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Fishing for Religion

Having a child makes you want to do everything the RIGHT way. I remember preparing like a New Year's Resolution for all of the good changes we were going to make after Caroline's birth: no more watching TV; no more swearing (I know- good bye F-bomb); no more fighting; eat more vegetables; drink more water; go to sleep earlier. Caroline was going to make us better people. It was just that easy.

Being the perfect role model for your child is a daunting responsibility. It's also impossible. We have learned to fudge some of our perfect parenting. Watch a little bit of TV until the baby figures out that TV exists; remind each other to stop swearing and drop as many F-bombs as you can on the car ride from work to daycare; discuss don't argue; sneak veggies onto pizza; drink a glass of water for every cup of coffee; at least sleeping on the couch is better than staying up late. We're on our way to being better.

F-bombs and veggies aside, our biggest role model decision is about religion. To be religious or not be religious: that is the question. I do not have an answer or a story, just questions. Can you share a religion with your child when you question its truths? Is it better to pick a church and then let your child decide whether she will continue with it into adulthood? Are you a "faker" if you join a church after slacking on going to one for years?

I like to think of myself as an "ethnic Catholic" because the rituals of Catholicism are ingrained in my upbringing. I find comfort in the memory of being religious but I'm not sure what the religion means to me anymore. I may also be a "cafeteria Catholic" because I want to pick and choose what I believe in, those ideas which best fit my lifestyle. Maybe I choose a scoop of Catholicism for the entree and a dallop of Buddhism for dessert and drink it all down via Quakerism. How do I explain that to a two year old?


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