As my daughter and I were heading out to school yesterday, daughter asked if we could go on a bike ride before she was dropped off at school. I said “Not now but at the end of the day”.
“The end of today?” She asked.
“Yes” I said.
She immediately started to cry. This was not the I-want-what-I-want-now cry but a fearful, scared cry. I asked her why she was crying and she told me all about the “End of Days” the apocalypse where the saved rise to heaven and the rest of us are left to live in eternal damnation. I was stunned. I asked her where she had heard about that but she said she didn’t know.
My ex husband’s parents, her grandparents,are born again Christians. My ex is not and he and I have the same beliefs with regard to religion, basically yeah it’s a good thing but neither one of us is likely to get our ass out of bed on a Sunday morning. Let alone drag the children. His parents have tried to convince him to join them in salvation, but so far he has resisted. Vehemently resisted. In fact he stayed out of their lives for a few years because he was sick of them trying to convert him. When we got married they thought they could go through me to get to him. They were also very interested in saving me since I come from such a sinful family.
We divorced shortly after our daughter was born and had not gotten around to getting her baptized. My first child was a girl who died at birth and I went through flaming hoops to get her baptized after she had died. It was important then, but when I realized that no one wanted to baptize a dead, soulless child I lost faith. It seemed so hypocritical to me. I’m not going to go into all of that now but I want to make the point that not baptizing my daughter was not due to laziness, but because I saw no need for it. If she wants a relationship with God, or Allah or anyone else she will develop it on her own. I didn’t see the need to force my religion, one I wasn’t sure about, on her. So we didn’t get her baptized and this has driven her grandparents crazy.
I respect their right to believe whatever they want even if I think it is silly. I don’t know the truth so anything is possible as far as I am concerned. Generally her grandparents have been pretty tame. And since I am no longer a part of their family I don’t witness, no pun intended, them trying to save her. I trust that if they start talking in tongues that my ex removes her from the house. I don’t mind if they tell her bible stories or give her Christian music or videos, I don’t encourage their use, but I don’t make an issue of any of these things. I do have a problem when they scare the shit out of my daughter and she is terrified that the world is going to end soon and that everyone is going to die. I don’t like that I am the one who has to explain in very general terms that what she has been told is not true. I don’t want to make it sound as if I think her grandparents are liars and I do believe that they believe this story, but I think it is a bunch of hooey.
But they have the right to believe what they do and I have the right to believe that they believe a bunch of crap. As long as they don’t try to make my daughter believe these things we are all good. And I don’t know if she heard these things from her grandparents. I did ask at her school if this had been a topic of discussion, if it had we would have left right away, but it wasn’t and I didn’t think it was.
So where am I going with this? I volunteered for COLAGE this weekend. The thing is I was pegged immediately as not only straight, but also republican, and not in a good way. Both are true but I felt defensive about both of them. I don’t like that I felt uncomfortable. I’m not a bad person, I have many liberal beliefs. The thing is our political spectrum has turned into a black and white or left and right drawing rather than an actual spectrum. I suspect that because there is such extreme intolerance out there that people who are experiencing the intolerance would not surprisingly choose the other end of the spectrum. Especially if they are active in fighting the intolerance. The problem is that it is off putting for people in the middle. I also suspect that more people than not fall in between the two extremes. Unfortunately that has left the loudest of both groups shouting at one another.
When my children argue, and they do a lot, more than anything I want to stay out of it. Not only do I want them to learn to deal with each other on their own I also do not want to pick sides or show favoritism to one or the other. My kids are ten years apart so they argue about watching Blues Clues or The Simpsons. If I have to make the call we are going to watch The Simpsons and that isn’t fair to the one who wants to see Blue. I want them to learn how to compromise. But I don’t want to watch Blues Clues.
Ultimately it is ineffective to continue to yell your point of view over the guy who is yelling his point of view right back at you. There must be a better way.