Religion in the Home

I believe in teaching religion to children. I believe religion provides many benefits in terms of structure, expectations, service, faith, strength of character, honesty, work, belief, values, love, self-worth, and a foundation for life.

I do not, of course, believe a child ought to be raised in the sort of religious household where beating, belittling, or deprivation are employed.

A love and a learning of God and creation needs to come from a place of love and understanding. God must be taught with a lesson of broadening one’s own understanding and of seeking for a personal testimony.

alexander-watts-66219-unsplash

If a parent feels the need to beat prayer into a child, that child is not going to learn to love prayer.

I currently raise my children as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (formerly nicknamed Mormons). I was raised in this church as well, and so was my husband. We have both gone through variations and broadenings of our faiths and knowledge. Yet, we have no desire to raise our children outside of religion.

My main reason? Besides the benefits I listed above, it is logic.

I know many people who, when they leave or drift away from organized religion, feel lied to. In their affront they resolve that their children will not grow up deluded as they were. They vow an open mind and freedom of choice for their offspring that they never had.

Which seems to be forgetting one thing: They, as adults, are at the position they are today because of the upbringing and religious foundation they received as children.

I fully expect my children to doubt religion as adults. They’re intelligent, curious, and stubborn. They feel they already know more than many authority figures. They will question and maybe even decide to leave their childhood faith.

Maybe, like others I know, they will still attend, but with a broadened perspective.

I can’t control that, but I can help to give them somewhere from which to leap. And so, I say to give a child a religious somewhere to start from. This doesn’t mean that I’m judging anyone for choosing a faithless family life; it does mean I do not choose that for mine.

As with any thing in parenting, I say to keep the conversation open. Encourage questions. Encourage them to work through the answers on their own. Ready or not, some day they will have to fly on their own.

—————

Sunday, April 7: “Moderate Momming,” a moderate post about moderation.

Monday, April 8: Wrote a poem titled, “Bedtime.”

Tuesday, April 9: Shared an inspirational quote by Sir Gilbert Parker.

Wednesday, April 10: Recommended buying ahead in my Dinner Tip.

Thursday, April 11: “Your Mama’s So Fed Up,” a snippet about an unfair joke bias.

Friday, April 12: Advised against birthing one’s children near each other in, “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Birthdays.”

Saturday, April 13: Shared Manic Mama‘s tweet about a son’s priorities.

Sunday, April 14: That’s today!

Photo Credits:
Aaron Burden
Alexander Watts

Moderate Momming

I’m often a moderate apologist when it comes to religion. After being born and raised in the LDS Church, I eventually went through a stint of Atheism and returned to an uneasy truce with Christianity and Mormonism. Hence, I am currently halfway.

My overarching motivation in life is to treat everyone else the way they want to be.

As such, I do not try to convert people to an idea. I do not push my values on others. -Within reason. I have realized that even moderates like me have lines. I have values. I have issues that are my own opinions and a few of them extend out to how I think others should behave.

When engaged in philosophical discussions of this sort with others, I try to back my ideas up with things like, “The good of society,” and “That makes sense anatomically.” Really, though, ALL of them are tied to a value or opinion.

If the law allowed for people to walk around naked and procreate in public, would I still find that wrong? What if I were raised around that?

Maybe it’s time I stopped apologizing for what I might believe. Maybe it’s time I wasn’t hesitant to consider the presence of God. Maybe I ought to actually follow the advice to stop caring what others thought (also a bit of advice that needs reason, else one might get arrested).

What do I fear? Oh -right. I fear the people who will not listen. I worry for those who will turn away with an incredulous shake over my ignorance.

I meant to talk about how important religion is for raising children, but maybe this isn’t quite the morning for it. Looks like this was the morning to talk about values, popularity, and social anxiety. Which, though those were not my aim, are also important to address and important to teach children about.

All things in moderation, right?

jenn-evelyn-ann-112980-unsplash

—————

Sunday, March 31: “The Good Old Days,” reminiscing and reasoning about how things were.

Monday, April 1: Wrote a poem titled, “The Polls Are In.

Tuesday, April 2: Shared a quote (probably) by Frederick Douglass.

Wednesday, April 3: Cautioned against glass jars in my food tip.

Thursday, April 4: “Momvan, Or…,” a snippet about the awesomeness of minivans.

Friday, April 5: Reasoned that one should not ever purchase toys with, “Just Don’t Buy It?

Saturday, April 6: Shared 5KidsAndABunny‘s tweet about the things kids parrot back.

Sunday, April 7: Happy Today!

Photo Credit:
Jenn Evelyn-Ann

The Good Old Days

I spent a lovely evening (without kids!!) watching a slideshow of my grandmother and her family. My great-grandmother had taken many pictures during her daughter’s childhood, and even had a few from her own.

I enjoyed sitting with my current extended family and reminiscing on memories and events. “That was their first house.” “Oh, look! I remember that car!” “She loved that outfit so much!”

When people talk about the past, they tend to remember the best parts. They have photographic proof of the best parts, too: the family vacations, beloved car, high school friends, favorite toys, and every year’s Christmas trees.

laura-fuhrman-696993-unsplash

In fact, I often hear folks nowadays fondly recalling what has been and wishing that we could return to those times.

During conversations with a friend about my children, he said, “In the old days, people would have just said, ‘Boys will be boys,’ and not tried to raise them as girls.” I’ve had neighbors say, “Children used to play outside all day and we never worried about strangers.” Talking to old people in general makes me think I live in a war-torn ghetto instead of a nice suburban neighborhood.

The truth is that every time has its ups and downs. Even during tonight’s family photo slideshow, there were a few snippets of reality.

“That’s Gertrude*. She died of the Spanish ‘Flu. They buried her while seven months pregnant.” “Ha! I remember that halter top. I thought I was pretty hot stuff wearing it.” “There’s that old car, Gramps. Didn’t you and grandma make out a lot in that?” (The answer was affirmative.)

Boys might have been boys, and they also might have been legally paddled by schoolteachers. We may have had more children outside, but they had lead paint and childhood diseases that led to death.

I bring this all up as a helpful reminder that we ought not to beat ourselves up too much about the way things are compared to how they were.

amy-treasure-65953-unsplash

Yes, we need to raise our families and spend time outside and love our children so much. But, we do not need to compare ourselves to a bygone age. We do not need to feel poorly for not building a wagon in our tool shop with our four-year-old son. Whatever relative did that most likely endured hours of yelling, mismatched parts, hammered fingers, and an end product that rolled somewhat lopsidedly.

In any time, it’s the thought that counts. And the family time.

 

*Names changed.

—————

Sunday, March 24: “A Verry Unmerry Birthday to You,” my lamentations regarding birthdays as a mother.

Monday, March 25: “A Poem About Procrastination,” a quick little ditty about shirking responsibility.

Tuesday, March 26: Shared a quote from Pinterest. It’s inspirational. Sort-of.

Wednesday, March 27: Served a Dinner Tip about easy meals.

Thursday, March 28: Posted a quick thought about finding your children.

Friday, March 29: Advised you all to stick to your guns in “Don’t Give In, and Stay Sane Doing So.”

Saturday, March 30: Shared SAHM_RN‘s tweet about shared responsibility.

Sunday, March 31: Today!

Photo Credit:
Laura Fuhrman
Amy Treasure

A Very Unmerry Birthday to You

Yesterday was my birthday. As a mother, that meant the day ran about the same as all the others but my kids and husband wanted me to be happy. Act happy. Look excited. Smile more (well, at all). Eagerly anticipate what household object they had gift-wrapped.

In short, I needed to be as excited as the boys all feel when it’s their birthday.

jorge-ibanez-527058-unsplash

Like most events in life, however, I dread my birthday. I don’t like being the spotlight. I’m not a fun present un-wrapper. I’m not the life of the party. When birthdays or Mother’s Day roll around, I’d rather not be here to celebrate. This desire confuses and hurts my family.

The problem is that the day is still a day. My day of birth was a Saturday this year; but, when it’s a weekday; I still have carpool, cleaning, sports classes, dinner, dishes, bedtime, and attempts to bond as a couple.

The problem is that my entire life is to anticipate the whims of the house and its occupants and cater to them to avoid nuclear meltdown. Everyone else’s needs come first and I feel shallow thinking about myself.

The problem is, like with most events, I need to ask for what I want in order to receive it -and I feel bad for having wants in the first place. I’ve crumpled up and trashed anything resembling innermost desires; and feel like an indecent, filthy street beggar pawing through something molding when asked about them.

jiroe-588903-unsplash

Why? That doesn’t seem healthy. Perhaps it’s not.

Acknowledging the problem or even testing out the whole “asking for what I want” thing doesn’t erase the guilt. Again, though, why not? And, more specifically, how can we erase the guilt? Lobotomy?

Frankly, I’ve spent the last few years in an intentional haze of semi-tiredness (very like a lobotomy) in order to avoid some of these bothersome feelings. I’ve numbed to avoid sadness and empty despair and hopelessness. I’ve pretended contentment and ignored myself in order to function.

*Sigh*

Birthdays don’t have to be so heavy and serious, of course. I actually only cried because I wanted to a little yesterday. Then, my sister planned a surprise mani/pedi appointment and my mother took me to lunch afterwards. My husband, for his part, took the children and the housework for the day.

In all, even my Eeyore side had to agree that it was a good birthday.

Now, if I could just get over how guilty I feel that everyone did all that for me…

rune-enstad-571590-unsplash

—————

Sunday, March 17: “The Magic Clothes Washing Machine,” my scientific observations of what the clothes washer produces.

Monday, March 18: Wrote a poem for The Bloggers Bash competition titled, “Five More Minutes.”

Tuesday, March 19: Shared a quote by Christie Mellor.

Wednesday, March 20: Whispered my super secret tip about bread preservation.

Thursday, March 21: “In Case of Emergency, Interrupt.” Never ignore The Look.

Friday, March 22: Advised against Super Momming in “Pinterest Mom or Sane Parent?

Saturday, March 23: Shared Unfiltered Mama‘s tweet about difficult kids.

Sunday, March 24: Today! Yay!

 

Photo Credit:
Jorge Ibanez
Jiroe
Rune Enstad

The Magic Clothes Washing Machine

People have long joked that their washing machines lose socks. No matter how fastidious they are about tracking those little buggers, a black hole opens up somewhere along the laundry path and orphans many a sad pair. I can relate, of course, yet I can also compete.

My washing machine not only eats socks; it also eats underwear and sports uniforms AND uses the digested materials to create plastic fish, Nerf darts, a plastic witch finger, and (I kid you not) packets of condiments.

Laundry Crap
Just some of the items the clothes washer has created.

I’m not sure why or how I came to own such a gifted machine as this, though I did notice its magical properties exhibited after we had children.

…It’s probably coincidental.

Unlike a dog delivering the paper or a cat delivering mouse organs, I haven’t much use for the presents I find in the laundry. I also tend to worry about the objects’ effects on the clean clothes. The fish and Nerf darts and witch finger are usually well-behaved, but the mayonnaise and ketchup are not exactly fabric softeners.

And, I’m concerned about using something created from a process I can’t see. What if the washer’s methods involve lint and elastic waistbands?

As helpful and generous as the washing machine is, I would rather have the powers in reverse. Instead of my son’s karate pants becoming a beanbag frog, I could deposit mustard and hot sauce in return for a red and gold soccer uniform.

I’m sure I would at least get a pair of socks.

—————

This past week’s posts:
Sunday
, March 10: “Selfish Selflessness,” a post outlining the tough midpoint we mothers find ourselves in.

Monday, March 11: Wrote a poem titled, “The @#*&% Diet.”

Tuesday, March 12: Shared a quote by Erma Bombeck.

Wednesday, March 13: Plated a second dinner tip for y’all.

Thursday, March 14: “Dietary Air,” a snippet concerning dieting.

Friday, March 15: Lamented and advised against teenagers in “Why Oh Why Must We Have The Teenage Years?

Saturday, March 16: Shared Ramblin’ Mama’s tweet about making friends for your kids.

Sunday, March 17: Happy St. Patrick’s Day! That’s today!

 

Photo Credit:
unsplash-logoNik MacMillan