Tonight as we were getting ready for dinner, I overheard my daughter singing to herself, “Jesus can do anything, anything, anything. Yes, Jesus can do anything.” This is something that she must have learned at church because I have never sang those words to her before.
As I pointed this out to my husband, he asked me, “Do you think we are brain-washing her? By taking her to church?” Obviously, she is too young to have a say in whether or not she is going to come to church with us, but at what point do we encourage her to actively make her own decisions about religion?
Neither my husband and I grew up in a typical Christian household as children. His parents are not religious at all, meanwhile I remember a time when my parents would burn incense and make me bow to black and white photos of dead ancestors. We both went through an independent searching process and eventually made the decision to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s unfortunate to say, but I think that we both have a somewhat negative stereotype of people who say they “were born into Christian families” because some of these people we know are the ones who strongly rebelled against Christianity as young adults.
As I struggle day by day to learn how to be a parent, one of the things I want to strive for is to be a Christian parent. I want to pray with my children regularly and to teach them to love God and to seek Him. But how do I do this in a way that is encouraging and not eventually have it backfire on me in 16-18 years when they go off to college and are suddenly confronted by the rest of the world? Will my children think to themselves, “I never had a choice! My parents made me do it!”
So I’m curious to hear your thoughts…when do you think it is appropriate to introduce the concept of religion? How do you introduce your personal religious beliefs to your child? Have you had experiences in your own childhood or adolescence that actually turned you off towards certain religious beliefs?