In late 2013, early 2014, I guilted Chris into getting baptized. I told him that people whom aren’t baptized, go to hell. Being the “good christian” that I was then, I wanted/needed to save my baby from going to hell. At the time, I thought It was very important, that Chris grow up knowing the lord, and all that he can and will do for you, if you just pray and have faith. Although I have not led the most “righteous” life, I was turning over my life to christ. I rededicated my life to all things lord. I went up during the church’s invitation call; attended all four classes; officially joined the church; faithfully attended church, with Chris in tote; prayed throughout the day; read my bible; made and hung around like-minded people; faithfully tithed. I rededicated my life to christ, because I felt this was the answer to all of my problems. I was about to graduate with my Bachelors; I had a decent job; everything just seemed to be looking up for me. I was very optimistic about my life, and the direction it was headed. I tried to instill this same message into Chris, but like many children, he was not interested. So I told/convinced him that if he doesn’t get baptized, he will go to hell! Point. Blank. Period. If he was to be baptized, when he comitted a sin, all he had to do is confess his sins; repent, and all sins will be forgiven. I scared him enough to where he thought he would really go to hell, if he wasn’t baptized.
So today I sit here, thinking how stupid it was for me to do this to him. I was never the type of parent, who told my son about santa, or the easter bunny, or the tooth fairy. I just never spoke about these mythical creatures at all. I decided that I would let Chris come to his own idea/opinion/conclusion about them. I was/am the type of mother that believes that children should be able to practice individuality; should be free to roam and explore; figure things out for themselves. I believe that the reason Chris is the good boy he is today, because I let him make his own decisions; be his own person. So why did I feel the need to force this baptism on him? What was it inside of me, that felt the need to make him do this? What was I really saying to my child?
Around mid 2014, after Chris was baptized, we were talking and he dropped a bombshell on me. He told me that he believed in evolution, and the big bang theory. Honestly at the time, I really did not pay too much attention to it. He spoke to me in length, about the theory, and how cool he thought it was. And I just listened, and let him speak. The only question I asked him, was; “if people came from monkeys and apes, why do monkeys and apes still exist? (This is the proverbial question most people whom believe in christ ask). His response was; “that’s easy! Not all monkeys and apes evolved.” Just like that! He, nor I mentioned it again. By this time, I had given up on church; seeing that no matter how much I prayed, attended church; tithed; bible studied, etc. I was still poor and broke with 3 specialized degrees, in “lucrative” fields.
Fast forward to December 2015, Chris, one of my younger brother’ and myself went out to lunch. Chris and his uncle were speaking, and he mentioned the evolution theory to my brother. Well my brother went back and told my parents, and my dad had a serious issue with this. As Chris and my father debated (really argued), over the facts of evolution and God, I sat there listening, and was very surprised at Chris. Not because of what he was telling my father, but the fact that he held his own, conversing with an adult. He was very mannerable and respectful towards his grandfather; but he also made sure he got his point across. At that point, I realized that Chris really is an individual, and not just a child who needs to be governed. When we become a certain age, we don’t want our parents trying to control us anymore. We all want freedom to believe and think what we want. So why do we try to make our children, believe what we believe? I understand that as a parent, we will always want what’s best for our children, but at what cost? Is telling our children, that there’s a man in the sky, who can see everything that you do; knows all that you do; will punish you for being human, the right thing to do, or is it a scare tactic to make our children behave. For the majority of Chris’ life, I did not go near a church; up until that one time, I never had to threaten Chris to be a good boy; he just was. So a few weeks ago when he told me, he does not believe in God, what could I say? People are allowed to believe what they want to believe; this does not exclude children. So the next time your child tries to share something with you, please don’t force your opinions, ideologies and beliefs down their throats; you just may be pushing them away!