Veal or Chicken?

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

–Proverbs 22:6

When I was a kid, much of my free time was devoted to church and church activities.  If there was an event that included my age group, I had to attend or be very ill.  My parents really took Proverbs 22:6 to heart.  And had I died by age 35, they would have been extremely successful.  But alas, things change.  Interpretations change.  Who is to say that I am not going, “the way < I > should go.”

I don’t mean to knock my upbringing.  My parents did what they thought was right and I admire them for that.  But looking back, I was force fed a steady stream of religious dogma from about age 3.  I was Assemblies of God Veal until I was 21.

Now as a parent, I am on the other side of the equation.  My son attends church with me.  He participates in the occasional church activity.  He played Christian sports.  He has had exposure to most things Christian, but by no means would his upbringing compare to either my wife’s or my own.  He has had very little exposure to other faith traditions, but he attends a very multicultural school, so I am sure it has come up.  He is more of a religious free range chicken.

Which is right, veal or chicken?  I am somewhat tormented by this question.  I by no means want to replicate my upbringing.  But how much is too much or too little?  It is one thing to risk my “eternal” soul exploring the religious landscape.  It is another thing entirely to risk someone else’s.


One comment on “Veal or Chicken?

  1. Good post. I dunno the right answer, but a good post! 🙂

    I’ve struggled with this over the years, too, although my own upbringing was somewhat different with regards to church. I guess you could say that I grew up more Rice and Beans. My folks both grew up going to church every week (Roast Beef). After they married, they moved out of state, and they never really found another church they liked, and they fell out of the habit. By the time I came along, we would go sometimes at Christmas and Easter, and when we went to visit their parents back in Missouri, so I didn’t really grow up going to church. However, the question of faith was never an issue at home: we grew up believing in God all the same, we just didn’t go to church, and my brother and I got didn’t really get any formal churching until we started going to a Bible Study with some friends in high school.

    Although my husband grew up going to church regularly, several times a week, our parenting style has been closer to my upbringing than his. We’ve tried a few times to find a church, but have never been able to find one that we both like, and so gave up. Both of our kids are extremely introverted, as well as being on the autistic spectrum, so the few times we’ve tried taking them to church and/or Sunday School have been painful for all involved. In addition, as parents, we feel that it is important for the individual child to explore and discover his beliefs, especially when it comes to religious (and political beliefs). Our kids (now teenagers) both know what our beliefs are, but also know that they have the freedom to disagree with us, and to explore other faiths to find their own paths to spirituality, with our full support and encouragement. I guess they’re getting Tofu? Since neither my husband nor I adhere to beliefs that dictate a single path to righteousness/Heaven/nirvana/what-have-you, we don’t feel that we’re risking their eternal souls.

    Of course, we might be wrong, in which case we’ll save a spot at our table in hell for them. 😉

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