Why I'm Letting My Kids Choose Their Own Religion

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Inside the 2018 Writers Guild Awards: "Get Out There and Dream!"
February 12, 2018
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Katie Holmes
February 13, 2018
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Spirituality and faith could be each the toughest and best issues for individuals. Some are raised in a faith they know they belong to, some department out to attempt one thing new that speaks to them, and others can really feel a bit misplaced, like there is not something actual to cling to. Due to this, elevating youngsters might be robust in sure households, particularly when two religions battle. Do you train your youngsters one and never the opposite? Just a little of each? Follow one thing new as a household? These may be exhausting inquiries to reply.

Whereas many couples proceed to apply the faith or religions they have been raised with with their very own youngsters, my husband and I made a decision to be rather more versatile. We have been each introduced up in semi-secular, semi-Protestant, semi-Jewish households and have skilled all kinds of spiritual and religious traditions. We really feel blessed (sure, we use phrases like “blessed”) to have been given such open minds relating to our perception system, and we hope to offer that to our youngsters as properly.

Ours is just not a spiritual family; it is a religious one.

However it’s removed from straightforward. From the second our youngsters have been born, we have tried to create a family of openness to the divinity, interconnectedness, and unknowability of life. Then again, we’re additionally conscious of a few of the risks that include a set spiritual custom — resembling being much less beneficiant. Navigating a path between the 2 has been an enormous problem as a mother or father, however I am decided to make it work.

Ours is just not a spiritual family; it is a religious one. Whereas faith is extra distinctly outlined, there are virtually as many definitions of spirituality as there are individuals. That is why we prefer it. In our residence, we speak about considering of others in addition to praying for others. We maintain arms at meals and sing the Johnny Appleseed blessing. We’re open to, and open about, the connection between the bodily and metaphysical world. And if questions on faith come up, we reply them as clearly and truthfully as potential (you would be stunned by how a lot a three-yr-previous and four-yr-previous can grasp).

Earlier than we determined easy methods to affect our youngsters, it was crucial that we understood our personal pasts with our beliefs. I used to be raised in a really secular family. Whereas my mother and father have been cautious by no means to counsel towards different religions, there wasn’t a lot room for religious character in our home. We stated prayers once we lit the Hannukah candles, and that was about it. I later found my mother is an atheist and nonetheless have not gotten a transparent reply from my dad. I respect these beliefs, however I am additionally conscious that they influenced me and contributed to a way of religious timidity. I needed to work arduous to determine what my cling-ups are and never move them on.

Anybody who is aware of me will inform you I run a decent ship at residence (it may be too tight, frankly). I permit no argument in terms of manners, cleanliness, speech, bedtime guidelines, respect for elders, and compassion towards the methods others select to reside. Except for that, I wish to assume I am a reasonably easygoing father or mother in terms of issues of philosophy, aesthetics, and profession. My husband and I’ve made it clear that we now have no drawback with any career, so long as it is an trustworthy one. If a wage job makes my child comfortable for all times, nice. Likewise, we’re vociferously supportive of homosexuality, various gender identities and household buildings, and extra.

As a result of I felt like my beliefs rising up have been pressured to remain in a slender lane somewhat than a large path, I would like my youngsters to discover, study, and determine for themselves what works greatest for them. I attempt to train them to be understanding, variety, and open and consider within the unknown greater energy that makes life so lovely, no matter that could be to them. And I do know that this comes with a variety of judgment, however that’s — if you’ll — my cross to bear. I bear it willingly, within the hopes that our openness will permit our youngsters to seek out one of the best and happiest variations of themselves.