So a few weeks ago my ten year old daughter stayed at a friends on a Saturday night. Before the sleepover her friends mom mentioned that her daughter had to be at church at 8 am and could my daughter go with her. I told her that would be up to my daughter. She decided to join her friend, and I asked her to kindly refrain from making any comments that could be construed as rude about what others chose to believe in. Well, a few days later my daughter gets a phone call . . . from an adult from the church she went to with her friend. I was really miffed, but thought, she's a smart girl, I've raised her well and she can handle this. I didn't eavesdrop, although I was tempted, and I didn't let my anger(yes, I was more than miffed) show through the phone. I didn't even ask her about the phone call after wards, although I'm pretty sure I didn't hide my feelings as well as I wanted to. She never said anything about it, so I figured the subject was dead for the time being.
Well, three days later this one resurrected like the story of the Christian's Jesus.
I was in the garage looking through old photos with the Stunt Toddler today and my daughter comes out on the phone, I assume it's my mom or dad, and keep doing what I'm doing. Then after a few minutes, she says "Mrs. ____ wants to know I can go to church with them."
Grrrrr . . . really? I don't want to have to deal with this, I am non confrontational, and very respectful of other people's choices, plus, I live in the freaking bible belt.
"We'll talk about it later" I say.
Okay . . . Now what? I have no problem with her staying friends with this girl, so long as they are keeping their religion to themselves. I am pretty upset that a mom that I have known for a while would call and ask my daughter, instead of me, but then again she may have no clue what I believe and how I feel about the subject. I can tell my daughter is angry with me, as she's been in her room for an hour(since the phone call), and I don't want to do anything that will push her further from me now or in the future. I'd like to trust her judgment, but I have to admit, I think she's too young, and way too impressionable. I do not feel comfortable with her going to church on a regular basis at all. I just need to figure out how to talk to her about it, and how to tactfully talk to her friends mom about it also.

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Comment by Mya Randle on April 19, 2010 at 12:09pm
Nice Andrea, thank you very much. :-)
Comment by Mya Randle on April 14, 2010 at 7:43am
Shouldn't the bibles and bible related stuff be held in with the greek and other myths? It only makes sense to you and me. We've studied up a lot on myths Sue, that was the easiest way for me to gently explain how I feel about religion to her from an early age. ;-) Whenever we would discuss a myth, I would ask her what she liked about it, and discuss what I liked about it, then I always make sure to tell her that I love myths, but I think they are just that, myths, and I equate religion in that group. :-)
Comment by Secular Sue on April 14, 2010 at 4:07am
Maybe a trip to the mythology section at the library...
Comment by Mya Randle on April 13, 2010 at 1:05pm
Thanks Andrea, I have been to the UU for our local humanist meetings, but never for a 'service'. I will see if this comes up again, in the mean time I think I will try to make more of an effort to have a running dialogue with my daughter about what she thinks, and maybe start having a 'study' session once a month where we look at other peoples beliefs in depth. :-)
Comment by Mya Randle on April 13, 2010 at 7:11am
Thank you guys so much for your responses.
SGecko, you brought up many of my initial fears. I try to teach my children what is what in life, so they can decide on their own, without coming off as a militant Atheist(it's just not my thing, and I think it would alienate me from my children if I was), but ten just seems too young to me.
Tom Thompson, other people(especially in a church where I already feel they've come on way too strongly) are what worry me the most. I trust my daughter, even at this age, but I'm not trusting of the lies and brainwashing she could be party to in a church.
Secular Sue, thanks for you comment. I would've been livid myself too if that had happened to my child. Maybe it was the jolt you needed to make that step away from religion though.
Becca, thanks for the suggestion, I will wait and see if it happens again. (see the update)

So on the car ride to ballet last night, I took a few minutes to get my bearings, then spoke to my daughter. I told her that she and ______ could still be great friends without going to church together, but wait, I couldn't finish my spiel, as she said "It's okay, it was _____'s idea, I didn't really want to go."

. . .

"Okay, why not?" I asked, just trying to figure out if she sensed I was upset and was changing her mind because of that, or if it was something else.
"It just doesn't seem right to me." She said.
"What doesn't?"
"Having to go to a church just to get more time to spend with ______."
Then I told her that when she was a little older, she will have more info under her belt, and can make her own decision on what she believes, I'm going to love her no matter what(I've said this before). So she spent the rest of the ride asking me questions about different branches of christianity. It was a great talk, and good for me to have to actually think about how I feel about this issue.

I was SOOO frustrated after the phone call, mainly because this isn't a subject I can just chat about with anyone, it was a great feeling to know that I could come here and vent, and get everyone's opinion on the matter, thank you guys so much!
Comment by Becca on April 13, 2010 at 1:32am
Why don't you just go with her next time. That way you can see for yourself and offer her specific reasons if you decide not to let her go back.
Comment by Secular Sue on April 12, 2010 at 11:45pm
When my daughter was little, I let her go to Sunday school with neighbors. I didn't like the song she was taught there, about throwing the devil in the river. I didn't want her to be afraid of the devil, but I kept letting her go.
One Sunday she came home with wet pigtails. She said "Momma! I got bap-a-tised!" Those sneaky christians went behind my back and baptized my kid! They didn't ask permission, they didn't so much as invite me to attend. Furthermore, someone got my daughter to take off her clothes and put on a robe for the full dunking. That pissed me off. I took yet another step away from christianity after that.
If I had little kids now, I think I would discuss religion openly with them and tell them what and why I disbelieve. I don't think I'd let them attend Sunday school until age 10... or maybe 18!
Comment by Tom Thompson on April 12, 2010 at 10:18pm
Would you allow your daughter to make her own decision about going to any other social club which you felt was a bad influence on her? I can understand the challenge you face in not wanting to force your views on your child but you can rest assured that other people will not practice your restraint.
Comment by Gecko, of Richie! on April 12, 2010 at 4:47pm
Mya what an interesting topic you have brought up. I faced only one similar incident about two years ago. The invitation was to spend a Sat night at a friend of my sons and go to church the next day. I politely declined.
I have heard it said by many an Atheist that we should let them decide for themselves. If this is the course one chooses I understand where they are coming from but I must disagree.
We (most of us I think) teach our children that a table is a table, a chair is a chair, the Sun is a star. Do we also not teach our children that God was created in the minds of men. For the purpose of answering what they couldn't many millennia ago? We Also begin teaching them to be skeptics. But the influences of modern Church's who are actively recruiting I think are are still to strong. Even very brilliant 10 year olds like your daughter and my son.
My 17 year old thats different, but I think they are too young at 10 unless they have us with them to immediately refute the garbage they are going to be taught.
It is a tough call to many, and I hope you keep us informed of the outcome positive or negative. Your experiences well almost certainly help others in similar circumstances.
Comment by Mya Randle on April 12, 2010 at 4:16pm
Thanks so much John. I think I probably would've taken my frustration to the yard and done a weeks worth of work in one day had I not had this place to vent to. It is a methodist church(I asked when she first went) and I'm not sure how the family or church feel about certain issues that would certainly bother me. I will have to find out.
I appreciate the view point on letting her go to a 'milder' church and making her own decision, it really is the thing I need to do, to stay open minded myself. I don't have many discussions about religion with my daughter, but it is known that I will love her no matter what she chooses, but that she should do her own research and make her own decisions when she's a few years older. I guess ten(mature, and a really smart student) is old enough for me to not feel so worried, I think the thing that bothered me the most was the first phone call, the lady didn't want to talk to me, but to my 10 year old, I found that really odd. Anyhow, thanks for the comment and advice. I have to take her to dance class right now, so I plan on talking to her a little bit about it on the way. :-) Mya



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