How Parenting Effects Faith
Does Religion Grow With You?
I grew up in an Irish Catholic home. By Irish Catholic, I mean that my father was an Irish Catholic, my mother was an Italian Catholic, and I ended up in Catholicism classes. We never went to church, I never attended Catholic school. All I had to do was make my Sacraments, and I could be done with the whole thing. I found the whole thing tedious and I just couldn't accept what I was being taught. I had a lot of questions, and the Church never had any answers. How could an infallible God create people, only to hate them? If God never made any mistakes, how could certain people be mistakes? If there were no mistakes, then that means God created the people in the world we decide are evil right? I would get in trouble for asking questions, and mocked because I wasn't supposed to ask questions. I remember getting in trouble once for drawing an angel with a face, and angels weren't supposed to have faces. (I drew my Grandmother whom I had never met before as an angel watching over me. Apparently that was awful of me. I had to confess it the next class when we went to confession.)
Eventually, I mocked the whole process. I resisted, but went along up until my confirmation for no other reason than I was told I had to by my parents. I would ask why, and they would say "because we need religion." And that was the end of the argument. I was dutiful and did everything I was supposed to. I swore off the religion, promising that I would never ever go back to the church because I didn't believe in a thing they said or the things they preached. It didn't stand too long, the next year I ended up a parent.
After 6 months debating the subject, I decided to Baptize my first born. I didn't have a particular want to do it, but it meant a lot to the grandparents so I did. After convincing the church I had every intention of marrying the child's father, they reluctantly allowed me to Baptize my little "sin". I swore after that, my son wouldn't ever go back to a church where they didn't accept him. Again, this didn't stand. To this day, my son has made his First Communion and continues to attend his Catholicism classes. When he asked why, I told him that if I had to do it, he had to do it. I laughed, joking that this is the only reason that the Catholic Church still exists, because the parents had to suffer they make their children suffer. Eventually it sticks and some stay.
This changed the minute I heard that my baby needed surgery. I was adamant that my baby was going to be Baptized and soon. Anytime people would look at me with eyes of "I don't understand what Hypospadias is, but I'm sorry your son needs surgery". I cringe anytime they mention when he's "getting fixed". He's not getting fixed, he just needs a slight repair. I searched out where the chapel in the hospital was in reference to the pediatric surgery wing. I know the surgery is "minor", but anything can happen. Religion, something I laughed at and didn't believe in, was now something that I've decided to look at. I've even tried to find a token, some religious something for my son to help him through the recovery.
It's a comfort thing. I don't think I believe in it, I don't think I would go to church. I won't make a bargain to any God in hopes a prayer is answered. But the idea of it, the idea of someone out there watching over my son while he's under the knife, is somehow more comforting than a surgeon telling me "don't worry, I do this all the time". It's hard to place a finger on it, and I can't begin to explain it. I suppose this is the difference between an Atheist and an Agnostic. I'm not sure I'll ever have a place for religion, but I certainly have a place for spirituality. Maybe as we get older, we find more of an appreciate or more of a need to have religion in our lives. Maybe we only need it during hard times and when we get through it, we forget. Maybe religion is as comforting to some as a bowl of ice cream is to others. It's not my place to answer any of those questions. What I do know, is that at a time like this, I need something to look to in order to help me.