My husband and I have decided to sign up Tiny Daughter M for Our Whole Lives classes. This is a big deal. I was pleasantly surprised he went along with it as he dislikes “indoctrinating” our kids, but we both think the program will be good for her.
This is the first time any of my family members have gotten involved in anything UU related. I have assured Tiny Daughter that it is not like Sunday school and no one will be telling Bible stories and that was quite a relief to her. Still, I am kind of nervous. Neither of my girls have any interest in doing anything related to a church ever again and I am starting to look at the role I have played in that.
Both of my girls attended church regularly when they were little. I took them most Sundays to the Assembly of God church that I grew up in and my parents still attend. When I stopped going, I told them that church attendance was their decision; I was willing to drop them off at church, or not, as they pleased. I would not force them to go to church ever again. Neither one of them have the slightest interest in attending. At all. (OK, they do make an exception for the annual Christmas sleigh ride party.) Many people at AUUF have informed me about the wonderful RE program and how great it would be for my kids, but I have to respect their decision to stay home, even if I think they should give it a try before they dismiss it. This puzzles some people, but I cannot go back on my word to them. I cannot respect their search for meaning and coerce them at the same time.
This week I have been thinking about how my actions played a part in this. For years I hated going to church, but I went to please my mother. I was so stressed out and cranky by the time I got home on Sunday afternoons that the whole family experienced an improved quality of life when I stopped going. I never thought about how that affected them before. I am sure that watching their mother grit her teeth and endure something did not instill in them a desire to participate. I felt so alienated from my true self there, but I didn’t know that they could see it as small children. Looking back, it is kind of stupid to think that they could not. I am not beating myself up about this; I just want to look at the situation and understand it.
I have always found religion to be fascinating. Even as a non-theist, I worry that the girls are missing out on a fundamental aspect of human nature. You don’t have to be a theist to understand about religions and the role they play in human societies. Something like 90% of people in the world believe in some type of divinity and I don’t want to leave the girls ignorant about that aspect of humanity, but in no way do I want to force any sort of religion on them. They remain fantastically uninterested in any of it.
Still, this OWL registration is a big deal. Tiny Daughter M was reassured to know that next year, a high school level class will be offered and Tall Daughter E will not escape her turn.