Spiritual education is a keystone of how I am raising my sons, and I am always inspired to hear how other parents are working to raise their children along a spiritual path. In the series Parenting and Faith I feature posts from bloggers discussing how their religion or philosophy influences their parenting. I am so pleased to share today’s post, which comes to us from Jennifer of American Mom in Bordeaux, a fellow member of Multicultural Kid Blogs.
This post is piece for the Parenting & Faith Series at All Done Monkey blog. When I signed up months ago, it sounded easy but as I am writing this post now, it’s more difficult and complicated that I thought it would be. Religion and faith are very personal topics and everyone has their own opinion of what is right for them and what religion means. I feel our experiences as children (how we were raised by our own parents) often molds our own views – positive and negative – about religion. In addition, our spouse or partner adds another layer, and then, as parents, we choose how to spiritually raise our children. For this post, I’m going to share how we are choosing to raise our girls in France.
I am a pretty spiritual person. I believe in God (whomever he or she is) – my faith has evolved over time. I was raised Presbyterian, going to church fairly regularly as a child. I attended Sunday school, youth group and participated in community outreach programs helping others less fortunate. My husband, who is French, was raised Catholic but did not regularly attend church and currently chooses to be more spiritual than religious. When we chose to get married, the clergy in the church I had grown up in had changed and I was not feeling connected to the philosophy of the newer minister. My husband also didn’t feel comfortable being married in this church. So we opted for a third option/a compromise of sorts. We had been attending a Methodist church together and enjoyed the style and philosophy of this particular church – so we were married there. We took a bit of a break from organized churches in the first few years of our marriage but then when we were pregnant with our first daughter – I started to realize how important being part of a church family was for me. However, I didn’t want to be preached at, I didn’t want a really formal church that was rigid in views – I knew some Protestant churches were like that.
We learned of a Congregational Church in our town which had open, liberal views on religion. We started attending and fell in love with this church’s openness, flexibility and welcoming of members from all religious backgrounds. All three of our girls were baptised there. They attended church school and we went to church “somewhat” regularly. They were all still young when we moved to France – but they did have a sense of a community of faith and of helping others. We do miss our church community there.
|My oldest daughter reading a scripture lesson|
We often talk about the fact that church is a spiritual place – a place to reflect, a place to meditate and place to critically look at ourselves and learn. A place to remember that we are children of god – we were created by god as a reflection of god. It’s a place to feel loved, protected and taken care of by god. It’s an excellent place to learn good morals and use the stories to illustrate these to children. We are open and accepting and I try to instill in my children that they are free to choose whatever religion they wish when they are older. We have talked about the fact that there are many different religions and beliefs and often it’s about how people were raised, but in the end it’s about choice and choosing a spiritual practice and/or religion that one is comfortable with and believes in. We have also taught our children about meditation and we have visited a Buddhist temple and the older girls have tried short walking and sitting meditations.
If this post speaks to you, I would love to hear from readers about your spiritual journey and how it’s grown or changed as you raise children.