Tuesday, December 16, 2008

storybook jesus

so with christmas coming up one of the issues i think about all the time comes up. teaching, or not teaching, arabella about jesus. its hard for me because we are surrounded, i mean really not in any bad way, but surrounded by mostly christians who grew up in christian homes and were taught about jesus on felt. i didn't grow up in a christian home necessarily and i was still taught about jesus through a felt board. while i understand that even if you are taught about him in this way, if your parents are truly showing you who they believe he is in their lives the felt wont be a problem... but is learning about jesus that way necessary at all? the thing is seth and i have talked about when arabella is older how we want to actually talk to her about God/jesus/the bible etc... we wont teach her that the bible is truth and jesus is god. we will teach her what her father believes, what her mother believes and that a lot of people believe a lot of different things about God, that we have to always ask questions about him and see who he is in people and in our lives. its a hard concept to think about teaching and for me, the deepest i'm willing to go is to teach her there is such a thing as God and to try and live out love for right now... even having her pray at bedtime is a stretch for me... its hard for me to see it as a cute innocent thing, sometimes i think it is and sometimes it stresses me out knowing that she is just mimicking me. its not true. i dont want to create a believer that mimics my own. i want to grow strong women who search for God on their own, inspired by the love and hope seth and i have shown them. i dont want to talk about the man that my husband so truly believes is the creator of the universe, the one who came here and become nothing to set him free, i dont want to talk about him in a childish voice saying childish things. i dont want to teach her to talk about jesus because she doesn't know who he is, there's no way at this age that he could be anything but a fairytale and its not cute to me when children talk about God merely repeating the things their parents told them was true. when people tell stories about their children accepting jesus into their hearts it doesnt bring joy to me, it makes me feel really uncomfortable and it makes me wonder why the parent doesn't understand that this was only a child pleasing their parent. maybe someday it will become real, but why fake it now? why not just wait til their minds can at least be made up on their own? i think these days a lot of the shock and awe of just how great Jesus is has been taken away from us and our children.... because in the age of technology and medicine is a man made of felt that lived 2000 years ago really that awe inspiring? whether he's god or not the life he led deserves more from me than to speak of him as if he was drawn to life just like every other character my daughter holds so dear, i can't put him in the toy box with princess belle. i know there always has to be balance, in everything we do... so knowing that i want to teach my daughter who Jesus has been to me, who i believe God is and i want seth to teach her who Jesus is to him and who God is to him... but i wont ask her to mimic me, i wont tell her its "jesus' birthday" this christmas (can you imagine what she'll picture? jesus with a piece of cake on a princess plate with a princess hat on)... and if/when we do i want it to mean something to her not sound like a cute story. i want to teach her that christmas is time to be with your family, time to love and find life in the warmth of your home being filled with family and friends.

*and by the way, do you LOVE how in pretty much every pose on that picture jesus has his hands up like 'what did i do?'


Monica said...

I think this is so brave and admirable of you. It's so easy to go through life without thinking, just doing what you're supposed to do. It's not quite so easy to actually think about WHY we do things and whether or not they are right. Teaching your children what you believe is important, but teaching them to think about and decide what THEY believe is even more important. I appreciate that both of my (Christian) parents exposed me to what they believe but also taught me to think for myself.

hillary tish said...

especially since i don't remember anything my parents told me about God when i was little... or even if they did... i don't remember... and she prolly wont either... this is a very good point... i think parents just teach their kids because they feel they have to... but in reality i had friends who were taught about God like it was implanted into them from a young age... they would always shove it in all the kids faces on the playground n such... and THEY turned out real nice... lemme tell ya ;)

JessicaToday said...

ay. men.

sarah said...

i really enjoy your blog, you are so open and honest. this post hit home in a funny way. i have a 3 year old sister, our father and her mother are separated and well, we're jewish and she (the mother) is catholic... anyway my dear little emma told us the other day that mommy had told her that "the jews killed jesus." it made my heart sink and then i got angry. not just at emma's mother for burdening this poor toddler that already struggles so much going back and forth between two homes, two parents and two families, two religions, now she has the added burden of balancing love and lies, but angry at all the parents that don't give their children any choice in what to believe.
i've never met you, but reading your blog, i've watched you grow as a woman and as weird as it may sound coming from a total stranger, i am so proud of you for wanting to teach your daughters open-mindedness and love, especially because it is so much easier to give them a felt fairy tale.