Monday, 6 April 2015

How I'll Discuss My Religious Beliefs With My Children...

Raising children is one of the biggest responsibilities that any person can undertake in life, and one of the main areas of parenting that causes me concern is how to raise my children in a way that provides answers to all of the bigger questions in life without pushing my own personal beliefs on to them and allowing them to freely make their own informed decisions.

The time will undoubtedly come in the not too distant future when Tyne asks me questions about what happens when someone or something dies, whether or not Heaven and Hell exist, whether God exists and so on....

And the worry of how best to answer these questions has always been something of concern to me.

I was raised by Christian parents - one non-practising Catholic and one protestant who believes in aspects of their religion but doesn't attend church.

I went to a church of England primary school and a Roman Catholic high school - I never attended church regularly but I went for special occasions such as a Easter or family Christenings etc - I attended mass weekly as part of my high school education.

But I grew up to have a bit of a struggle with my religious beliefs - I consider myself to be a Christian but my beliefs on a lot of topics don't fit into the ideals of many Christian churches.

Over the years I started to consider myself more of a spiritualist - I believe strongly in things like karma and destiny, and as somebody who started experimenting with tarot card reading and other forms of divination as a teenager I found the concept of spirituality really appealing - once in my 20s I started to attend a spiritualist church quite regularly and it's something I still do every so often.

I believe in life after death, and spiritualist churches give me a lot of comfort and peace of mind. 

When it comes to my children, my current approach is simply to teach them what I know and understand - I believe that is all I can do on ANY subject - to inform myself as well as I can and pass that information on to them in an unbiased manner.

I will not tell my children that God absolutely exists, I will not tell them there is no God....

I will not tell them that Heaven and Hell are real, and I won't tell them that they are not...

I will tell them that nobody really knows the answers to any of these questions, but that it's up to each of us to decide for ourselves what it is we believe....and that there is no right or wrong belief to have...

If they ask what my beliefs are, I'll tell them....and I'll tell them my reasons for the beliefs that I have. But I'll also encourage them to think about what THEY personally believe and let them know that it's ok if they believe something different.

I'll explain the story behind each and every Christian holiday that we celebrate so that they understand the reasons for it but I won't insist that they believe in them, instead I'll be encouraging discussion on the subjects and allowing them to make up their own minds.

How did you approach the topic of religion with children? As always, I'd love to hear from you.

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post in collaboration with... The Circle
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