Religion hasn’t been something that has even entered my mind to share with my four daughters in my parenting journey.. until now. Having been raised Catholic by my parents myself, I was confirmed into the Church at the young age of 8 and attended Church every Sunday morning and mass for school whenever it was done. I did all this without much thought or really, any complaint. That was, unit, I was about 14 or 15 when I decided that enough was enough, it wasn’t for me. I decided on my own that the faith I was blindly following promoted messages and values that I didn’t agree with, and that was the end of it all for me.
My husband Cj and I have decided all along to raise our daughters as having gratitude for the things in their life, respect for others and kindness and compassion always. We decided against indoctrinating any specific religion into the minds of our daughters, and instead we wanted to expose them to a variety of religions or philosophies so they could make up their own minds about how they feel, or don’t feel.
As part of Sno’s homeschooling and unschooling journey, we are learning about other countries and their predominant religion. The last week was a focus on Japan, which led to curiosity about Buddhism and so today we visited the local Buddhist Centre on one of it’s open days and it was a really positive experience. The centre backs onto lush green bushland, wildlife aplenty. A long trail of steps led up the hill to a beautiful statue, colourful in it’s design. After perusing the gift shop filled with beautiful intricate artworks, statues, affirmations, books and decorations, Sno and I sat in on a meditation in the Gompa where there was a talk about the impermanence of uncomfortable feelings – something that really sat with both of us. We then learned about the dharma in a kids club where the discussion’s theme was contentment, we made prayer flags where we drew the things in our lives we had that we were grateful for and did walking meditation. Then we headed home.
It felt so lovely to be able to share this experience with my daughter. To be able to learn about things which stemmed from sheer curiosity, and to find something that actually connected with a lot of our own existing values.
Next time, I’ll bring along Cj and the whole tribe. But before then, Sno wants to go to a Catholic mass for a comparison. That will be interesting…