My four-year old daughter skipped into the lounge last week and declared ‘baby Jesus’ is coming to school. My heart skipped a beat as this was a conversation that I wasn’t prepared for. It’s time for the Christmas Nativity. As it’s not a church school, I do question why they’re doing the birth of Christ. However, I’m not anti-Christmas but, as a family we look at it as a time to celebrate family and friends with less emphasis on religion.
I’m an atheist, but I was baptised (can’t remember what religion) and I did attend Catholic School for a year. However, my daughter was not christened, to the surprise of my mother in-law, as we felt that it would be hypocritical of us as we aren’t practicing Christians.
It’s not my intention to shelter her from religion but I will make it clear what I believe. I love that schools have Religious Education in the curriculum, introducing children to many different religions thus, hopefully, fostering respect for people’s different beliefs.
I think that religion is a very personal choice, one that I don’t feel she can make till she is quite a bit older, at least pre-teen. I’m going to do my best to remain unbiased and let her sort out her own belief system. If she wants to regularly attend services we will support her. Unless it’s some bizarre cult of course and then I’m totally up for an intervention.
This is why I probably turned my nose up when I was sent a copy of ‘Littlest Angels’ to review as it introduced the concept of Heaven and Angels. It’s based on the classic children’s story by Charles Tazewell. To be honest, I haven’t watched it from start to finish, hubby has and said it was ‘okay’ but Madame really liked it and has asked to watch it several times. The Littlest Angel is out to own and download on DVD now
When should you introduce your children to religion? What should you tell them? I’d love to hear your comments.
6 thoughts on “What should I tell my daughter about religion?”
I would wait till she asks you. We never particularly talked about religion with the Kid till he started school. He is not christened for much the same reasons as yours. Once he started school, he took the decision himself that God was not real. He is quite black and white though, if you can’t see it how can it be real? I am sure he will be a scientist when he grows up!
I thought it was a phase but 3 years on he still holds the same beliefs. We have never pushed our views on him, Husband is atheist and I am in the ‘not sure’ brigade.
The best time to speak about the religion is when your kids ask about death and what does it mean “he/she will always be with us in our hearts”. Try tell about the God in a simple way as creator without giving any names. Your children will learn them later.
My family and I are christians and we find it important to teach our children about the Bible. I wouldn’t leave it up to the school system, society or trend to be responsible for what my children believe but I also think it is important for them to make their own decision when they are old enough to make a conscious choice,(My children are not baptised, they will make up their minds when they want to be part of faith or not). I want my children to understand why they celebrate or do not celabrate certain holidays and have a deep respect for what others believe. I want my children to be the sort of people who question things to understand them, not merely follow along because of tradition and have the confidence to stand up for what they believe and defend it, even if it’s not the popular choice. -Vievie
I’ve been thinking about the same. My 3 yr old has a penchant for the singing in the Cathedral so we often pop our head round the door if we’re passing. However being in the Cathedral leads to lots of ‘why?’ questions! Like you, I was christened/baptised by now consider myself an athiest. I try to answer the questions as objectively as I can but am conscious of my own leanings. ‘Religion’ is an incredibly difficult concept to explain to a child and I don’t think I’ve done it very well yet. I generally kick myself for getting drawn into the conversation with a 3 yr old!!
Tough one. My husband and I are not religious, although we did get married in a church and christened my eldest. However, she has been talking about death recently and I tell her that you go to heaven to make it not so final (and because I still hope that that is what happens!)
This is a tricky one, and we’ve been talking about it recently. I was brought up CofE, and christened our eldest (now 4 years old). Our younger child (9mo) isn’t yet christened, though we plan to. We are both what you might call “hesitant” believers – we like the idea of a spiritual force & so on, but don’t agree with much of the trappings of organised religion. That said, I feel that there’s a huge cultural element to religion, and I’d like my daughters to understand that, and also to respect other people’s beliefs. So far, Poppet hasn’t asked much, though she did say (quite loudly) in church last Christmas Day, “Why do they keep talking about Jesus?” At least she’s stopped calling him “the cheesy baby”, which was what she thought he was called the year before!She’s in a school nativity play this year so that may prompt more questions…