I’m going to be a terrible grandma if I’m ever caught having to explain any religious issues to the kidlets. Their mom started taking them to Sunday School a while back. One night they were in the back seat of the car after we’d all been to dinner together. Daddy commented on the full moon. Mom started explaining about it. The science got a little complicated. Mom finally punted:
“You should talk to Father So-and-So about that.” (What!? I thought they went to one of those giant nondenominational churches. Some yahoo there wants to be called “Father”!!??)
“Mom, why do I have to call him ‘Father’? He’s not my father.” (Go kid, go!)
“Because he’s a priest. We call priests ‘Father.'” (Not if they aren’t ordained Catholics or Episcopalians, we don’t.)
“But why? He’s not my father! I’m not going to call him that! Daddy’s my father!” (Yay, kid! Stick to your guns!)
All I could do was keep my lip zipped. He’s only 6. His sister’s only 3. This zipped-lip thing is going to get mighty old before they’re grown.
Then, last night, in a conversation with my son, the truth came out. It’s a Catholic church, and he’s going to take some kind of class to find out more about it and what the wife and kids are into. (Noooo!)
I’ve written before that I was raised Presbyterian — very Presbyterian. Along the way I even heard stories about a grandmother who actually crossed the street to avoid Catholics. All of it struck me as silly and irrelevant, and I decided Catholics were particularly silly to let some out-of-touch old man in Rome tell them how to run their lives.
My son is old enough to make his own decisions. So is my daughter-in-law. And I think kids should be exposed to religion at an early age, to balance what they learn elsewhere, until they are old enough to make their own decisions. It just makes me very sad to think of my grandkids having to confess “sins” and being frightened into worrying about hell, eternal damnation, etc.
This grandmother thing is going to be a lot tougher than I thought.