I was raised in a sheltered Christian home. No secular music, no trick or treating, my parents boycotted Disney when I was in grade school, you get the picture. Jesus was my best friend throughout my entire childhood and adolescence. (I went to four different schools and three different churches by the time I was in middle school. So it made sense for me to hold fast to something constant in a time of disconnect).
Now I am a mother. I am looking back at my childhood and how radically my beliefs have changed since I was a little girl. I gave birth to Lizzie when I was almost 23 years old. I was still forming my beliefs, searching, learning.
There is something children do. As they increase in years, they begin to ask questions. You find yourself teaching them lessons about morals. You are faced with the difficult questions you managed to evade in your youth.
As a teen, I was able to hide myself away in a cocoon of Christianity. I only listened to Christian music, didn’t watch rated R movies, and spent more time at church youth group than out with friends.
Whether that cocoon kept me safe or merely separated me from reality, is up for debate. But that debate is something I am facing every day with my growing children. Do I continue to shelter them as I was sheltered?
This is the part of the story where I tell you that infancy is the easiest part of motherhood. These moral conundrums daunt me, after all it shapes and forms the person my child will become.
I am not writing this seeking your advice. I am venting, sorting through my emotions and wondering if other parents are experiencing the same struggle.
One thing I have come to terms with is this very real fact: I do not know everything.
I search. I ask questions. I form opinions based on my interpretation of the facts. Isn’t that how we all live? But the one quote I am teaching my children in the midst of all the other virtues, is this:
One night, as we read a book about dinosaurs, they asked more questions. Like which dinosaurs did Noah have on the ark? I looked them both in the eyes and made sure they heard me. “Please, promise me you will keep asking hard questions. That is what scientists do!” We discussed time and the age of the earth and how some people believe God created the world in 7 days and other scientists believe he took a few millennia.
I never quite knew how much of an ambivalent person I was until I had children and had to answer their questions. “Mommy, what do you think about this?” Good question my love. I really should have an answer.