Continuing the religious education of Elliot.

Okay, now there is some kind of freaky stuff going on here. This is my second attempt at resurrecting my first post about the latest in Elliot’s religious education. In my second post, I had just written about that sickening gut wrenching feeling that I know all bloggers must be familiar with.

It happens after you have extracted yourself from the comfy couch and plied yourself away from the comfort television show, and sat yourself in front of the computer and mustered up the effort to put your fingers on the keyboard and actually begin to write. You start a post with scant enthusiasm about a subject that neither grips nor exhilarates you but somehow you plough on and slowly the post takes form. You start linking here and there for added value, tweaking words, sentences, moving paragraphs and previewing the final draft several times during the editing process. It finally all comes together and you allow yourself a small smile of satisfaction (my first mistake!). Then, with one tiny accidental and split second clickity click, click of the mouse, BOOM, it’s all gone, GONE, NEVER to be recovered and there are only the first 5 words of the post remaining.

You pick yourself up from the devastation that is the loss of the finalised first post and begin again. Writing the second time about how this time I am going to write my posts in Word first, like I promised I would four posts ago and then when it’s finished copy the text into Blogger. Ironically, stupidly and unfortunately I have already written most of the second post in Blogger, so by the time I go to copy the text and transfer it in its freshly written glory to my newly opened Word document, BOOM, second post gone, LIKE THAT, never to return - only the heading remains.Very soon the heading "Continuing the religious education of Elliot" looks nothing like the post your about to begin again for the third time tonight.

Lordy, lordy, oh lordy I am going to write this post if it’s the last thing I do tonight (and given the lateness of the hour it is the last thing I do, do before brushing my teeth that is), I say, mentally shaking my fist at the screen.

Continuing Elliot’s religious education.
When school resumed this year so did Elliot’s religious education classes. Once again I said to him that he would be going unless and until he could explain to my satisfaction why it is he does not want to attend. I had to attend the same classes for many years and it wasn’t until I was 16 my mother finally wrote me the note that released me from those classes – Yippee! I don’t anticipate that Elliot will have to wait till he is 16, as my approach is entirely different to my mother’s. I do think that he should be able to articulate what it is he does not want to do and why though, and that I will not be making that decision for him.

A few things have happened since the classes began, for one he has been bringing home material with "Jesus love you" on it. Anytime we have discussed God, I have said to him that there are some people who believe in God, some people who don’t believe and then people like me, who are not sure. He has told me that he believes in God and I said that is fine and sometimes people change their mind, sometimes the believe than they don’t or they don’t believe and then they do.

He asked me about going to Church and I have always said that I would be more than happy to take him one Sunday and "How about next Sunday?" He declined. I recall OLS commenting to me on an earlier post that she had been taken by a regular church goer, I wish there was someone I knew who was a regular church goer who I could send him with too.

One day while he was having lunch he told me that he was praying and when I asked him what he was praying about he said "That I would be good at school" He then asked me to pray too, and I did. When he asked me what I prayed about I replied "That I would be a better mother." He also asked both P and I why it was we didn’t pray at dinner. I said that some people do but we chose not to give thanks, although if he wanted to do that himself it was entirely up to him and that we didn’t mind.

I guess I may have been giving him mixed messages about God and prayer. But in terms of prayer I do have mixed feelings, given
recent information about the power of prayer and it’s usefulness, not so much in terms of thanking God at dinner, but about something which is essentially the power of positive thought being focused on a particular outcome. So if my thoughts on God are "Well I am not sure" then my view on prayer is "Well it couldn’t hurt"

The other morning, Elliot asked me "how big God was?" I decided that the people coming for those religious classes could start earning their keep and I said that he should direct that question and any further God-related queries made directly to the experts as I was not. I wasn’t doing that to be facetious, because I also try and instil in him the importance of respect and tolerance of the beliefs of others. And to that end, in particular, I ask Elliot to refrain from taking God’s name in vain in front of his Great-grandmother on the basis that "She loves God and may think you are being angry at God" In front of me, it is a different story.

I know we have quite a way to go with his religious education, I hope that he will come to a position he is happy with on it one day, because what I would be happy with is to see him make up his own mind and not blindly follow mine.


At 12:49 am, Blogger Jellyfish said...

Firstly - your description of losing a blog post is SPOT ON, my friend! I too learned the hard way, and now write everything in Word first, and obsessively save, including cutting and pasting the html into word documents, as I go along. I still screw up more than I'm sure is normal however.

Secondly - a really, really interesting post. It sounds like you're handling it very even-handedly and letting him make up his own mind, which is so brilliant.

"I decided that the people coming for those religious classes could start earning their keep and I said that he should direct that question and any further God-related queries made directly to the experts as I was not." Heh - really made me laugh!

Finally - I did eventually write the post about the music. I am a terrible blogger :(

At 10:11 am, Blogger Lushlife said...

Don't sweat the small stuff Jelly, I really try not to. I read you because I love the posts you chose to do and not the posts that have been thrust upon you:) This whole religion thing is hard to teach when your still trying to work out what your own beliefs are.

At 12:29 pm, Anonymous OLS said...

I find this stuff fascinating. It is a shame that you don't have someone who can take him to church with them - I'm lucky in that I still have "churchy" friends and I know that if I have kids, they would be happy to take them with them.

But then, I don't mind going to church myself either. I find it a bit foreign (especially Catholic church), but I like the hymns.


At 10:00 pm, Anonymous Elissa said...

I find this really interesting, not only from the point of view of how to deal with the notion of faith with children when you don't believe yourself, but also the question of giving children a broad religious education. Maybe you need to find not only some church going friends, but also friends from other religions to give Elliot and insight into those as well.

We haven't dealt with this issue yet, but I know it's coming soon and this time of year is going to be the most confusing for my kids. I am Christian but don't attend church (although I still believe, in my own way), my husband is Jewish but doesn't believe in God. That means we mark the various festivals without much intervention from organised religion, but with a lot of excellent food.

I don't know how we are going to deal with it when the kids start asking what it's all for. Letting them know that some people believe in God, some don't, some don't know and some people believe in different kinds of Gods might be confusing, or it might just give them more freedom to choose for themselves.

I completely agree that it's really hard to know what to say to your children when you (I mean I) don't exactly know what I believe. Not totally.

At 7:39 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Sis, At least I get why I keep getting messages to go to church... It's as much for The El Man as for me, and after we get back from camping, I shall take him with me. Love Suga
Ps. Sorry I am reading your blog, but I really love your writing style and admire your site, and the way you look at your life ( considering I am part of it).


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