Religion, children and other "serious" topics

posted by Jeff | Sunday, February 1, 2009, 1:56 PM | comments: 1

Diana and I went to lunch at the Winking Lizard today, figuring it would be fairly empty pre-Super Bowl, and to satisfy her burger need. With the wedding day fast approaching, we got into discussions about some "serious" things.

Having a child is important to us, but we also realize that the clock is ticking. Even if we were to conceive the day of our wedding, that still puts Diana at 40 by the time the child is born, and that's pushing the fertility clock. As it is, with her past hernia issues she's likely to require a C-section. And who knows if my swimmers are potent. So many variables to consider. Of course, we're 100% OK with adopting if it were to come to that, but still. We have settled on the idea that we want to start trying in the summer, so as not to preclude any possible travel late in the year if we're successful. Between IAAPA in Vegas and a strong desire to see Disney World Christmas-ized, the timing is important.

We also got to talking a little about religion, and the enormous difference in approach between the hardcore Catholicism and the light-weight Protestantism I experienced. Perhaps it's not fair for me to judge as an outsider, but Catholicism seems to be a solid belief system wrapped in endless rules and dogma that completely overshadow the underlying faith. It reminds me of the scene in Dogma where Selma's character says, "You don't celebrate your faith, you mourn it."

But that's not to say I was OK with my own exposure either. I was fortunate to have several young and smart pastors, who would ultimately tell me that the institution built around the faith didn't matter. The only accountability I have is to myself when it comes to what I believe. That was an important realization for me to have when I was in college.

Given the conversation prior, we naturally wondered how religion and child rearing overlapped. I think we agreed that going through the motions of participating in an institution's culture while not believing in it would be problematic. We also expressed a certain desire to better understand the many world religions out there. We got to thinking that maybe we should spend time weekly with our offspring learning about these religions, and ultimately allowing them to exercise their own choice about faith. After all, most of us never have that choice, and we ultimately adopt a certain faith for no other reason than it's what we were brought up on. It's definitely something we'll be thinking about.

I feel fortunate that we see eye to eye on these things.


, February 9, 2009, 1:16 AM #

Reading this is a privilege. After years of thinking about all these things, and having similar kinds of talks with Diana as I wandered through the forest of parenting my own kids, it doesn't really ever get easier, but it is so much more meaningful when you can share the whole experience with someone you can talk to about it. You two are going to be awesome parental units.

I'm pretty open with my kids about how I feel about "the church" and religion in general. But I've always made it clear that it's their journey to figure out how they feel. And above all, I tell them that the most important thing they can do on earth is to be aware of the way they treat other people. My son never misses an opportunity to engage me in a long thoughtful conversation about faith, heaven, God, any number of spiritual topics and we both get a lot out of those. As long as you are there for your kids and they invite you to explore with them, you'll have done the best you can.

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