My son loves to ask questions. Our drive home from preschool is peppered with continuous questions. One day, he talked about God. "God made all of the birds and trees, Mommy." For a second, I froze. Then "Yes", that is true. Then we moved to snakes and how they will bite you if you get too close. The four-year-old does not linger long on tough questions.
I know my stance about religion is not shared by others. It's OK. What I am about to say may not settle well with you. Again, it's OK.
My son gets to decide his future. In some ways, he may have already decided before his life even started. His career, love, hobbies, political party affiliation, home purchase, etc, is all his decision. He may come to me for advice, but at the end of the day, he will have to decide. This is true for someone's faith or religion. Many people in my family are Christians, I am definitely more Buddhist than anything, My inner circle of friends consist of Christians, Agnostics, Buddhists, Muslims, and Atheists, I love them all.
Right now, I am not teaching my son to follow a specific faith. Instead, our religion is kindness. He must learn to show respect to every person on this planet. Violence is never tolerated. Every person deserves your kindness. If you can help someone else, do it. These principles are our "bible".
When we talk about God, it's about a higher power, creator of all things. God is love. We all have God inside us. When my son asks me about Jesus, we talk about him as a historical figure but not in savior context. That's his choice to make.
He is four. As he grows, he will ask more questions. We will talk about the beliefs of all world religions. I will encourage him to visit places of worship and ask questions. He will read the text of many faiths. He will hear the words of all faiths. He can venture from faith to faith to find his home, but he will always be guided to follow his heart.
My task now as his parent is to make sure that others do not prey on him using scare tactics to alter his thinking. For example, trying to convince my young son that if he does not believe in Jesus, he will burn in flames is unkind. My son gets to choose his path based on his own exploration.
I know what some of you are thinking. Amy, you are crazy. You have to give this boy a strong base. (I am, it's called kindness.) You have to tell him what to think. (No.) Children need a foundation in something. (His foundation is respect for all people regardless of their faith, orientation, income, gender, IQ or background.)
So as we go forward together, I wanted you to know this about us. I don't blog about faith since I consider that private, but my journey is not unique. There are more people out there like me than most realize. I am not the only one who winces when I hear my son singing a religious song that he was taught by others. Of course, I will stumble at times on this path. And it's OK. What is important though is that I remember that this path is HIS, not mine to dictate.