I wrote a while back about the importance of pagan children to the faith. If we believe that our faith is true, then we should have no problem teaching that faith to our children. If we don’t teach our children about our faith, someone else will teach them about their faith, and in a world that is heavily Christian, at least in the United States, that faith will be Christianity.
And Christianity has historically been very anti-Pagan.
Even if what you believe is that there is no right or wrong way to have faith or no right or wrong religion, that still needs to be taught because there are denominations of Christianity that will definitely not say that, and if it comes down to being “right” or “wrong,” kids are going to want to be “right.”
It’s a really easy trap to fall into.
Now that Erin and I are on the brink of being parents, it has gotten to the time where we need to really look at our family practices to better understand our faith and how we can teach it to our children in a way that is both supportive of them without losing ourselves.
Because I asked my future-daughter if she believed in Jesus, and she said yes.
The majority of her religious education comes from three places: a birth mother who was a lot of talk and not a lot of action, a foster mother who panicked that her future forever family would be concerned about her lack of Christian faith education, and me, who is the Youth Education Coordinator at the church she attends and designs the lessons she participates in.
She believes in Jesus, and we have to meet her where she is at. She, thankfully as far as I know, does NOT believe the narrative that Jesus died for our sins and that only through him shall we enter heaven. Our church doesn’t believe that, and I do everything I can in the classrooms at church to break that narrative down for kids who are coming from the background.
That narrative, in my opinion and the opinion of my church, is not a positive, loving, or affirmative narrative. It teaches people that we are inherently bad and evil and deserving of punishment and death. We are born in evil, we live every day of our lives in evil, and our only hope is for us to pray for forgiveness for our evil (whether we know what it is or not) because otherwise, we go to this place eternally separated from the love of God where we are punished eternally for our sins.
I have no idea where my future son is at or what he believes.
And this whole situation isn’t exactly one that Erin and I were really prepared for when it came to having children. We, like most people, assumed that when the Gods blessed us with children they would babies, either biologically or through adoption. We never once thought that our family would begin with a 13-year-old and will-be-9-year-old.
It means that there’s a lot of their lives where they were taught something we, as parents, may or may not have chosen to teach them, and there’s a fine line when it comes to where we go from here.
I’ve already explained it to our future oldest that Erin and I are not Christian, and that we do not celebrate the two major Christian holidays in our home: Christmas and Easter. I also mentioned, however, that we do celebrate with our families when we go to Michigan or to my parents’ house.
The conclusion that we’ve drawn is that our kids are going to have a lot of religious holidays throughout the year, and while we can’t force them to celebrate with us because of their background, we are really and truly hoping and praying that they will.
This is just another example of how parenting from the foster care system and adopting from the foster care system is a lot different than just having your own child through birth or infant adoption. We’ve missed out on 9-13 years of parenting, guidance, education, and growth with our kids, and now we’re riding a thin line between allowing them to have a faith they may or may not already have and teaching them our own in a way that doesn’t trample on what they already believe.
We want to live our faith, which includes being accepting and affirming of other faiths to a point. We definitely are not okay with any negative-theology, and will not be okay with anyone telling us we are damned to hell for whatever sin said person decides upon.
What this means is that if our children choose a Christian faith, then we’ll support them, but we fully plan on exposing them to our Pagan faith as well.