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atheist/agnostic tribe - Page 33

post #641 of 698


Niamh: Thank you so much for taking the time to read my concerns and I really appreciate your honesty.

I mentioned I would feel uncomfortable If my son asks "why are they praying?". I was meaning I would feel uncomfortable explaining it in front of my inlaws. You are right though, it will make me look silly and that was where my nervousness was coming from. We have decided to let our son know that if he wants to pray with them that he can. 

I think my issue with him going to church and praying is I don't want him doing something he isn't able to fully understand and there is only so much his mind will be able to comprehend when he is a child. I just want him to make an educated decision. 

It is not that I want to ban him from church because I think that he should have the opportunity to go and I don't want to take that away from him. I think I am just trying to protect him. I was forced to go to church because my step dad wanted my sister and I baptized. I didn't understand why I was there and felt a lot of judgment. I have always felt very uncomfortable in church (not just my step-father's) and I don't want him to ever feel that way or feel judged. I think I need to focus on letting go of some of my insecurities...

 

We really want to teach Leo about all religions as they are all interesting to us as well as emphasizing  nature. I like your idea of building up a community for him which is something we will focus on.

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with me. In my post I was being really honest and openly admitting my fears, but I am just trying to realize that Leo is going to be his only little person and I have the opportunity to guide and share my own unique perspective with him 

post #642 of 698
Quote:
Originally Posted by philomom View Post
Sweetie, a lot of these things should have been hashed out pre-kid. That said, you need to schedule some grown up time to talk to your dh about your feelings. This is really a topic not to be wishy washy about. How can he teach your son to be a believer if you are not one? The things about church that folks crave are the fellowship and the ritual/tradition of it all. Create some traditions in your new family that have nothing to do with the church. Things your child/children will look forward to each year.


We have talked about it, and will probably be talking more about it as the issue comes up. We are going to start focusing on new traditions so that we can establish some rituals with him. I like the idea of saying a prayer at the table after we have a nice home cooked meal together and thanking the earth for the food it has given us. I found some interesting ones, at offbeatmama.com if anybody is interested. 

"How I say grace without brining capital R Religion into it" http://offbeatmama.com/2010/11/secular-grace


Edited by zenmumajen - 3/23/11 at 12:29pm
post #643 of 698
We didn't have a grace ritual other than looking at each other and being glad we had make it through another day of school/work, etc.

We did have a nighttime ritual where I would make a circle over their heads and say "magic circle safe and sound, till the morning sun comes round". They loved it!
post #644 of 698

Reading through some of the recent posts, I feel quite lucky to have a husband who is on the same page as me with atheism and parents who accept me. I may or may not have mentioned before that my father was a priest and my mother was a nun, both Catholic (Italian and Irish, respectively).  My dad was on his way out anyway, and they met and decided to leave the church and marry.  I was baptized by a priest friend of my father at our house and went to church on holidays until I was about 7 years old and decided that it was ridiculous, but that was about the extent of my religion.  My dad is a retired sociology professor.  He is a very open minded man and got me interested in native american sprituality, thus openning me up at a young age to the fact that there were many options out there.  I always tended to look at religion academically, though.  I wrote a pretty in depth paper on shamanism in college and also took a philosphy of religion course. I have found that as I have grown older and as my kids get a little older, I've become stonger and more open about my atheist beliefs.  I, for one, was blown away in a very horrible way by Jesus Camp.  My husband laughed at the disgusted, disbelieving look on my face while we watched.  I am so glad that my parents didn't send my to ccd and make me go to church every week as a child.  I never even imagined that a parent would send a child to a camp like that, or that such a camp existed. 

One issue that I do have lately is that my husband wants to hold off on telling the boys anything at all about religion.  Im worried about what they may or may not be picking up it school and think that we ought to give them some basic understanding of what it is possible to beleive and what we do and do not believe.  I need to talk to my husband about this again and try and come up with the best way to go about giving them just enough info.  I could definitely see my kindergartner announcing to his class that his mom and dad don't believe in god and don't understand why people go to church..

On another note, anyone else participating in "A Week" on facebook.  I've been having some fun with it.

 

post #645 of 698

Me again.  I've got a bit of a dilemma.  My family has been invited to a confirmation (or is it communion?) party for one of my second grader's friends.  I know his mom through school and we are on friendly terms.  She is nice.  He is a good kid.  Our boys aren't quite that good of friends any more, as they haven't been in the same class since kindergarten.  We went to his birthday party a few weeks ago and now we're invited to this. 

My main dilemma is that if we decide to go, what do I tell my boys?  I don't even know what confirmation is really.  I'm not sure what or how much to tell my boys.  The mom is a facebook friend.  So, she most likely noticed that I celebrated "A" week not long ago.  If she's looked at my information she would have seen the pages freedom from religion, americans for the separation of church and state, dna fish, etc.  Would it be offensive to tell her that we appreciate the invite, but since we're not a religious family and I don't want to hear too many questions from my 5 year old, we aren't going to be able to make it?  Or just make up an excuse- plans with my mom that I had forgotten about?  Just go and deal with the questions the best I can and hope my five year old doesn't blurt out anything embarassing to a bunch of religious people?  And if so, give the friend a card? Money?  I guess I need to do a little confirmation research...

 

post #646 of 698
If the child is in 2nd grade, this would be for First Communion. Confirmation is later, like grade 5 (at least it was when I was growing up in the Catholic Church). Are you invited to the service at church? Or just the celebration after the ceremony? Or both. Why are you afraid of answering your child's questions?
post #647 of 698

Thank you.  Communion it is.  I will look into that. 

My two boys are very different.  I can talk to my 8 year old (not just because of his age, but also his personality) and know that he will think about what I say and that he understands when it is and isn't appropriate to talk about things.  My 5 year old is completely different.  Whereas my 8 year old and I are reserved and introverted, he is friends with everyone, talks non-stop and is very sure of himself.  Even if he has false information, he feels the need to tell everyone and proclaim the truth in what he says.  Anything that I tell him will undoubtably be repeated to everyone that he talks to, perhaps as I tell it and perhaps distorted and modified. 

There seem to be a large number of religious people at their public school.  I get along with them just fine, but don't tend to talk religion (or politics) with most of them.  I don't hide that I'm an atheist, but I don't jump into religious discussions either.  I don't want there to be any issues with my kids or with my family because of the beliefs that my husband and I hold. 

Also, there is the issue of my husband and I not seeing eye to eye on what to tell the kids and when.  I know that they will be picking things up at school, if they aren't already, and would like them to have a bit of a foundation of our own beliefs.  My husband wants to wait until they ask questions and then probably be vague or redirect them.. I'm sure part of his reluctance is due to our 5 year old's personality.

 

And I'm pretty sure we're just invited to the celebration. 

 

 

post #648 of 698



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KatWrangler View Post

 Why are you afraid of answering your child's questions?



I'm wondering the same thing as well.

 

At 5, the explanation you give your son about his friend's First Communion need not be complicated. Why not just tell your son that his friend's family enjoys going to XYZ church, and that the friend's Communion is a special part of his membership in the church. If your DS asks why he doesn't get to have a First Communion, you can tell him it's because you aren't members of that church.

 

As far as not being sure whether you should attend the celebration, you will have to follow your heart on that one. I personally feel going would be a nice gesture on your part, but you certainly are not obligated to do so. Personally, I feel that choosing to not celebrate a friend's special occasion just because they have spiritual or religious beliefs that are different from mine is somewhat close-minded, and I will attend unless I find out that the ceremony involves something I find morally or ethically objectionable (which has never happened to me). Even if you don't believe in God or enjoy church, you may find the celebration that follows the ceremony to be enjoyable. There will almost certainly be other kids at the celebration, and it might be fun for your son to get together with other kids from school at a party (I have been to First Communion celebrations, and the only God/Jesus talk I head was from the priest during the ceremony itself, not at the celebratory party that followed the ceremony).

 

If you choose not to go, I would NOT tell her that it's because you don't believe what she believes. Unless she's forcing her beliefs on you and hounding you about your atheism, IMO that would be a pretty rude thing to say to someone you consider a casual friend. A happy medium might be to send the child a card recognizing the occasion, so his mom knows that you care about her child's special day, along with your regrets you can't attend.

 

HTH. 

 

post #649 of 698
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissMaegie'sMama View Post



 



I'm wondering the same thing as well.

 

At 5, the explanation you give your son about his friend's First Communion need not be complicated. Why not just tell your son that his friend's family enjoys going to XYZ church, and that the friend's Communion is a special part of his membership in the church. If your DS asks why he doesn't get to have a First Communion, you can tell him it's because you aren't members of that church.

 

As far as not being sure whether you should attend the celebration, you will have to follow your heart on that one. I personally feel going would be a nice gesture on your part, but you certainly are not obligated to do so. Personally, I feel that choosing to not celebrate a friend's special occasion just because they have spiritual or religious beliefs that are different from mine is somewhat close-minded, and I will attend unless I find out that the ceremony involves something I find morally or ethically objectionable (which has never happened to me). Even if you don't believe in God or enjoy church, you may find the celebration that follows the ceremony to be enjoyable. There will almost certainly be other kids at the celebration, and it might be fun for your son to get together with other kids from school at a party (I have been to First Communion celebrations, and the only God/Jesus talk I head was from the priest during the ceremony itself, not at the celebratory party that followed the ceremony).

 

If you choose not to go, I would NOT tell her that it's because you don't believe what she believes. Unless she's forcing her beliefs on you and hounding you about your atheism, IMO that would be a pretty rude thing to say to someone you consider a casual friend. A happy medium might be to send the child a card recognizing the occasion, so his mom knows that you care about her child's special day, along with your regrets you can't attend.

 

HTH. 

 




Exactly what you said.  thumb.gif

 

 

post #650 of 698

Marie,

 

You mean you haven't discussed religion at all? 

 

In our house we have discussed religion.  That some people believe and others do not.   We (my husband and I) do not believe.  However, if they would like to explore their feelings on it, I/we will help them.  We have neighbors that are Muslim.  My kids have asked why she (the Mom) covers her hair. 

 

I am getting a vibe that you are afraid to bring it up with your kids.  Like it would be opening a can of worms.  shrug.gif  Tell me if I am wrong.  I can take it.  duck.gif

 

 

post #651 of 698

I couldn't help but feel a bit attacked by some of the posts, so had to take a few days to think and regroup (introvert, here).  I have talked to the boys (my daughter is only 2) about religion in vague terms.  Different people practice and believe different things and we chose not to be involved in religion at all.  Lots of your friends may go to church, but we don't.  That sort of thing.  I do plan to go to the communion party and deal with the possible embarassment to others that my middle child will bring.  Indeed, I was overreacting a bit.  Whatever comes of it will come and we will all survive.

It may be quite a while before he respects that it is not always appropriate to discuss certain things at certain times or with certain people.  I know my son quite well and know that general questions and answers lead to many more and much more specific questions and answers.  It is wonderful that he is so curious and I do want to encorage it, but forgive me if I don't quite feel comforable thinking of him talking to his friends at school about whatever he gets out of talks about vaginas, graveyards, religion and such.  I do still need to talk to my husband about his reluctance to have me say anything to the kids about anything that will possible be controversial. 

 

post #652 of 698

I apologize if anything I wrote in my previous post came off as a personal attack. That was not my intent. However, I do feel that you initially framed your concern as having a problem with the fact that you were invited to your friend's son's First Communion because you aren't religious. With your most recent post, I'm understanding that the primary reason you are reluctant to attend the event is because you are really worried that your son will say something others may find offensive or embarassing. Completely understandable.

 

I suggest letting your friend  know that while you plan you plan to attend the celebration, you may need to leave if your son becomes "overstimulated." I'm sure she will understand. You really don't need to mention that you don't share her religious convictions, because it's kind of immaterial in this case.

 

If you aren't attending the ceremony itself, but the celebration that follows, then your son might not notice the religious component. It's also a safe bet that if your friend invited you, then she also invited other non-Catholic guests. Probably there will be other attendees who have not attended a First Communion, along with kids who will be full of questions.  IMO, it's also not really fair to your child to refrain from attending fun events because you're worried that he might say something embarassing. Remember, you son isn't the only kid out there without a strong mind-to-mouth filter. And he can't learn to control his compulsion to speak inappropriately if he doesn't have an opportunity to practice. If you hear him say something inappropriate, remind him that a party is not an appropriate place to use that language. I am not above telling my kids that if I hear that kind of language one more time, we're leaving. winky.gif

 

All-in-all, it sounds like the real problem is your son's penchant for choosing inappropriate conversational topics in public, not your athesim.You may want to post to one of the parenting boards in this forum to get advice from other moms with children whose "appropriate for conversation" filter maybe have a few big gaps. lol.gif


Edited by MissMaegie'sMama - 4/18/11 at 5:00pm
post #653 of 698

Yay! I'm an atheist mom! I'd be interested in ramping this tribe back up!

post #654 of 698

Hi, I'm new here. I'm an atheist mom and married to a Catholic.

post #655 of 698

Hi Sara. I am curious how you both make that work? I am single right now but I feel like a relationship (especially a marriage) could only work if he was agnostic too. Is he just Catholic by practice and culture but he doesn't literal believe in the teachings and philosophies? That seems like it would still be a real challenge. I'd love to hear more about this. Welcome, by the way. :)

post #656 of 698

Hi Sara. I am curious how you both make that work? I am single right now but I feel like a relationship (especially a marriage) could only work if he was agnostic too. Is he just Catholic by practice and culture but he doesn't literal believe in the teachings and philosophies? That seems like it would still be a real challenge. I'd love to hear more about this. Welcome, by the way. :)

post #657 of 698

Thanks for the welcome Soltera. He still goes to church with his parents every Sunday. I think he believes in god, but not necessarily all the Catholic teachings. And religion is not a big thing in his life. I think he wants to honor his parents more than anything. We do the rituals. We had a Catholic wedding, shortest version possible. Our daughter was baptized. I don't mind those things, I just view them as more ways of getting together with family.

post #658 of 698

Thanks for your response, Sara. It's sounds like you are both pretty flexible and able to compromise (if only most marriages were like that!). Now I have another curiosity. How does he feel about your being agnostic? 

post #659 of 698

Been reading a bit here and there on this thread, it's a good one! We are both atheists (DH and I). Our son spend a fair amount of time with the grandparents who are Christian, he has gone to church with them a few times. It's cute because he likes to pray before meals (the holding hands part he is in to!) so when we do that at their house he likes it. We've also heard him randomly give thanks at that time to "monstaw truck"... hehehe.... Luckily the ILs don't pressure us at all. The community here is rather "spiritual" but not religious so thankfully it's not a weird issue when we meet people.

 

Anyhow... DH finally got to go to an atheist meeting in town a couple weeks ago and met some other parents of young children including a SAHD or two (DH is a SAHD), that was so good because it's been a struggle to find a place to fit in and meet people here. I STILL have not found a crunchy Mama meet-up, etc.
 

post #660 of 698
I've recently "deconverted". I'm a bit sad to seethere isn't much activity here. I just wanted to say hi if anyone reads this.
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