Monday, October 4, 2010

On a lighter note... Kids and religion, or "Kids Say the Darnedest Things"

Life goes on, despite the way our lives have been turned upside down by knowing anything could happen at this point (see my last post). Things continue to be silly, fun, crazy, and upsetting, in turns.
This post is about something on the lighthearted side of things.

I know I'm not the only one who's wanted to curl up in a little ball and disappear when one hears the things their foster child says to their (birth/first) family about what the foster family has told him or taught him. Or even just implying they've been taught something that goes against what their birth/first family did or believed. Here is a recent favorite. On the phone the other day, Big Guy said:

"Mom, I don't believe Jesus is the son of G-d. It doesn't make any sense."

I wanted to die. Oy vey, just what we need... Now mom is going to think we are brainwashing him with our heathen Jewish ways! He was on speaker phone with mom, as always, so I tried to steer the conversation in a direction that would make it clear that we were encouraging him to think for himself. Mom didn't seem upset, she half-heartedly tried to argue but she didn't understand Christian theology clearly enough to really accurately portray what Christians "should" believe. I don't think she was upset at all, but she told him he should go to church where he can learn about Jesus. Big Guy has never asked to go to church, so we've never taken him.

The truth is when we've been asked we have been very honest with Big Guy about what we believe, which is that Jesus was a real man and probably a very good man but was not the son of G-d any more than we all are. We've also told him it is totally fine for him to believe differently, and we've patiently and without bias (to the extent possible) explained what Jews believe and what Christians believe (and even a little about Muslims and Buddhists lately). He's asked if he can be Jewish and we've told him he can't make that decision until he's older. We've asked him about his experiences going to church and sometimes even turned the TV onto the gospel channel for him. We've taken him to synagogue only for festivities, never for religious services... though we could if we wanted, if he consented (he just does not have the patience to sit through hours of chanting in a language he can't understand so I'd never do that to him). He takes part in rituals in our home as much as he wants, but there is never any pressure whatsoever. We will take him to the home of Catholic family members for Christmas and Santa will deliver his gifts there. We will also give him gifts for Chanukah, so he'll be one spoiled little boy in the month of December!

One thing I live about Big Guy is he has many big, deep, theological discussions with us. He has a lot of thoughts about life and death and G-d and religion. Lots of questions, too. Sometimes when we talk about religion and spirituality, I just shake my head at the "low IQ" designation he was given.

Other embarrassing moments have been when Big Guy tells mom that she does things wrong because we do things differently. We are very careful not to say she did things wrong when we explain to Big Guy why our rules or customs are different, but it still gets portrayed that way when he speaks to her sometimes. I remember the first such instance was when he said "Why did you give me Haw@iian Punch? It's poisonous!" because I had explained that we don't give kids "juice" that has food coloring in it because we think artificial food colorings are dangerous chemicals for kids if they consume too much of them.

Do you have any stories like this? Please share, and give me something to laugh about!


  1. Sabrina's grandma (a very faith-full Christian) has been taking her to church. I don't remember if I blogged earlier in the school year about when I praised Sabrina for her good behavior and she told me it was because "G-d is in my heart." But with all the chagim (Friday morning she asked "why are there SO MANY holidays?") she's had a lot more question about what it means to be Jewish. So I told her that I believe in G-d, just like Christians do, but that I don't believe that Jesus was G-d's son. To which she replied "I don't either." I had the same "oy vey" reaction as you. At least Sabrina wasn't on the phone with her family at the time!

  2. The chagim were SO hard, yet we got through them really well. I feel so proud of myself for masterfully coordinating babysitters, transportation, time with my parents (who aren't religious), mentor time, etc. so that he was able to eat most meals with us at friends' houses but still go to school (for sukkos, not for RH because school's closed then). We stayed with family in another town except for the first days of sukkos, and yet we managed to make things work. Not only that but his behavior was THE BEST when we were staying with family. Crazy. I am just so glad it's over, and we've made a commitment that we WILL move to the town where there's an eruv and most of our friends live by Pesach because I'm not going through another 3-day yuntif at home (or having to beg people to eat meals at their house because we are staying with family who isn't kosher). Glad we're not the only ones dealing with this! What are your Christmas plans? Are you putting up Halloween decorations or taking her trick-or-treating? My partner and I are having disagreements about Halloween stuff.

  3. BTW someone told me taht we'll have 3-day yuntifs for several of the next years. If that's true, shoot me now

  4. Not so funny - but sort of funny. Mine asked me if she was going to Hell. I told her that I couldn't be sure...I needed more information. I went on to ask if there was something in particular she was worried about. After a little prodding, she finally told me that she thought she might be going to Hell for trying to push me down the stairs (you mean she MEANT to do that?!?) Turns out her former foster mom told her that she was going to Hell, so she was pretty sure that she was already going before the shove.

  5. My little guy - when we get to the end of Humpty Dumpty, he always tacks on "ONLY GOD". As in, all of the King's horses couldn't put him back together again, but God could. Very cute.

  6. And finally, not something said, but something funny occurred. My middle child was in the middle of a rage when we heard a knock at the door. Seriously. The Jehovah's. Thankful for the distraction, I invited them in. They seemed really interested in helping my child calm down. So I let them. I sat down with a lemonade and took a break. Dangerous - since we're a two mom family - but I couldn't help myself. I really, really needed a break.


Abusive or disrespectful comments and spam/advertising comments will be deleted.