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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
MIL is visiting. Last night, while holding and walking DS, she started singing hymns <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">:. Several years ago DP and I spoke with her about her efforts to convert us. We nicely but firmly told her to stop (constantly inviting us to church, having others do likewise, sending us religious literature, getting weepy and pleading with us to get "saved," etc). She has since stopped, but now I fear that DS is her latest conquest (sorry, no offend intended, just feeling a little defensive over this <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">). I know that he is just a baby and doesn't understand what she is singing about, but it's the principle behind it, kwim? Plus, if we don't stop it now, in a year she'll be teaching him the words to "Jesus Loves Me."<br><br>
We haven't said anything yet, but plan to. Advice?
 

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I don't feel the need to force my beliefs on my kids anymore than I appreciate others doing it. I grew up singing Jesus Loves Me and still managed to completely reject organized religion. I'm not Christian (or pagan or anything else) but I don't find hymns inherently offensive. I think my kids will grow up seeing a wide range of things in the world, and will learn to think for themselves and form their own beliefs, which may or may not be exactly the same as mine. The drive some members of Christian religions have to convert others annoys me too, and I'd not have a relative constantly preaching at my kids or threatening them with hell if they don't do x, y or z but just singing some hymns is pretty mild to me. But if you really can't stand it, just tell her to stop. I think it's a minor thing to start a battle over, but if it's not minor to you, you'll have to make an issue of it with her.<br><br>
I try to keep in mind when I run into religion-pushers that they are doing what they've been taught and what they think is right. They truly believe, in many cases, that if you don't accept Jesus, get baptized, fill-in-the-belief-or-ceremony, that your soul is damned. I imagine it must be really concerning to believe that your son and his wife are damned and that they're trying to make sure your grandchild ends up damned too. I am soooooooo not defending her-like I said, I don't have a religious bone in my body but I was brought up southern baptist so I kind of know where they're coming from and I don't think she has ill intent.
 

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I hear where you're coming from mama (I am not Christian or even religious for that matter and I hate when people try to push their beliefs on me) so I agree that she shouldn't try to convert your babe but I don't really see the harm in singing songs kwim? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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well, i can see both sides to this. my mom bought my dc some harmless christian songs videos when they were tiny, and OMG dontcha know, those became their favorite vids for months on end, drove me up the wall! Esp. when, after months of having to sing "I'm in the Lord's army" at their fervent request, they started asking me what all these songs were talking about, how come we don't go to church, etc. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">: Thanks a ton, mom! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rolleyes"><br><br>
They outgrew their fascination eventually, but there was a good long while where their interest in the songs was actually used against me by my parents: i.e. "see, they want to go to church, you're depriving them of what they ask for! isn't that what you want, for htem to choose their own faith?" etc... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hammer.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hammer"><br><br>
so yeah. on the one hand, it's just songs. on the other hand, it's a subtle way of undermining your beliefs and/or what you want for your dc.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> good luck!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Krystal323</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9884059"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">well, i can see both sides to this. my mom bought my dc some harmless christian songs videos when they were tiny, and OMG dontcha know, those became their favorite vids for months on end, drove me up the wall! Esp. when, after months of having to sing "I'm in the Lord's army" at their fervent request, they started asking me what all these songs were talking about, how come we don't go to church, etc. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">: Thanks a ton, mom! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rolleyes"><br><br>
They outgrew their fascination eventually, but there was a good long while where their interest in the songs was actually used against me by my parents: i.e. "see, they want to go to church, you're depriving them of what they ask for! isn't that what you want, for htem to choose their own faith?" etc... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hammer.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hammer"><br><br>
so yeah. on the one hand, it's just songs. on the other hand, it's a subtle way of undermining your beliefs and/or what you want for your dc.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> good luck!</div>
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This is exactly what I was thinking too. Her singing may seem innocent, but remember that very young children can be influenced by music. While your child may not understand it right now, later she will, and then you're stuck like poor Krystal here! I would nip it at the bud RIGHT NOW, else you may end up going down a slippery slope.<br><br>
Now, if you wanna throw your MIL in a tiffy, tell her "Thanks, but all that salvation stuff doesn't apply to us. We are the <a href="http://www.caw.org/articles/otherpeople.html" target="_blank">other people</a>!"
 

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Hymns wouldn't bother me as much as the intent behind them might. Is she singing for the sake of singing, or is she singing as a form of indoctrinating? I'd trust you to know if it was the latter... because I know I would know the difference!<br><br>
DH's grandparents are very religious and I've gotten a LOT OF HEAT over time about not being a Christian (let alone a Pagan!). When DH moved in with me his parting gift was a personalized bible with the words, "Never forget who you are!" inside (AKA. "don't be anything but a good Christian", which is extra funny because DH was never a Christian...).<br>
If you think she's singing to indoctorate, I'd politely tell her that you're choosing to raise your children with an open minded view about religion and having ANYONE talk about "one god" and "only god" is unfair. If she persists, put your foot down: don't come over here if you're going to preach to my kids. Period. It's harsh but IMHO it's fair - this is your family and your beliefs and raising your kids to be open-minded is important, and to be fair to their developing minds and egos no one should waltz in and talk to them about the "only god". When they're old enough to think for themselves (which comes sooner than you'd think) then that's a little different, they can choose to take it or leave it.
 

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I have to admit that I've found myself singing hymns to my little girl, simply because they're the songs I know! You spend X amount of time in church growing up, you remember these things - they sink into your subconscious. It's possible that she didn't even realize that she was singing religious songs.<br>
Of course, I'm giving her a HUGE benefit of the doubt, here. If you think she was doing it on purpose, that's a whole other story.
 

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you might want to check out the "paganap" group on yahoo.
 

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Thats hard. I guess it depends on how religious the hymns? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><br><br>
Not too long ago my MIL started singing some hymns to my dd (she was probably around 18 months?). DD went up to her and said, "No, I dont like that!" I have no idea where it came from, but dh and I were <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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I know how you feel. I'm pagan but I was raised RC. I left the church about 4 years before I realized who I was, but my family had/has some difficulty accepting it. While my mom accepts who I am and what I believe, and sometimes even borders on supportive, she still thinks I'm doing my daughters harm, both spiritually and socially. After two years of constantly asking her to stop with the suggestions and stories, or getting fully offended when my kids didn't chase her down with salvation seeking questions, I've stopped with all I'll say to her about it. Instead I talk with my girls. I tell them that there are all kinds of different religions in our world and that one of the best things about being people is that we all get to choose to believe whatever we want to. I tell them that if they feel like someone is preaching to them, to just politely tell them that one of the greatest gifts God gave people was freedom, and walk away.<br>
This has alleviated all stress of such talks with my mom, I highly recommend this route.
 

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For me, it would not be a big deal.<br><br>
We work to instill in our children a reverence for the earth. We teach world mythology and culture. We teach acceptance of other paths.<br><br>
Both of my older kids went through a phase of curiosity about Christianity. We read a bunch of children's books about religion and tons of picture books about Bible stories. To them, it wasn't any different from the Anansi the spider phase or the Native American trickster myths phase. I even bought my eldest dd the DK Children's Bible. She read it cover to cover. She (politely) rejected the gold cross necklace her g'gma gave her for Christmas.<br><br>
My younger dd loved the necklace. She wore it daily and professed her belief in Christianity to everyone she met. I accepted it. She lost the necklace and gave up Christianity after a couple of months.<br><br>
Now she says she's a Buddhist.<br><br>
I worry about the power of the taboo. The last thing I want to do is give Christianity more influence than it all ready has, y/k?
 

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DH and I are non-religious and my mom is Pentecostal.. My mom knows how I feel on the issue and doesn't push it, although I know she wants to take ds to Sunday school, like she does with her other grandchild. But that will never happen unless ds asks me to let him go. I want my son to be aware of all religions, if only for the knowledge. I guess when the time comes it will be up to me to explain to him that many people believe in different things and Grandma believes such and such. Would I be bothered about the songs, yeah probably a little, because when my mom starts singing church songs around ds I get annoyed. But I'll let it go.
 

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i know how you feel (im wiccan btw) but i wouldn't worry about it as long as they are the general songs (nothing to bloody / last testamentish)<br><br>
and even if she does know the words to jesus loves me i wouldn't say it's a big deal. jesus is just anotehr name for god along with isis, yama, thor, or any other name you use. and when she starts talking you can tell her so.
 

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I'm with a lot of posters here that hymns are quite a large part of American culture. I think if she's humming them kind of unconsciously, it's fine. If she's buying tapes and CD's for your baby and consciously teaching her these songs in a way to undermine you, then yeah, I'd talk to her about it.
 

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I can see your fustration.<br><br>
It's like the nice old women that knock on my door to tell me the Good News. I don't want to be rude to an elderly lady, but I don't want to hear her news either. It's hard to find that balance of what's intruding and what isn't.<br><br>
If you're concerned that your MIL is going to "go after" your child next because you've already set your boundries, and the hymn sining lulluby stuff was a clue (not really offensive by itself, imo), then you have a right to set boundries for you child now, before it's a HUGE problem later.<br><br>
Total coincidence, as I started to reply here, my kids and their cousin have launched into a conversation about what Jesus was supposed to look like. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
Anyways, My dh and I are not Christians. But most of the family (his family) is. My SIL, who is very involved in my children's lives and they love each other a lot, is A Very Devout Christian. I had reservations about letting SIL take my kids to church every now and then, but they wanted to go and I let them. I went to Sunday School, bible classes and to all types of different churches growing up (not regularly but several times a year at least) and here I am now, not very religious and I consider myself just spiritual in general, as does Dh.
 

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I agree with a pp, that maybe your MIL is just familiar with hymns and that why she sings them. I was raised in a "non-denominational" home, and converted to Catholicism. (Huge scandal in my family, buy anyway.....) Even when I was growing up I felt very comfortable when told we had to "witness" to people and show them the right way. It still makes me cringe when my mom talks about being "saved" and how we need to find a good church here. (She still doesn't understand that I'm not going to her type of church anymore) Anyway.... I'm saying all this, because if you aren't religious I can definately see how you would feel uncomfortable. I hope that your MIL isn't trying to plant any seeds. I think if you're uncomfortable though, you should definately clear the air. I hope some of that made sense. I have a hard time articulating myself sometimes. It's early <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">
 

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Thanks ladies!<br><br>
To clarify, MIL is VERY religious. Decided that her marriage failed because her faith wasn't strong enough. Told her dying mother (think Mother Teresa) that Jesus wasn't curing her cancer because she hadn't repented fully. She tours with her church choir. So, when she started singing hymns, the alarm bells went off!<br><br>
I know that her intentions aren't malicious. But, she has a history of disrespecting others people's wishes -- as a side note, she invited various people to come to MY HOUSE to stay just days after DS was born so SHE could show him off. She thinks only about what she thinks is best, and disregards anything else (such as "Don't invite anyone to come over, we are exhausted!")
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>kristen1978</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9889682"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Thanks ladies!<br><br>
To clarify, MIL is VERY religious. Decided that her marriage failed because her faith wasn't strong enough. Told her dying mother (think Mother Teresa) that Jesus wasn't curing her cancer because she hadn't repented fully. She tours with her church choir. So, when she started singing hymns, the alarm bells went off!<br><br>
I know that her intentions aren't malicious. But, she has a history of disrespecting others people's wishes -- as a side note, she invited various people to come to MY HOUSE to stay just days after DS was born so SHE could show him off. She thinks only about what she thinks is best, and disregards anything else (such as "Don't invite anyone to come over, we are exhausted!")</div>
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Mocking her beliefs (Giving examples of how "extreme" she is) on a public board is disrespecting her beliefs (which are just as valid as yours) just as you say her singing hymns to your DS is disrespecting your beliefs. It goes both ways.<br><br>
If you don't want her doing it, sit her down and tell her that you understand how important her beliefs are to her but that yours are important to you and if she wants to see her grandchild she's going to need to comply with your wishes.
 

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I don't think she was mocking her MIL's beliefs, I think she was showing examples of <i>how</i> deply devoted to her religion she is, thereby explaining her concern.
 

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It seems to me the people that most fervently want to share their religious views with you are often the least interested in hearing your views.<br><br>
OP - I'd put my foot down firmly, and explain that if she wants to see your DC, then she needs to keep her religion to herself. If she is walking around the house cleaning, humming Jesus loves you under her breath, that is one thing. If she is singing and asking your DC to sing along, that is another.<br><br>
Hugs to you. And I wish I could send you my ILs. They are deeply religious, while DH and I are athiests. When we go to their house, you can see several religious sculptures, paintings and prayers proudly displayed in the house. They say an impromtu prayer of thanks before dinner. But they have NEVER asked us about our religion, or lack thereof. They have NEVER tried to give us religious information, speeches, bibles.... nothing. They welcome us with open arms and the most religious thing they ever might say is God Bless you. They totally respect that others might be less religious, or non religious, or even a different religion. I respect my ILs so much for that. Hugs to you - that you have to go through such hassle and disrespect.
 
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