Thursday, September 27, 2007

On religion - II

There were so many thought-provoking comments to my last post on religion, that I thought I would respond in a follow up post.

I agree that it's hard to teach children to question at such a young age - and probably not even appropriate. This is an age where they need structure, and religion is nothing if not structured.

I think I will probably end up exposing Moppet to a shallow version of religion - telling her stories from the Bible, celebrating festivals - and when she is old enough to ask questions, I will try and answer them as honestly as I can.

But the last word on this for me is my dad's. He wrote me an email in response to the post, and with his permission, I'm quoting some parts from it here because I think it's really worth sharing:
You're right, "Parents are such enormous influences on their children." That's why the question of parents' responsibilities in their children's development is so important. Are we doing the right thing for our children when we put them through certain experiences and prevent them from others?

My answer is simple. There is no right way to bring up children. In spite of the mountains of parenting wisdom all around us, every parent has to go through the trial and error method to bring up their kids. One is never sure one is right. One has to do what one believes is right, and leave it there. Fortunately for children, parents are not the only influencers. In fact, the tendency of adolescents to rebel against their parents is one of the most beautiful things in life. So parents should not take full credit or blame for the way their children come up.

While there is no one right way to bring up children, I believe there is one wrong way. That is being too sure of oneself and being rigid about it.

[...]

Be yourself. Be honest with yourself and with Moppet. You will influence her thinking, but don't for a moment think that it will be so deep that there will be no room for other influences.

19 comments:

noon said...

Gosh, his wisdom just shines through. Simple, straight forward and so true, what he has said here. Loved it. Thanks for sharing...I will copy paste it in my folder to read it again - I think this holds true not just for religion but for all other issues as well - we are not the only ones influencing our children...

Doorva said...

MM, my respect for your dad grows more and more, I wish he had taken a 'philosophy of life' course for us in addition to the other amazing course he takes. His success in spite of the odds is very inspiring and when you read such simple words of wisdom, you realize that the success is not just superficial.

Just Like That said...

Moppet's Mom, now I realise why your Dad has had such an influence on you. He's simply awesome. and humble with it.
and I miss my Dad so.

Squiggles Mom said...

So beautifuly put. His words are simple yet so wise. Thanks for sharing

Poppins said...

OMG !
While there is no one right way to bring up children, I believe there is one wrong way. That is being too sure of oneself and being rigid about it.

I so so love and respect that line.

choxbox said...

those are wise words. thanks for sharing.

DotMom said...

wow. beautiful words. what left the most impression is -
"So parents should not take full credit or blame for the way their children come up."

Its very easy to do both.

SUR NOTES said...

thats beautiful - my parents strongly believe that- and let me loose in the world/let the world loose on me -always there to mediate when i wanted. at times, even when i did not want.

we hope to do that with our child. and its not easy.

your father's words are precious ... you can tell him that they are words i will surely hold onto...

Anitha said...

Loved it Moppet's mom.
"While there is no one right way to bring up children, I believe there is one wrong way. That is being too sure of oneself and being rigid about it."
I am going to copy it to my favorite quotes.

Suki said...

He is so very very right. Which makes me want to post my fourth post of the day, on "generation gap" and why I believe it's necessary. :).

The gist is this -
1. The mind has its own development and integrity. Otherwise we would all be born as experienced as our parents are already, and take off from there.
2. Even though our minds must grow on their own, we do benefit from what our parents have learned in their lifetimes, and absorb it gradually. Thus we end up one step ahead in the train of development.
3. In the end, each one of us is a pathfinder. Any influence can go only so far.

Did that make sense? I don't know.

I love Lucy said...

Just when I was pondering over similar things,I see this post!Very nice!!

We don't have kids yet but I keep wondering how we are going to resolve such issues in a manner thats best suited for the kid...:)

mnamma said...

Excellent excerpt Moppet's Mom! No wonder your father was just a huge inspiration in your life :) The way he summed it all up is so good "Be yourself. Be honest with yourself and Moppet" - Awesome.

Cantaloupes.Amma (CA) said...

True words of wisdom!!

"So parents should not take full credit or blame for the way their children come up."
- Really really respect that line.

Sunita said...

Profound wisdom.
Puts a lot of pressure off the heart and head.
"You will influence her thinking, but don't for a moment think that it will be so deep that there will be no room for other influences." - Hmm :)

Thanks for sharing.

Timepass said...

Your father is absolutely right (according to me)

Suki said...

Hey Moppet's Ma! Just wanted to share a wee moppet-related anecdote.
Today we went shopping, and at the end of the day, waiting for a bus to take me where i live, the baby asked, "So did baby (ie me) have a good day?"
I, happily brandishing my second serviceable pair, grinned - "I have new shoess!!!"
Baby grinned and said the first thing on my mind. chooz!

(Hopefully I'll spend more time with them on my feet than on my butt trying to get them on lol! :D)

PS: Copying this onto my blog.

DotMom said...

TAGGED!

kodi's mom said...

M's M: thanks so much for sharing this email. there is a profound lesson in there for all us parents (read: me).

Fuzzylogic said...

Such words of wisdom could come only from a parent!Thanks for sharing this Moppet's mom. This post certainly has given me a lot to think about. I will probably do a post sometime on similar lines.