My son is very bright, and has a very inquiring mind. Recently he has been coming to me with questions and it is getting to the point where I am not certain how to proceed. I have shared custody with his father who I left before my two older children can remember. My ex considers himself Christian and has a really eclectic approach to it, having some really extreme/fundamentalist views on some things and more progressive or laid back views all together. All in all, he tends to be a lot more talk than walk... (i left the relationship because he was abusive towards me, he had these beliefs but acted the opposite of what he claimed to practice and only used his religion to enforce his controlling and sexist actions, etc). He also never really attended a church except on a whim and never studied scripture or anything while we were together, although I don't feel that's what's most important about any one faith.
Every once in awhile he takes my son to church with him. Probably only a few times. But recently a few things have come up... An argument and discussion in my car between my partners son and my son about death and god- they are both 5- and my partners son was raised agnostic more or less- and my son was talking about heaven and Jesus and asking me to clarify. I was neutral and honest with him that his dad and many people believe that but not everyone, and we discussed other belief systems. Another time he came home and was wanting to watch a documentary on Netflix, about dinosaurs (he prefers science documentaries over cartoons!)... He was looking for a very specific one and then told me he is not allowed to watch it at dads anymore because "it says fish came out of the ocean and became other animals and they didn't. God made them the way they are." then he asked me if it was true. Ai! So we had another neutral discussion about. Evolution and creation... And then he probably watched that documentary 10 times after the fact. More little instances popped up... Then the other night he started talking to me about when people die again... And started describing a scenario that kind of sounded like the second coming and revelations?? He said he watched a movie about it with his dad a even tho it wasn't for kids, whatever that means... So I kind of left that one hanging so I could think some more on it.
I am a Buddhist. I try to practice through my mothering and daily life. However, I have never made this claim to my children outright because I felt like they were too young to grasp it and that the best way to share that with them was by practicing my beliefs in my daily life. I also feel that ultimately my children should decide for themselves. On the other hand I do want to share that part of myself with my daily, communally. I hadn't really gotten to the point of when and how exactly I would go about it, but now there seems to be a question posed and I am trying to figure out how to answer it.
I Have no problem with my ex sharing that part of himself with my son, it is his right. But I do not have the same beliefs as him, so I also feel conflicted about just being neutral and not offering up my take on existence... Especially from what I know of my ex being kind of inconsistent and imbalanced with his beliefs and practices, I worry my son will end up more confused than anything else. Also, by asking me so much about these things it makes me feel like he is showing me he is ready to learn more about other religions and philosophies, particularly what his own mother believes.
I just am not quite sure how to go about it. Like I said, I practice, study, meditate in our home... And I have an altar, statues, books, meditation tools and Buddhist art around our home. I have just never explained it fully to him.
Has anyone else here reached this point or made decisions about what you were going to share with your children religiously/spiritually? Any Buddhist parents out there? Anyone had to deal with exes not sharing the same beliefs as you and children being conflicted.... Or exes getting upset at you sharing your beliefs with your child after they already have?