Please, No Asshole Replies.. I Just... Need Help Here

..ok, so its suddenly dawned on me that my 5 yr old daughter, veda, has sidled into a rather unnervingly consistant routine of attending sunday evening services with her gram cracker (my mother in law) every sunday, followed by mexican for dinner and sonic drive-thru dessert. I let her go for 2 good reasons and 1 fairly bad one. If you're a tired mama, you'll understand the latter and if not, I'll ask you to just overlook it entirely and move right along to the good reasons. 1] Veda and I have open communication about the unlikelihood of there being a "god". (Please note that I use the word unlikelihood because I refuse to outright tell her there isn't one.. I chose to let her reach the conclusion on her own.. and, to a very definitive extent, she has already done so; questions germane to the dinosaurs alone cast enough doubt in her mind to render her immune to casual brainwashing. 2] This 1,500 seat ampitheatre 'compound' of a church boasts a children's "wing" that features a 500 foot bubble wall, tandem bicycles that are connected, back to front, in a circle, and a host of other play things that make her gush with soulful deliniation. She doesn't go to church for the message.. unless she just pays no attention whatsoever and misses it, there IS no message that I can detect. They play and color pictures of ruth and such.. no more.

Now.. my problem is this: I could tell Veda was struggling with inner turmoil last monday morning while we waited on this bus. Finally, she told me she had a question to ask me and that she knew I wouldn't be mad, but she didn't want me to be upset either. "..shoot" i replied.. and she went on to tell me that gram asked her to ask me if I still knew where the cute lil pink 'new testament' bible is that she gave her when she was born.. fucking hell, I don't.. but, even if I did? I think I'd prefer, very much, to go out and (ugh) BUY her one.. with both the new testy AND the gory old one. If she's gonna have one, it's gonna be the full monte.. blood and hellfire and ruthlessness of the big man himself included. 

How am I to navigate this sticky situation? Gram is aware of my belief (or lack thereof) and knows that I'm determined to let Veda decide whats what on her own. She means well.. I know.. and I don't want to drive a wedge between us.. but I need to be firm about this goddamned bible situation. I'd hoped to read it to her, chapter by chapter, as a complete book.. but she's too little right now.. she'd have freakin' nightmares!!! Any thoughts?

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Comment by MikeLong on September 22, 2013 at 6:14pm

"Kids believe in lots of things at a young age Easter bunny, Santa, the tooth fairy & gods."

These characters are not all on the same level. Kids don't overhear adults talking among themselves about how they lost a tooth and the tooth fairy came and left a dollar under their pillow. They don't see adults crowd together every week of every year to praise Santa Claus. Churches are places where adults are deadly-serious about this god fellow. And Children's JOB in life is to emulate adults. (My favourite saying of my Mother is, "Kids don't do what you say - they do what you DO!")  

Even if, as in Melissa's case, kids are segregated during this serious god time, they still see their mentors bowing down in worship toward this charasmatic figure at the front - in an environment designed to strike awe into adults, nevermind kids.

2-3 hours a week are, to me, far too much to subject kids to unless there is some serious debriefing time every week to counter it.

Comment by Strega on September 22, 2013 at 6:37pm

Great point, Mike.  I never had the church presence so it is interesting to imagine how influential it might seem to children.

As for those mothers who need a break from their children (quite understandably) I can tell you my experience.  One Sunday, rather unexpectedly, I found myself admitted to Sunday School.  I thought it was pretty weird, since we had never had religion in our lives, but I and my friend from next door got busy with the stickers and the pictures for a couple of hours.  The following Sunday, my friend wasn't there.  I asked my mum where she was, and I was told that she had gone horse-riding.

WHAT??? There was a choice??? 

I asked if I could please go horse riding instead, and sure enough, I could go for the whole day, and muck horse shit out of horseboxes and get to ride, and get dirty and fetch and carry, and have outdoor fun.  That's when i realised my mum just wanted some time to herself - and that was fine by me since I could now go and do this hugely enjoyable activity instead.

Score: Horse shit - 1, Jesus - 0

(I stayed with it for 20 years, got my qualifications to instruct, and all on Sundays as I was working in the City during the week)

My point is, you really don't have to use religion as a way to get your time.  There are plenty of activities your kids would probably enjoy far more than coloring in a giraffe neck sticking out of an ark.


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