I thought I had done everything right. I knew they had to be carefully taught to stay on the path, strong in their convictions, to resist peer pressure, reject conventional thinking and make their own decisions. I assiduously kept them from the insidious influences of dogma, ritual, superstition and belief in mythical beings, including Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, unicorns and gods of any kind. I taught them to read everything, believe nothing until proven to their intellectual satisfaction and question all authority (except their mother, of course).
And, for the most part, I succeeded. My son became a biblical scholar in order to combat the religious cults that stole the minds of vulnerable youngsters. He worked as a deprogrammer for several years, having developed an amazing facility for debunking one gospel passage by quoting an equal but opposite postulation. I have seen him bring Jehovah's Witnesses to tears, using nothing but his bare hands and an encyclopedic knowledge of scripture. He far surpassed me in his pursuit of religious information, but arrived at the same conclusions as did I. He became as devout a post-theist as his mother, swelling my aged heart with pride.
And then the roof fell in. His youngest child, my once adorable blue-eyed blond baby grandson, just turned thirteen and decided he wants to be Jewish! His Myspace icon is Superjew, he's combing the 'net for a 'cool' yarmulke (which he couldn't find because he had no idea how to spell it), and he's trying to grow payis (those curly sideburns, Jewish dreads, for the edification of you goyim).
When asked why he had these odd desires, he replied that he liked the food, especially matzoh balls (yeah yeah...matzohs have balls) and latkes. And, of course, because the clothes are "cool". Please bear in mind that this kid lives in the second hole in the bible belt (Carson City, NV) and the nearest synagogue is forty miles away. I'm sure he's never met a rabbi, doesn't have a clue about the customs or culture of Judaism, and thinks 'kosher' is the name of a deli. And yet, the Jew gene apparently will not be denied, despite the best efforts of two generations of vehement anti-religionists.
So I can't help but wonder where I went wrong. My beloved grandson has rejected the non-faith of his forebears and reverted to blind theism. As a grieving grandmother, I can only ask: this is adolescent rebellion? Why couldn't he start smoking weed, like a normal teenager?