Spirituality is a choice.“Mom, I want to learn about other religions.” If you have children chances are at some point in your child’s life, you will hear these words. I have an 8-year-old daughter and all ready she is becoming aware of spirituality. As a Pagan mother, I encourage free thought.
How many readers grew up in a Christian home, Buddhist home, or Pagan home? Why is any home considered one specific religion? My answer is it does not have to be. I believe religion is a choice, not a birthright. The only exception being Jewish members, which are considered an ethnic group.
When a person chooses what their faith should be they inevitably become spiritually stronger. The choice strengthens character and encourages children to believe in their own choices. Peer pressure is a major issue in schools. Presenting your child with a choice teaches them that they do not have to give in to what society demands as normal. To become a free thinker and allowing your child to think outside of the box will prepare them for future hardships and build a stronger, more independent nature.
So what do you do when your child asks you about other religions? Should you limit what religions your child should learn? These are two very important questions you have to ask yourself. When you allow your child to research what they are interested in, study with them. Learning does not mean they will automatically believe. It simply provides a different point of view from what they have learned previously. Knowledge of different cultures and thoughts will help them relate to people throughout their lifetime. This will serve them well personally as well as professionally. If you learn with them, it provides a bond with your child as well as increases your awareness of other spiritual thoughts. You are also there to explain what you believe and provide moral support and guidance.
When your child finally decides on what to believe, support their decision. One of the major mistakes a parent can make is condemn a child’s choice because it is not your own. You may be afraid for your child’s soul. However, I guarantee you will alienate your child if you are judgmental about their faith. The best you can do is lead by example. Actions will always teach better than words. Their choice will lead to a firmer belief in their faith. How many people do you know claim a religion yet cannot tell you scripture or doctrine? How many people do you know that say they are a certain faith yet do not really live it? When we research and choose what to believe we retain more information. When there is a choice, faith becomes a way of life- not just a label.