My Kid & Religion: Part 1 – Family First

Joel Gratcyk (Daddy's Grounded)

Joel Gratcyk is a social media strategist, father, husband, perpetual student and caffeine junkie. He misses sleeping, but loves being a parent more.

13 Responses

  1. Bekka says:

    While I didn’t quite have the same restrictive background growing up (my pastor always encouraged us to go read the bible for ourselves, to verify everything he was teaching), I completely agree that critical thinking skills are so incredibly valuable, and shouldn’t be discouraged especially among Christians. It’s part of our focus with our own kids, and a big reason why we are homeschooling as I don’t believe that critical thinking is taught very effectively in public schools these days.

    I think a big way to help ensure your son has a positive Sunday School experience is to get involved in the program itself at whichever church you’re attending. Being a part of the teaching, even if it’s on a rotating schedule, will help you engage the material at home.

    It may be a little while before he’ll be in a program anyway, so if you haven’t found a church that fits where you’re at right now, you have some time to look :)

  2. Let me know what you decide to do as I will be in the same boat soon. If I keep my girls from church like I’ve always assumed I would- I’m also keeping them from an early sense of community they might not otherwise find.

  3. sethburleigh says:

    Some day in the future my wife and I will have to decide if we want to introduce Catholicism, Judaism, both, neither, a mixture, etc. I think we are OK with the dilemma, but not sure how either set of parents feel about it. Both my wife and I did the entire thing from youth religious school to confirmation, so it should be interesting.

    • We know exactly where our parents / grandparents stand on things, but realize that it is completely our call and not theirs. My wife and I want to make sure we are happy with our decision because it is what we believe and not what we’re told we should. This has created some uncomfortable situations. I couldn’t live with doing things the way family says if I didn’t agree with it. I’m over that. We’re going to do what we think is best for our son. Our family’s input is taken into consideration, but it is not law.

  4. What an incredible story Joel. I’m not at all a fan of religious teachings to children as I see it quite literally as “brainwashing”. I’ve spoken with several people on this very topic and I’m shocked that many of them don’t share my view. They feel that they don’t force their beliefs on their children and give them the choice…. when they reach an appropriate age.

    That’s the rub. By exposing a child to teachings of a theology (in this case, Jesus Christ), and consistently reinforcing those teachings through punishment/reward, you are creating the belief structure for them. By the time they are given the “free will” to choose, that choice is an illusion. Very few people are able to make a truly “free” choice because at a subconscious level, their mind wont allow it.

    This is a wonderful story that shows the power of the mind.

  5. papagreenbean says:

    Truly a masterpiece of writing. I am so glad to have connected. Looking forward to many more exchanges.

    You and your wife need only to expose your son to the choices out there and then simply to let him choose.

    Your dad’s coming out is a step in the direction of total inclusion, just as it should be.

    Best, John

  6. DadWorking says:

    Excellent job highlighting the tensions with religious and personal beliefs. I wonder why religion in the first place? Is it because of how you were raised and you want your son to have those same experiences and beliefs? Is it because of the moral lessons, community or otherwise? I think if you can answer the question of why religion in the first place, it may help you rectify your struggles.

  7. smswaby says:

    Post is well done. I have a similar journey and I continue to attend church. If God is love, then I think that love comes first. Judgment is too easy, and often our judgments are projections onto other people.

    I agree that having a faith structure is very important for our families. Raising kids to believe and to think for themselves is vital.

    Well done.

  8. “My beliefs and questions have changed and matured in the last 10 years. I am a much different person than I was back then. I think I’m a better person in some ways and worse in others.”

    These words resonated the most with me, although this entire post (and eventually series?) is making me think. I am one of those “conservative Christians”–perhaps even worse, I’m Roman Catholic! (said tongue-in-cheek) I *know* that people feel judged by my lifestyle, which is a homeschooling stay-at-home mom of seven, which is unfortunate, truly, because the bottom line–for me–is LOVE.

    Your heart and your head are clearly coming together. Dare I say it? God is good. :-)

    PS. It was great meeting you, however briefly, at the Stream Team meet-up. I could have used another day to get to know all the bloggers.

  1. April 14, 2014

    […] is the second post in a series on My Kid & Religion. If you missed it, read Part 1: Family First […]

  2. April 21, 2014

    […] is the third post in a series on My Kid & Religion. If you missed the others read Part 1: Family First & Part 2: Sunday School […]