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Tell Me About It | by Carolyn Hax

Try to ignore mother's pleas for child to get religion

Try your best to ignore mom's pleas for child to get religion

Q: My mother is very religious. Very, very religious. Very, very, very religious. I drifted from the church in high school and have no desire to find my way back and she knows this. When we get together for the holidays, the prayer before the meal usually includes a word or 15 about my finding my way back to church.

When my son was born, my mother assumed there would be a baptism, despite the fact that my wife and I don't attend church. (Yeah, I'm not sure how she thought that was going to happen, either.) When I told my sister there wouldn't be, she responded melodramatically "That's going to kill Mom. KILL HER."

Eight years later, we still haven't baptized our son and Mom is still alive and kicking. That said, she still insists on sending us Purpose-Driven Life-ish books on occasion. Recently, Mom sent mean e-mail containing a Bible verse she intended for me to read to my son. (That's not going to happen.)

Asking Mom to stop and reminding her of my choice to raise our son to be agnostic (not atheist) results in crying, wailing and begging/pleading/nagging for me to go to church. Is ignoring her entreaties to come to Jesus really my only option here?

Secular Son

A: She's not going to stop. Presumably she feels she has a duty not to stop. So, yes, I think ignoring her entreaties really is the only option, since the alternatives are capitulation, which apparently isn't happening, or estrangement, which neither of you seems to want. That's promising, at least. And "occasional" mailed entreaties are at least a nuisance you can cope with in private.

For what it's worth, when any literature speaks to values you'd like to teach your son, I don't see the harm in reading it. No need to throw everything out with the organized-religion bathwater.

Speaking of: I don't suppose you've gotten anywhere with an assurance that you aren't rejecting faith or spirituality, but instead the organized practice of it? I know, I know, but I had to put it out there.

Advice

Try to ignore mother's pleas for child to get religion

06/12/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 1, 2010 11:18am]
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