter when it comes to her 'needing' me.
    Ils se d�merdent, les mecs: trop bon, trop con..................................MY BLOG!

    "When it all comes down to dust
    I will kill you if I must
    I will help you if I can" - Leonard Cohen

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