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#1 of 19 Old 06-30-2002, 03:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm bringing up dd in rural conservative Catholic Poland. The priest comes to playschool, and her babcia (gran) takes every possible opportunity to take her to church and make her cross herself, etc (she thinks that as I refused to christen her, she would go to hell if she died now)
I am on the edge of buddhism, I mediatate regularly but haven't taken vows yet. Oh, and not regularly enough!
dd asked to go to church today. (She is 4) I said I wasn't going (she went with dh who is lapsed catholic ) because i don't believe what they say in the church. She was really confused. "How can you be a believer and not believe?" she has obviously been taught that the only people who "count" are believers. I always thought that i would deal with each question as it came up, and she would work it out for herself, but suddenly I wonder if while I have this laid back attitude she is being indoctrinated! I don't want to say too much now because I don't want to undermine her family and what everyone here tells her, neither do i want to be just the "crazy mummy" and i also don't want to confuse her unduly. Neither do i want her to grow up believing that you have to believe, that sex is wrong, that unchristened babies go to hell etc etc.
If I went to a different church it might be easier, but my meditation group is informal, in someone's house, not somewhere I can take her and show her how we meditate. Maybe I should get on my cushion more in her presence instead of waiting until she's out and I have peace? Maybe I'm not sure enough about my own beliefs yet? I tend to think they come out in how i live more than what I say, but when others are talking really loudly.....
oh this has got too long. Please help, someone!! At least to organise my thoughts....
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#2 of 19 Old 06-30-2002, 04:39 PM
 
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((hugs)) to you. You sound pretty confused and frustrated. I understand where your coming from. I think there are some things you and dh need to decide. First do you want her brought up Catholic? Do you want her to be exposed to your beliefs and Catholic beliefs and then let her decide what is right for her (when she is old enough)? Do you want her to be exposed to all religions and spiritual paths and let her decide? Do you want her to just be exposed to your spiritual beliefs and not any others?

Once you know the answers the rest can be figured out. I started out raised Christian (holidays only, not born again), converted to Judaism, explored Buddism, explored the myriad forms of paganism, and am finally walking my own path. I've had many talks with my dd 12 about spiritual issues. Her best friend goes to Catholic school. I pretty much explained to her the similarities and differences between religions, and spirituality in general (which is not the same IMO). I want my dd to understand that we each have to find our own way. But that regardless of what anyone says, she is not sinful (I don't believe in sin myself, and especially not original sin).

I think once you understand what you want for her, then the rest will fall into place. I understand not wanting to be labled the weird mother, but no matter what we have to do what is right for our children, because no one else will.

Good Luck
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#3 of 19 Old 06-30-2002, 05:53 PM
 
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Would it help to know that I am both Buddhist & Catholic - my Buddhist teachers are firmly supporting my decision to be baptized and practice as a Catholic, and my spiritual friends in the Catholic Church have welcomed what I bring to the church. I find it somewhat confusing myself at times, at least intellectually, but things are not always so tidy in real life! I guess I am finding that there is a lot more "breathing room" in both than I expected, I hope that you will find the same.

Good luck on your quest!! I hope that you find good Buddhist teachers who will understand where you start from, and/or you might be surprised at what you might find in the Catholic Church too, if you poke around a little - though perhaps not especially in the local parish...
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#4 of 19 Old 07-01-2002, 09:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Arduinna,
oh, all hugs gratefully received, thank you you're right, I'm frustrated and confused at the moment, and about my whole position here, religion is just a flashpoint. Your questions are actually easy to answer. I do not want dd to be brought up catholic, neither does dh (he knows what a catholic upbringing did to him).
What I want is for her to be exposed to all paths and decide for herself. My problem here is a wish to give her something really simple, solid and secure to go by. I suppose the common demoninator of religions is enough.... And what I meant by being "just the weird mother" is that it will be easy for my opinion not to be taken as seriously as all the forceful, black and white beliefs around me. (I'm already the weird one and I don't mind as long as it allows me strength in that position!!)
I like what you say to your dd, that she should listen to everyone's views but let no one tell her she is sinful. Hey, I feel better already!
Emmalala - I am absolutely intrigued!! How on earth is it possible?! I have all kinds of questions, I don't know of course if you want to answer them!
I think all the surprises the church has in store for me right here are related to pedophilia, alcoholism and illicit children, oh and bribery. The thing is that Catholicism here is about social pressure and nationalism as much as about genuine spirituality. Like, it's compulsary in order to be a good Pole, and everyone else belongs to "a sect". Coming from a truly Christian family (in England) I find the extent of hypocrisy around quite amazing.

Thank you both so much, it's clearer already.
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#5 of 19 Old 07-01-2002, 09:53 AM
 
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Personally, if I did not want my daughter raised catholic, I'd put an end to grandma or whoever taking her to mass, etc. Having been raised catholic myself, I share your concerns about that religion.

I don't think that it's a good idea to try to expose small children to all sorts of religions and let them try to pick the one that fits. It's too confusing for children. I have some older friends who did that with their kids, and what they ended up with were kids with no particular spiritual beliefs. Perhaps it's better to leave that type of religious exploration, experimentation and examination to older teens and young adults. While the kids are young, I think it's good to try to give them a solid foundation in your religion, as you mention that you are trying to do.

Could you incorporate more Buddist activities into your daily life? I'm not all that familiar with the details of Buddist worship, but I think it's a good idea for you to try to let her see you meditating, and talk to her about it. Is there any simple, brief meditation that is appropriate for kids? Are there good age appropriate books on Buddism or with Buddist themes that you could read and discuss? I would imagine that in day to day activities, you could bring in discussions about Buddist perspectives on nature, on relating with others, on trying to improve one's self, etc.
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#6 of 19 Old 07-01-2002, 03:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by sarenka
Emmalala - I am absolutely intrigued!! How on earth is it possible?! I have all kinds of questions, I don't know of course if you want to answer them!
C'mon, try me!
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#7 of 19 Old 07-01-2002, 03:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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EF Mom, you're right, you're my conscience!! I want dd to be aware of all religions in the sense that I want her to meet all kinds of people, and I want her to choose for herself when she's old enough. I do believe she needs some kind of security now. However your suggestion that I stop her going to church seems unrealistic. She wants to. To stop her I would cause (however I expressed it) a state of WAR between my inlaws and us, and I have only just worked out a peace I can live with. One side just has to be tolerant, and it looks like it's me. And dd would rebel immediately and they would take her to church in secret. Don't want that!
I think your suggestion of me "stepping up" my own practise and sharing it with her is a sound one.

emmalala - OK, what about reincarnation? can you reconcile that with catholicism? Did jesus actually save the world from sin? can you reconcile that with buddhism? oh HOW??????!!!! What school of buddhism are you from? I can understand Jesus as a kind of boddhisattva, but that's as far as I can bring these world views together....
you must have had such a fascinating inner journey and be so wide open.....I'm not going to mention you to my 4 year old, but wow!
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#8 of 19 Old 07-01-2002, 04:16 PM
 
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sarenka, you are incredibly tolerant!

I love my in-laws, but they and my parents as well, get zero vote on our child's religious training. After we adopted our first, my father was making mewling noises about getting dd baptised in a catholic church and I put my foot down so hard I nearly broke through the floor. He gets it now. The way I figure it, they had their kids and raised them how they saw fit. End of story. These are my kids and I'll raise them how I see fit. If they ever tried to sneak her off to a church behind my back, that would be the last time they ever saw her.
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#9 of 19 Old 07-03-2002, 03:07 PM
 
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just to say, wait for me, I'm too busy now but I do want to post when I get one hand free!!
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#10 of 19 Old 07-03-2002, 06:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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emmalala - get that hand free! Where is it?! Round a baby?

EF Mom - yes, living in another culture has made me kind of tolerant, it's funny as my inlaws would probably describe me as INtolerant! Here children are considered part of the whole family, and the parents traditionally get even less say than the "elders" in their upbringing, it's completely the other way round to what I am used to. But I do think that my child has an independent right to a relationship with her family, both sides of it, whether I like or agree with them or not. She is very close to her grandmother. And I think that banning things/people will only bring them back with a vengeance later. Still, I admire your uncompromising attitude.....I really do! (wistful.....)
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#11 of 19 Old 07-04-2002, 12:24 PM
 
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I'm back - the spirituality threads are the hardest but most rewarding & I want to take time to write what I mean...

I took Soto Zen precepts in Japan. My teachers taught me that Buddhism is the study of reality, not exactly a religion, not exactly a philosophy. The most important thing is to practice zazen. What kind of Buddhism are you practicing? Do you have a teacher there with you, or who guides your meditation group?

Also, The practice of meditation is by no means exclusive to Buddhism. Books such as Catholic Zen by William Johnston, St. John of the Cross, etc. document this tradition within the Catholic Church. And I think that almost all religions have some sort of silent prayer/meditation/sitting/whatever.

Reincarnation doesn't seem like a big issue to me - my Buddhist teacher just said that we will find out when we get there, and it is not as important to study this issue as it is to live at this present moment. And that perhaps reincarnation is a way to talk about how parts of our lives can seem so separate; for example, although you can remember being a child, that part of your life is over and quite separate from your current existence... I don't really think of that as being a show-stopper, not at the moment anyhow.

I got involved in the Catholic Church because dh is a Catholic and the children will be. I had to become involved - I have met so many people who cannot reconcile themselves with the Church since they were scared while young (I know I am oversimplifying a lot of hurt here). I don't believe that terror is a necessary part of Catholicism!

For me, the parish church is not at all inspiring! Although I am lucky enough to have a local priest who is very easy for me to talk with, I've felt most at home visiting a Benedictine monastery. And I have met some wonderful people through conferences on Christianity and Buddhism - though not recently, I am at home with little ones too much for that right now. I do feel that the resources of the church that are most important to me are relatively hidden - but they do exist, if you really look.

And here is my vent: I have found that the Mothering boards are very supportive of almost anything, spiritually and emotionally and everything. But I've read more than one post bashing the Catholic Church, often in a very casual manner. Could I please ask that you show the same respect to my religion and practices as you might wish your own to receive. I'm not asking you to suppress your feelings, but to remember that some other people feel differently.
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#12 of 19 Old 07-04-2002, 03:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'll respond properly later but just wanted to apologise for "catholic bashing" - I always try to include in my posts that my experiences with the catholic church are only here and the catholicism I am outraged at is the set of rigid social rules, this sort of nationalist, compulsary (and so necessarily hypocritical) thing that people conform to here. The mystical heart of all religions is the same, I believe, and I respect everyone who is sincerely and truly religious. I've just seen too much different kind of behaviour.
I'd heard of Christians meditating, I can understand that. I am part of a Tibetan school of buddhism which is more "religious" in a sense than zen......back later
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#13 of 19 Old 07-04-2002, 04:12 PM
 
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I was raised catholic and am now some sort of...catholic druid/buddist christian
hahahahahahaha
who knows nada

two points that I saw resonated with me
I too have seen catholic bashes in the past- nothing particularly painful for me personally but, seemed to reflect an interesting show of intolerance or perhaps lack of experience as catholocism is truly not a bad thing, some people who practice it may however be intolerable!
and the other thing that so resonates with me is this that I wish to say;
meditate in front of your child
meditate with your child
children respond to meditation
it will be a wonderful gift to her
good luck and many blessings
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#14 of 19 Old 07-04-2002, 05:30 PM
 
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Well, sarenka, you can imagine I relate to a lot of things in your post. DH's mother goes to the church 5, 6, 7 times a day, and I know it would be physically painful for her if she knew her granddaughter wasn't put through the protection policies of the Church. She sometimes has a hard time with me not being Catholic--I haven't shared with her that I prefer Eastern religions. It would be too much for her.

We (I) feel this way about it:

A lot of these church rituals are ways of connecting Isabel to her Polish heritage and her family there. So we chose to have her baptized in a Catholic church in Poland. It's more of a cultural identity thing than it is a religious thing for us, and I let it be what it needs to be for my mil. Isabel will do a confirmation and whatever else you do--but I will expose her to ALL religions as a comparative study and I won't be dragging her to church unless she chooses it.

Glad you're working it out for yourself--what's the cliche? Same mountain, different donkeys?
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#15 of 19 Old 07-04-2002, 07:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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oh lee, how glad I am to hear someone who (no offence to the rest of you!) understands Polish reality!! That physical cultural religous all together PAIN of it!
Thanks!
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#16 of 19 Old 07-05-2002, 01:57 AM
 
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I also wanted to add that what you wrote strikes a cord in me. I live in the most Polish area in the world outside of Warsaw - the northwest side of Chicago! I went to a Catholic girls high school run by Polish nun. My friends went to Polish school on Saturdays. Our local parish sometimes has had CONSERVATIVE Polish immigrant priests.

I am a very liberal Catholic who is open to Divine presence in all traditions. I love much of the ritual and beauty of the Catholic Church and I have ALOT of problems with the Catholic Church. But the Church is more than what your daughter is being introduced to by her grandma.

YES - you should meditate and incorporate your own spiritual traditions in front of your daughter. You should speak to her (and gran) about your own struggles with the Church (in limited and quiet ways). Your example will speak loudly to your daughter.

Blessings.
Kathleen
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#17 of 19 Old 07-05-2002, 03:09 PM
 
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Thank y'all for listening to my vent, but PLEASE do not think I'm taking aim at anyone in particular - it's just a general thing I've noticed over the months and in a wide variety of threads, I couldn't even say where on the boards...

Sarenka, this especially means you!! I enjoy your thoughtful posts & do not want to inhibit your expression!!
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#18 of 19 Old 07-05-2002, 03:49 PM
 
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I don't want to hijack serenka's thread, so I've been debating whether or not to respond, but after sleeping on it, I can't help myself.

Re the "catholic bashing," I think it often comes not from a lack of familiary with the catholic church, but rather quite the opposite. I was born and raised in a huge Irish catholic family of many generations, and went to catholic schools, so I don't feel at all like I'm unfamiliar. I've done tons of research on this church and its practices.

The catholic church is a huge, powerful, rich organization, which spends an enormous amount of effort and money on influencing the political process, all over the world. It is currently trying very hard to control health care in this country by buying up hospitals. It is a very public institution.

The last time I attended mass the sermon centered around the priest telling the congregation how to vote. The time before that, the priest gave a sermon about how people should loudly accuse anyone who criticises the church of "catholic bashing," encouraging the writing of letters to the editor, etc.

Personally, I think this organization needs open and honest criticism. It has misused its wealth and influence to control too much for too long. In part, that's at the heart of the depth and breadth of the current pedophila scandal.

Since I've left the catholic church, I've been a member of both a Quaker meeting and a United Methodist Church. If I hear people criticising either of those organizations, I certainly don't take it personally--there are some things about them I'd like to change as well.
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#19 of 19 Old 07-05-2002, 06:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Go on, hi-jack my thread - you made a very good point. "Bashing" powerful dominant and influential groups has a useful function, unlike bashing marginised groups.....all bashing obviously can be downright offensive, or just impassioned.....blah blah time for bed!

emmalala, how do you stand on original sin?
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