Raising My Son to Believe in God Is Harder Than I Thought

Catholic church

When it comes to my religion, I pretty much classify myself as a "semi-non-practicing Catholic." Basically what that means is that I have a strong belief in God, and I was raised Catholic, so it's the only religion I know. And while I do attend mass, it's not like I go on a regular basis or anything. And neither does my 7-year-old. He's only been to church maybe five times in his life.

But every single night, I make it a point to sit and say prayers with him -- because I want faith to be a part of his life. I really do. And while I think he has a decent understanding of God -- I probably should be doing more to instill a sense of religion in him. It's just that it's so freakin' hard sometimes, especially when your spouse wasn't raised to value faith the same way you were.

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If I had to classify him as anything, I'd say my husband is an agnostic. He doesn't really believe in a higher power, but he doesn't NOT believe that there may be something bigger than us in this universe either. And he'll happily accompany me and my son to mass whenever I ask, even though I know it's not something he's accustomed to.

It's funny ... his lack of religion never bothered me before we had our son, and it's not like it's a deal-breaker now or anything. But it does put me in a bit of a tough position. I want our son to be raised with a good religious foundation, but this is his child too, and I don't want to make him uncomfortable or act like I'm trying to take control of our kid's beliefs.

And while I want our son to develop his faith, I'm not sure that I'm ready to put him in CCD classes simply because we can barely handle all of the other stuff that's currently in our schedule. (And because of something shady that went down during his baptism. That's another story for another day.)

I also don't necessarily think he needs those classes to connect with God and have a good relationship with him. I'm not confirmed and it's never altered my faith. Who needs a piece of paper to prove you believe in something?

No, believe it or not, my husband has never objected to putting him in religious education if that's what I want. But I secretly worry he's against it. His family has made it perfectly clear that they "hate the Catholic church." Yes, those actual words have come straight out of his mother's mouth. (Don't even get me started.)

What if I start raising our son as Catholic, and he hears his grandmother saying things like that? Or what if another family member makes some stupid wise crack about something I clearly feel is important to teach my child -- and then he wonders why I'm making him get involved with it?

Sigh. This God stuff is so much more difficult than I thought it was going to be. And it's probably something my husband and I should have discussed in detail before we had our son. It's not that we're not on the same page as far as how to raise him -- but it sure would make my life a heck of a lot easier if he'd wake up and smell the coffee and realize how important having some sort of faith is. (Gah.)

Ugh. Why don't they put this kind of stuff into baby manuals? If people knew just how complicated choosing a child's religion can be, a lot of confusion and conflict could definitely be avoided.

Are you raising your child with religion, and does your spouse support it?

 

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