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Thread: Surrounded by Catholics

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    Default Surrounded by Catholics

    DH and I were raised Catholic and we happen to live in an area that is very Italian/Spanish and Catholicism seems to be a predominant religion with those 2 groups (at least around here). I wish we were in a more religiously diverse area but it is what it is now....

    So we have been to 3 family communions and my DD is in kindergarten which means religious instruction starts next year. Thankfully it is completely separate from the school (as it should be) so you do it on your own. I can't count the # of moms who have asked if I signed my DD up for religion yet. They have been respectful when I say "No we don't do that" or "we don't belong to that church" but it's kind of awkward. It would be fine if it were just 1-2 people but I feel like it's everyone.

    The other issue is I am fearing DD will be upset or feel left out when all these kids are making their communion and she wont. Obviously this is no reason to follow the religion but I am not entirely sure how to handle it. DH has told her that we are not Catholic and that many other people, especially family members are, and that we respect their right to be a part of whatever religion they choose. But it feels weird to say all that when we don't actually have a religion, you know? If were said "they are Catholic and we are Jewish" it would IDK just feel better I think. We used to go to a Unitarian Fellowship but it's kind of far and we kind of dropped off from that....

    Anyway, I am babbling now. Just wondering if any of you feel like you are surrounded by 1 religion and how you and your kids handle that?
    Thing 1 (8), Thing 2 (5), Thing 3 (2)

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    Even if we were to be 'religious', it's not going to be one of the mainstream ones. Near as I can tell, kids belonging to friends and family that are practising Hindus seem to handle it just fine, so I'm not anticipating any problems.

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    I can see how that will be a tough situation, especially for your older DD at her age. Ky went through a period of wanting to be religious in K, 1st, and 2nd grades. Honestly, I just told him he could be if he wanted. Though I do consider myself an agnostic atheist, I don't have any issues with any religions. I just feel that religion is not for me and never has been. My kids may turn out to be religious and if they do, it doesn't bother me. I only hope to teach them to respect other people's religions, even the ones I don't particularly like.

    Ky recently asked me about the Nation of Islam. They are the group Farrakhan is the leader of and I consider them a racist hate group. A couple of the kids in his class are members (at least their family are members as I don't consider kids to be religious as they are just told that they have to be and don't make a conscious, educated choice to be a part of a particular faith). He only has 6 kids in his class so that is 1/3 of the class and some of the things they mentioned made him want to go and check them out. Since I do feel they are a hate group, I won't do like I have done in the past and let him visit that religious organization but I did tell him that he should be respectful of them as well, even though I have a low opinion of them.

    My family and DH's family are also very religious. They are pentecostal and are into evangelism. Luckily since I have been a mom for over 10 years now everyone already knows how I feel about religion and to not try to force it on me and my kids. It is different though when young kids are in school and I would just keep reiterating to your DD about your religious beliefs and explain that when she is older she can study religion more in depth. I have told Ky if he wants to join a religion or church, he can look into it when he is 14. He already doesn't really like any religions though. He has been to church and to Mosques even also to Buddhist and Bahai Temples (we live in a very religiously diverse community).

    Erin

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    I don't post in here often, but we have a similar issue. Everyone around here is Christian and it's just assumed we are too. My DH still identifies as Christian, but he doesn't go to church. He doesn't feel the need to go to church. I'm probably considered a little New Age-y in my beliefs- I believe in a "higher power"-universal energy-kind of thing, I do not "do" organized religion at all. We don't talk about God in our home. We don't read the Bible or quote Bible versus. Our homeschooling will be completely secular unless DD expresses interest in learning about specific religions, but we won't be teaching her about this mythical guy in the sky who created everything and she should believe he's all powerful and worship him because we tell her to (I know someone is going to be offended by that sentence, but IMO that is what will be going on in her head at 3 years old).

    While my mom seems to share my beliefs for the most part (even though she raised me LDS), my MIL is very much born-again Christian and does not understand our parenting choices at all when it comes to this. She is the most outspoken person we deal with most often on the religion topic. The other day she told my DD that God gave her beautiful hair, and apparently DD's response was "Who's God?" Well that went over like a lead balloon MIL actually went to my DH and was quite mortified- "Do you know Emme doesn't know who God is?! " His response didn't go over any better (it was something along the lines of my offending sentence in above paragraph). So now my MIL is finding every opportunity to tell ME how much fun the kids at her church looked like they were having in the daycare there, how good the message was that week, blah, blah, blah. Like she thinks my DH didn't tell me about the convo they had and I won't see right through what she's doing?? It's really annoying, even though I know she's coming from a good place and thinks she's doing the right thing.

    But to answer your question- our stance is that we don't feel she's ready for religious training, and when she is ready it's no ones responsibility but OURS to teach her. It's not an easy answer to give to someone who has a different (and popular) opinion, but it's the answer we go with.

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    I wish I had some advice.... I really haven't figured out how we are going to handle religion as Nolan gets older, our issue is DH is a believer so in that we do not created a united front and it's kind of frustrating.

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    I don't now, but when I was growing up I was definitely in the minority in a lot of places where we lived. I was the only non-Mormon in my junior high school. The only non-Catholic, non-Hispanic in my 6th-grade class. One of the few non-WASPy types in my 5th grade class. It wasn't just religion, though. I was the only person without a tv in my class, too, so I didn't get all the pop culture references that other kids were talking about.

    I begged my mom to let me go to church when I was little. She told me I would probably find it boring, but she brought me, and it was near Christmas and they were celebrating the birthday of Jesus with cake and ice cream and presents for the kids. I'm pretty surprised I didn't become a regular after that.

    As a child, it's really easy to feel like an outsider and it's easy to be intrigued and/or want to be a part of what everyone else is doing. For me, it might have been a bit easier, because I lived in so many different places and in each place the people were different in different ways. It wouldn't have done me any good to become a Catholic in 6th grade if I moved to my Mormon school the next year, you know? I did develop a deep appreciation for how many people believe so many diverse things, which may have led to me to where I am now, believing that nobody has the right answer.

    ETA: I think my parents (and I) try to point out all the positive ways in which we are unique. Like maybe we don't go to church on Sundays like that family, but we do go out as a family and go for long walks and enjoy each other's company, right? Isn't that a fun thing to do? Not everybody gets to do that! And we get to go to different places every week!
    Last edited by 3andMe; 05-15-2012 at 02:26 PM.


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    I have no advice, but wanted to offer empathy. I signed up Abbey for a preschool in the area at a Methodist church because it was the *only* school she and I liked, and she's on the waiting list. If she doesn't get in, I will likely keep her at home, because all of the other preschools offer way too much religion in the curriculum (including daily chapel visits). The sad thing is we are in an area where there are very few secular families, so the preschools that are more secular tend to be poorly run/funded.

    We just toured another school yesterday and Abbey was telling the director that she will have a baby brother soon, but she didn't know what he'd look like yet (she talks quite a bit about him). The director responded with "yes, only God knows that, right?" and Abbey looked at me funny. I don't think she's *ever* heard me talk about "god". Then when I saw them leading kids in prayer before snacktime I knew it wasn't a good fit.

    Later I told her that we each have special recipes and the combination of mommy and daddy's recipe makes baby brother (and her) look the way that they do (recipe meaning DNA, I guess). I have no idea how to counteract the amount of religion that surrounds us out here... right now DH's approach is to just treat it like we would if we lived in another country where customs were different, but it's hard because other than believing in science and and generally subscribing to certain philosophies, we don't have our own set belief system.



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    It's funny I can relate to all the replies so far....

    One that stands out is Carrie - my mom is like your MIL although she isn't obnoxious about it. She makes me feel guilty about my kids not having a religion and makes it like I am "anti-religion". She is also a TOTAL conformist so she doesn't understand why I wouldn't just go along with what everyone else does. I am not anti-religion at all and I think it's more respectful to the religion to not 'just go along' with it. If I don't believe I don't belong there! There are soooooo many people who just go with it because they don't even realize they have a choice not to, but never go to church and could care less about the actual religious aspect of any of these Catholic events.

    Anyway, so when my DD asks my mom why she is wearing a "T" necklace she looks at me like I have totally failed. I tell her that she is free to explain what SHE believes to my kids as long as it's not preaching. She does ok with it. I don't stop her from expressing her religion I just wish she would have more respect for my choices because I feel like I respect hers. She was horrified that I didn't tell my kids that my grandfather went to heaven when he died because "it's comforting to them". Um no, it's a fantasy cop-out. I would have LOVED to be able to explain it that way - how easy is that? DH and I had to research an appropriate way to explain it to our kids without feeling like we were lying or scaring them.

    My mom's new thing is, "I don't care if you are not Catholic just be SOMETHING". I don't know why she says that but I am starting to feel like it would be helpful as I stated above. But really, I am not going to run out and find a religion just to be able to call myself something.

    I am happy to let my kids follow whatever religion they choose but the problem is - what is an appropriate age to decide? AND in terms of Catholicism - we already kind of screwed our kids by not baptizing them so if they decided to choose that religion I guess they would have to get it done somehow? No idea how that works. And how would I know if my DD isn't deciding she wants to be Catholic just to be like her friends and family, you know?

    We had a hard time finding a non-religious preschool as well. When we were shopping around I would ask the other moms in the park or DD's gym class where they were sending their kids. They would ALWAYS say some type of religious establishment to which I would reply "Oh we are not looking for a religious school" - they would always respond with "oh it's not religious it's just held there and they say a prayer when they eat". Um, we don't pray at home. I don't want my kid praying in school. That never seemed to matter to any of these people....

    When it comes down to it, like everything else, we will be different for one reason or another and I guess this is just another way to explain and celebrate our differences....
    Last edited by macksmom; 05-15-2012 at 03:14 PM.
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    This conversation reminds me of something that happened at school a few weeks ago. I was helping in the kindergarten class and a little girl said to me, "Mrs, I'm Muslim and everyone else is Christian. What are you?" So, I said, "Um, I'm neither." And she was like, "But what are you? You must be something." So, I said, "Nope. I'm nothing." And then quickly changed the subject. She couldn't understand that I didn't have some kind of religion. I wish there was some kind of label that I could call myself.

    I don't look forward to these religious conversations that I'll have with my own kids. At least I live in a very secular country where atheist is not a dirty word.

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    This conversation reminds me of something that happened at school a few weeks ago. I was helping in the kindergarten class and a little girl said to me, "Mrs, I'm Muslim and everyone else is Christian. What are you?" So, I said, "Um, I'm neither." And she was like, "But what are you? You must be something." So, I said, "Nope. I'm nothing." And then quickly changed the subject. She couldn't understand that I didn't have some kind of religion. I wish there was some kind of label that I could call myself.

    I don't look forward to these religious conversations that I'll have with my own kids. At least I live in a very secular country where atheist is not a dirty word.

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    This is just one of the many, many ways that we are different from the mainstream ways in our town/state. Luckily, we're quite used to it by now.

    Actually, Kai has recently asked me if he could go to church sometime. Almost every child in my daycare goes to church and it's a topic that comes up really often around here. I plan to take him to my dad's church, a Unitarian church.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AmeriBrit View Post
    This conversation reminds me of something that happened at school a few weeks ago. I was helping in the kindergarten class and a little girl said to me, "Mrs, I'm Muslim and everyone else is Christian. What are you?" So, I said, "Um, I'm neither." And she was like, "But what are you? You must be something." So, I said, "Nope. I'm nothing." And then quickly changed the subject. She couldn't understand that I didn't have some kind of religion. I wish there was some kind of label that I could call myself.

    I don't look forward to these religious conversations that I'll have with my own kids. At least I live in a very secular country where atheist is not a dirty word.
    That is ironic that she wanted you to label yourself while she felt singled out by her own. I have just been saying "non-practicing". I was thinking of just calling myself (us) secular? IDK. I mostly identify with Buddhism but I don't know enough about it to want to call myself a Buddhist just yet. If I had to choose that would be it though (for me). We have also said we are Unitarians but no one around here knows what that means and we don't belong to that fellowship anymore.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bridget View Post
    This is just one of the many, many ways that we are different from the mainstream ways in our town/state. Luckily, we're quite used to it by now.

    Actually, Kai has recently asked me if he could go to church sometime. Almost every child in my daycare goes to church and it's a topic that comes up really often around here. I plan to take him to my dad's church, a Unitarian church.
    Yeah we are slowly getting used to it too lol. Unitarian is your best bet for sure I wish ours was closer!

    I do wonder how to differentiate between a child being genuinely curious about religion and just wanting to be like everyone else?
    Last edited by macksmom; 05-15-2012 at 04:43 PM.
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    I feel like I can tell that Kai's is genuine curiousity. He wants to know what church is, what you do there, who goes there, why do people go there. He tells me he "just wants to check it out and see what it's all about". I can respect that. What I really struggle with is my kids flat out saying that God isn't real or that heaven isn't real. You wouldn't beleive some of the conversations that have taken place in my daycare. I once had a little boy tell Kai that he would go to the devil if he told a lie. I was mortified. But I suppose that boy's mom would have been mortified to hear Kai say the devil isn't real.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bridget View Post
    I feel like I can tell that Kai's is genuine curiousity. He wants to know what church is, what you do there, who goes there, why do people go there. He tells me he "just wants to check it out and see what it's all about". I can respect that. What I really struggle with is my kids flat out saying that God isn't real or that heaven isn't real. You wouldn't beleive some of the conversations that have taken place in my daycare. I once had a little boy tell Kai that he would go to the devil if he told a lie. I was mortified. But I suppose that boy's mom would have been mortified to hear Kai say the devil isn't real.
    That is so cute that he says he just wants to check it out. That sounds like genuine curiosity to me. I have no problem taking my kids to a church or letting my mom show them where she attends if they really express interest. It's just that we are so surrounded by it I can't imagine they wont be curious.

    DH and I always said that we would introduce our kids to all religions and let them choose but my DD is already 5 and we haven't even broached the subject. I definitely think by next school year we will start getting more into it because her schoolmates will be starting their religious instruction classes. I am SO annoyed we live far from the UU fellowship because they have a religious instruction and I know it's really cool and embraces all religions. It's a good 45 mins away and with a new baby may not be doable for us once/week.

    My edit didn't take I also wanted to say I shudder to think of what DD is hearing at school She doesn't tell me much about school
    Last edited by macksmom; 05-15-2012 at 05:15 PM.
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    You could tell your mom that you're a Secular Humanist. At least that way you're "something," and it may shut her up for a bit while she goes off to figure out what the heck that is. ;)



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    Quote Originally Posted by mla View Post
    You could tell your mom that you're a Secular Humanist. At least that way you're "something," and it may shut her up for a bit while she goes off to figure out what the heck that is. ;)
    See I tried that with telling her we were Unitarians but that just lead to a barrage of questions about what they believe and worship and if they believe in God, etc. etc. etc. I guess it's hard for someone who has belonged to one religion for their entire life and really doesn't know anything else - to understand that there are others out there who either believe in something totally different or just don't believe. Of course she blames herself That because my brother and I are not devout Catholics that she failed somehow. *Sigh*

    I should just tell her I am a different religion every week
    Thing 1 (8), Thing 2 (5), Thing 3 (2)

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    Quote Originally Posted by AmeriBrit View Post
    This conversation reminds me of something that happened at school a few weeks ago. I was helping in the kindergarten class and a little girl said to me, "Mrs, I'm Muslim and everyone else is Christian. What are you?" So, I said, "Um, I'm neither." And she was like, "But what are you? You must be something." So, I said, "Nope. I'm nothing." And then quickly changed the subject. She couldn't understand that I didn't have some kind of religion. I wish there was some kind of label that I could call myself.

    I don't look forward to these religious conversations that I'll have with my own kids. At least I live in a very secular country where atheist is not a dirty word.
    That is cute... and awkward! The majority of people I know think atheists are "devil worshippers"

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    Ugg, I went to a women's Catholic college (and really most people i knew growing up were Catholic....but only on holidays! ;) And I did have classmates try to say that if you didn't believe in God, you couldn't have morals. It was a fun day when I pointed out the flaws in logic in Descartes "proof" of the existence of god.

    I'm sorry that you are so far from the UU church. That is what DH and I call ourselves (his family is also catholic). And we have had the fun of trying to explain it to his pretty devout uncle. I just give them the seven principles and call it a day. We haven't officially joined because I just have a hard time getting to service on Sunday mornings....but we consider ourselves to be UU even if we don't go on a regular basis. I do have plans to go more once we get a baby.

    For a while I thought that the adoption agency was going to turn us down because we weren't "christian" but they accepted our statement on the church and that our beliefs were the seven principles.

    Jennifer, 35, DH 36

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    Quote Originally Posted by mla View Post
    You could tell your mom that you're a Secular Humanist. At least that way you're "something," and it may shut her up for a bit while she goes off to figure out what the heck that is. ;)
    I was thinking, she should tell mom she's considering becoming a Wiccan. I bet she'd be happy with 'non-religious' after that (most people have very strange notions of what being a Wiccan involves - pentagrams and dancing nekkid under the full moon, and such).

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    Yeah. Wiccan would certainly cause a stir, wouldn't it?



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    Quote Originally Posted by Smplyme89 View Post
    That is cute... and awkward! The majority of people I know think atheists are "devil worshippers"
    That is just hilarious, really. And makes NO sense. To believe the devil exists, don't you also have to believe in God (no matter which one you choose to worship)? They're part of the same package, are they not?

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    I view this thread and I mean this in a funny but, not disrespectful sort of way.. I am technically surrounded by Catholics now with Habitat for Humanity. Our sponsor is Catholics for Habitat and there is a Nun in charge of donations. Sr. Jane is her name the funny thing about all of this is I had the same maiden as her last name. The really funny thing is which I find endearing and not strange is she wants us to dig a bit to see if we really are related even if its distance. She is convinced we are because we have the same eyebrows. She has told everyone at habitat and the Catholics for Habitat about how we have the same eyebrows. I wanted to share that and I hope you ladies get a giggle out of it. Most Churches though around here are either Baptist, Non-Denominational, and Catholic.
    Last edited by hotpinkmomma0811; 08-29-2013 at 04:44 PM.



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    That is funny

    It's ironic this post popped back up because this is the year everyone will be making their communion (2nd grade). I am still a little nervous because I know DD1 would LOOOOOOVE the whole white outfit thing (which DH and I find totally creepy - I mean the outfit not the fact that she would like it). Luckily all our neighbors are boys so she wont see too many of the kids around but I know there will be talk in school. Luckily she is pretty laid back and I think if we just explained that we don't do that she will shrug and move on. I hope
    Thing 1 (8), Thing 2 (5), Thing 3 (2)

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