“What’s An Appropriate Age To Let Your Child Choose A Religion?” (Cuni's Commentary)

Religion, to me, is not just a weekend activity or something I only practice during the holidays or when times are tough. It’s a way of life. As a parent, it’s my duty to teach my children. My daughters are 5- and 3-years-old. That is WAY too young to be able to make a decision about religion, or much of anything really, other than maybe their favorite color. Just as I teach them the importance of good hygiene, of good manners, of eating healthy, of going to school, I think that not only is it JUST as important, but definitely even MORE important to teach them that they have a creator; to teach them to learn about Him, who He is, what He wants for us, and why He’s worth loving; and what it MEANS to love God. It’s my responsibility to teach my daughters what a wonderful gift He left us; a map to show us how to live, to teach us who He is and how much He loves us; a guide; a warning against those things that will lead us down the wrong path. I want my daughters to be well rounded; to have not just a physical meal every day, but also a spiritual one. I believe that if I do my very best to abide by God’s simple rules, that I will live a happy life. So why wouldn’t I teach my daughters something I believe will do the same for them? I want them to be happy and lucky enough to know the benefits we reap from knowing and loving God. I teach my daughters about my religion because I love them and want what’s best for them.

When do I think is a good age to let them decide for themselves? I think somewhere in the teens is ok. I’ll tell you a quick story. I only decided recently how important God is in my life. I’ve been indecisive for about 15 years or so. My behavior over the years has been indicative of that. I have a 14-year-old who I’ve been trying to get to know and love God, as well. Of course, due to my behavior, it never sunk in with him. I can’t tell him to do something if I’m not doing it. So I don’t blame him for his lack of interest or understanding. It wasn’t until last month that I FINALLY gave up and decided NOT to force him to come to Kingdom Hall with me. He seems to be happy about that. I, however, am sad about it but I’m not giving up. I understand now that I have to work on ME first. I need to SHOW him why it’s important. So that’s where my motivation stems to keep working hard on myself, and start teaching my daughters now. When they become teenagers and if they start to rebel, as well, and don’t want to know and love God, I will respect their wishes. A spiritual journey is a personal one, and at that point a child is beginning to explore who they are and what they want for their life. If I force my children in any direction, they will only rebel even more. So the BEST I can do at that point is to continue to work on ME and pray that they find their way to God soon. But at least I’ve planted the seed. They can never say that they know NOTHING about the bible or God. I remember when my son was in 6th grade and something came up in class related to a biblical story. During a Parent Teacher Conference his teacher told me that he was impressed that MY son was the ONLY one in the class who knew anything about the bible. That was such a proud moment for me.

Do my children know WHY they don’t celebrate holidays? Not yet, but I’m definitely working on it. They’re young and I’m still just a student myself, so I’m formulating a plan to “officially” begin explaining it in a fun, creative way that will hopefully make it easier for them to understand. I know that once I begin this learning and teaching process it will be a lot easier for them…and for me, too. And I’m sure that in time it won’t even bother me or my daughters how often they’ll have to be excluded from certain activities in school. Because when you love someone it becomes easy to make sacrifices for them.

With all the horrible things so many parents teach their children, especially by example, I hardly see anything wrong with teaching my children about something that on TOO MANY occasions has only brought me peace, happiness, security and so many other blessings.

I was inspired to write this blog by Ms. Vanessa Ramirez. She asked me a few questions and I turned my answer into a blog. Here’s her original question. Thanks V!

“If you don’t mind me asking, how old is your child? I only ask because we get into the religious topic at my house and we have often discussed at what age would you think is appropriate to let your child believe what they want. I was brought up Catholic and my boyfriend was brought up Pentecostal, so they didn’t celebrate Halloween because his dad felt that it was the devil’s holiday…although my boyfriend wanted to participate in it for the candy. Just out of curiosity, do you think it is fair to keep your child away from the activities just because you do not believe in it? I know people change their religions because they will believe what they want. Would it be so wrong to have your child decide if they want to celebrate a holiday that mommy does not? Also do they know why you do not celebrate this holiday? Just asking because I like to get other opinions when it comes to religion.”

About Cuni Estrada

I am a blogger who only recently discovered my passion for writing. It’s my mission in this cyber world to help, touch, influence, or at least make someone smile while simultaneously satisfying my creative needs and urge to be heard.

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