Daddy, why aren’t you coming?
It’s a few months now since I walked away from the church, and it’s generally been quite an easy time. I’ve found that I’m more relaxed at weekends, because I’m not dreading Sunday mornings, and we’ve settled into a routine that works pretty well. But my boys aren’t prepared to make it all that easy.
Initially, they didn’t seem to be bothered that I was staying at home when they went to church, and for quite a while, they were surprisingly unquestioning of it. That suited me, as I wasn’t really sure how I wanted to explain it to them. That changed recently. First it was “Daddy, are you coming to church this week?” Then it was “You never come with us any more!” Finally, it was “Please come with us, please!” I couldn’t put it off any longer.
Explaining things like this to small children is hard enough, even if I didn’t want to avoid criticising their entire family’s beliefs. I don’t want to be the bad guy, and I certainly don’t want to mane my sons into any sort of battleground, so there’s no question of telling them (or even implying) that I think they’re being taught a load of rubbish.
I settled for saying that it was complicated, but that I was unhappy because the people who run the church aren’t being very kind to some people, while making it clear that these are people we don’t know, and the actual local church are lovely. I was very careful to emphasise that, because I had visions of son#1 marching up to the vicar and telling him in a very loud voice not to be so nasty to people.
I’m sure I’ll have to explain it all again in different forms as they grow up and want more detail, and each time I’ll have to find a suitable way of honestly addressing the situation without causing trouble or telling them what to think. Still, that’s all part of the territory – I have the same problem with Santa.
Photo by lincoln-log, used under Creative Commons Generic Attribution License 2.0