Here's the question of the day, Is it good for children to have some kind of religious training? Does having such training help them to become better people? OOps that was two questions, but you know me, I can never have just one. So... what about sending your kids to church? Do you do it?
We sent our children to a private school that was run by the church (the Catholic church). They didn't seem any worse for wear, but there were some problems with them actually learning anything. The church training, I think, did give them a bit more tolerance. None of them are overly religious today. My middle daughter had a spell of religious fervor for a short time, but has since abandoned her strict piety.
But is it the religion, the religious practices or just the social interaction that gave my children that level of tolerance? Certainly inside any church you will find a large gamut of people and levels of piety. Those that are very religious must be patient with those that are not, and visa-versa. But, is that all a church experience is to children, an exercise in social tolerance? I don't think so. I think learning about God and a religion that is based around that all powerful being, regardless of what you call him, I think that awareness and the teaching of how a specific group of people choose to worship him, is just as important as the social interaction. I don't agree with any of the strict anti-anybody rhetoric that is touted by every religion at some point, but the general idea of worship of a higher power is good for children. I think that it teaches them perspective. In today's world where so many of the latest generations believe that they are entitled to everything, it might have been good for them to realize just how small they are in the big scheme of things.
Perhaps the better question is, which religion would you teach your child? Would you go with what you were taught or find something new? I suppose that would depend upon how you feel about your own religion. is it just something that your parents dragged you too, or is it something that you at least on a small level embraced? I believe, when it comes to children, if you try to teach them something that you don't actually believe in, they will pick up on your duplicity, and they will not learn what you intend for them to learn. So does that mean if you are not religious you should not send them to church? No, I really think that maybe you should go back to church with them. I think that church is a good family style get together and anything that helps keep the family together as a unit is probably a good thing... revise that... any good thing that helps to keep the family together is a good thing.
Back to a previous comment, not all religions say something negative about someone else somewhere along the line, there is one that I know of that does not speak ill of anyone, that is the wiccans or white witches. Their mantra is "Do No Harm" and they take that really seriously. For the most part they simply want to be left in peace to worship as they like. Now I'm not a Witch, but my sister is and considering her rather rough background the change to Wicca was welcomed by everyone in her life.
So, is it good to send your children to church? Yah, I think so, if for nothing more than social interaction with people outside of school. Face it, in school children really run rampant. They have very little social direction while in school. It's not the teacher's job to teach the children social skills or to interfere in the social groups that your children engage in. That is the job of the parents. So if you take your children to church where their social interaction is controlled and challenged, that's a good thing. There is no acting out in church. There is no whispering and texting and disrespect of elders in church. Children must learn that there is a time and place for their anti-social behavior. It's normal for children to be a bit anti-social with adults. It's okay. But they need to learn that it is not okay to just arbitrarily be disrespectful to people and I think that church is one of those places that they learn respect.
Did I send my children to church? You bet I did. Did it help them? Absolutely. Were they still brats and anti-social little whelps. Yes they were. But, when we put our foot down and told them to stop, they did. I think that they learned part of their respect from church. The rest they got from us, we had to be worthy of their respect. If I were to do it again I think that I would take them to different churches and get more input from them about where they might like to go. After all God is everywhere.
Live well and be good to each other.