The Boy came home today singing a song about how he has “a friend up in the sky and his name is Jesus”, it was a happy song, with a catchy tune, but it kind of gave me the creeps.
The boy goes to a Catholic parochial preschool, so I shouldn’t really be surprised, but though I knew religion played some role in his school life, I hadn’t actually sat down and thought out the implications. A few months ago he went through a period of a few weeks where he recited the Hail Mary at bedtime, I was a bit taken aback but thought it was generally kind of cute, and yet now… I don’t know, it’s starting to sink in that the Boy will have a different sense of religion from me.
Though my parents were both raised Catholic, they had both distanced themselves from the church by the time my brother and I were born, so religion really wasn’t a big part of our lives. The gist of their entire religious education was there’s one God for everyone, everyone believes in their own version of him, churches are unnecessary and mostly there to control the masses, Christ was a pretty cool guy, the bible is a bunch of hooey.
I’m not sure what tack I want to take with my kids. I don’t feel any particular need to be part of a church, and though I’m not against organized religion per say, I am wary of it, mostly because historically organized religion, any religion, has a pretty shitty track record.
Not that I mind the Boy singing songs about Jesus, if I think about it most of the bedtime songs that I sing them are hymns (amazing grace, he’s got the whole world in his hands, kumbaya), which befuddles me cause I’m wondering where and when exactly I learned them, possibly during a very brief stint at a Southern Baptist elementary school before my parents came to their senses and switched me to first a public then an international school. I’m just worried that he may become indoctrinated, which is exactly what I’m trying to avoid. In the end it comes down to whether environment or family values are more important.
And boy did my skin crawl just for writing the words “family values”, when did political lingo become so implicitly interwoven in our day to day language, to the extent that two simple words have become a brand for certain specific agendas?
Well, for now, I’m helping him learn his prayers, and I explained what a rosary is when he found one around the house, and the story of Jesus’ life has replaced The Three little Pigs as bedtime entertainment, and I do it willingly, I do… but sooner or later I’m going to have to temper all this Christianity with some talks about Budddhism, or Islam, or Judaism, or Paganism because I don’t want him thinking there is only one road ahead of him. And of course I want to keep telling fairy tales and stories by the Brothers Grimm, and suddenly I’m faced with decades of bedtime storytelling that will never, can never, end because the subject matter is so vast and so serious. All this because the Boy came home singing about Jesus one day… can you even believe this is how my mind works?!
And now I’m going to have to start brushing up on my Theology. Anyone have any good books to suggest?