Our daughter has reached 3 now, and we are finding all of the sudden topics about death (whether someone we know or a bug on the ground) seem to be cropping into our everyday conversations. The question for every parent is what to do with such topics. I imagine many parents handle the death topic many different ways.
For me, the easiest way seemed to bring up Heaven and God, which led to discussions of Christmas, Baby Jesus, and so on. We did not realize a few weeks back that we would be tackling tough questions about religion for our daughter. Though I am sure many parents have this figured out before they even have a child, we must admit we didn't give it any thought.
So, me and the wife had several serious conversations about religion and what we wanted for our daughter. We both decided that though we both felt scarred from our own religious upbringings (mine Far Right Wing Presbyterian; hers United Methodist), we both felt we had good values that came from our religious upbringings that we would want for our daughter.
So, we have embarked on a journey to find a church we could call ours, where both moms feel comfortable, and preferably one with a good children's program that has other families like ours. Seems to be a much harder task than we would like. Can't we just join a church and be done with the search?
I should begin this discussion with saying that our daughter has liked every church program we have been to so far. But, at this age, her vote doesn't count since she is basing it on how much fun she is having or what kind of toys the churches have.
Let me run down some of the comments me and the wife have made after visiting the prospective churches:
-not Jesusy enough
-not spiritual enough
-too new age
-the organs were way too loud, they shook our bones
-you can't hear yourself sing or think over the organs
-they won't marry us here; what would we tell our daughter
-the organ is too loud (I have no idea why so many of you like your organs sooo loud)
-the sanctuary smells moldy
-the childcare situation seemed very confusing
-the congregation is mostly old people
-the rituals are so different than what I am used to
-the minister is in transition, who knows who the next one will be
-this church seems like it wants it members to become full-time members--is that what we want?
-I couldn't figure out what they were singing--the lyrics seemed horrible
I can go on-and-on about all our comments. Suffice it to say we haven't decided on a church yet. Maybe we are making too much of a big deal about it. But, on the other hand, it does seem like a marriage we are looking for (this is our daughter's future, right).
Maybe her moms are just making excuses, or maybe we need to continue our quest to find a church that feels right. Perhaps this is similar to the idea of finding the perfect mate, which often leads people on a lonely path. Both moms definitely agree we have issues from our religious histories that are impeding our decision.
Would other people dismiss a church over the organs being too loud? I don't know, but by the time we left there you would have thought we had been in Iraq experiencing PTSD. Clearly, both moms have some version of church PTSD. Our mission is to either work through that, or find some place that doesn't trigger those feelings for us.
The journey continues....