What role does religion play in your life? I imagine every person reading this will have a slightly different answer.
In this modern-day of social media, consumerism, and an endless expanse of social, religious, and political ideologies, gone is the idea that you must live with the religion you were born into. I know and have shared stories with many couples who practice a religion different from what their parents chose for them. I know many people who have converted to join the religion of their spouse, or have converted to have one unified religion in their household. And for every family I have met who has a parent who converted, I know a family with parents who choose not to convert, and raise their children practicing both religions. The religious landscape is a varied one.
The religious landscape in my home is slightly more straightforward since my husband and I were both raised Catholic. However, for the past several years we have “lapsed.” To be honest, neither of us every really thought much about religion, except for the occasional conversation when a friend would bring it up. We always supplied our stock answer about how we were Catholic, but had issues with the current practices of the church, and struggle with how our political beliefs do not blend with those of the Church..so on and so forth. I never felt any pressure to practice, I never thought about joining our local parish, I was very comfortable letting my religious beliefs and practice lay dormant in my the background of my hectic life.
Then one day, my five-year old started asking, “Why don’t we go to church?” which evolved into “Why can’t I go to church?” which quickly became “Do you know there is a thing called Sunday School? Why can’t I go???” This caught both my husband and I by surprise; we were perplexed with how we should handle it.
After several conversations with our daughter, our parents, the religious education coordinator at the church, and the priest, we made the decision to enroll our daughter in catechism. The decision was not an easy one. There are ideological issues we have with the church, we are not entirely sold on joining this specific parish, and of course there is the practicality of where we will find the time to fit everything in! But, at the end of the day, we felt, that as parents, we could not deny our daughter access to religion. If she asks to attend church and be part of a community, it is our responsibility to help her do so. As she gets older and can better understand the ideology, her feelings could change, as could ours. So going forward we will help to guide her the best we can, and to answer her questions the best we are able. Ultimately, I don’t see myself winning eucharistic minister of the year, or forcing my teenager out of bed in the morning to attend mass. But just like all other aspects of parenting, only time will tell.
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