This post was a request from one of our readers and it is an EXCELLENT topic. Here is what we have to say about it….
First, a little back story to better understand our point of view:
Papa Bird was raised in a Religious environment with strong Christian influences from his immediate and extended family. It was common practice for him to attend Sunday school when he was young and church services once he was older. Papa Bird also attended a Private Christian School for all of his K-12 education. Alongside with the external influences, religion was a big part of home life (praying prior to eating, devotions, and overall respect for the presence of God in the home).
Mama Bird on the other hand is almost as far left field as you can be in terms of religion. Having not grown up in a religious home, or been surrounded externally by religious influences, her idea of religion is quite foreign to that of Papa Bird’s.
Fast-forward to the present day...
Technically based on our upbringings, this makes us an inter-faith couple. However, although Papa Bird still believes in God, he is a non-practicing Christian, and has been since he was 18. As for me (Mama Bird), I am still a non-believer but I support Papa Bird with his individual beliefs as he does mine.
How do we have a functioning household if we each have different religious beliefs (or lack there of)?
1. Religion is an open table conversation ALWAYS.
Regardless of our individual beliefs, we have an open table conversation policy when it comes to discussing beliefs. That means, we openly discuss EVERYTHING regardless of content, topic, or religious bearing. There is never any judgement on either side, but rather a “seek to understand” motive.
2. Religion doesn’t define us, our decided on Morales and values do.
We DO NOT operate our day to day from a religious standpoint. However, we openly talk about our Morales and values and have drafted our own, specific to our relationship, guide to follow. You do not have to be religious to be a good person, have a good marriage, or genuinely respect others.
How do you bring a baby into this?
Due to Papa Bird’s religious upbringing, majority of our friends are religious and have raised their kids in a religious setting. THIS IS TOTALLY FINE. But, like with everything else, we are different and aren’t afraid to be different and have jointly decided to raise our little Baby Bird in a non-religious home.
How do you decide:
Have the conversation before you have the baby.
Before you even decide to get pregnant, discuss with your significant other each of your beliefs on raising children in a religious home. If you both have the same beliefs, then maybe you will want to bring your child up with said beliefs. If you have different beliefs, TALK ABOUT IT OPENLY. No filters. Honestly is absolutely key. NOTE: There is no right or wrong here. Religion can provide a great morale foundation for your family. It also encompasses a huge community which can be really great when raising kids. NOTE#2: This conversation should be just between you and your significant other. Often influences from friends and family can unrealistically weigh your decision. Also you and your significant other are the PRIMARY providers for your little peanut - meaning come to a decision that the two of you live by, otherwise it will be confusing for your little one.
Our decision was based solely on the Morales and values we have set up as a family. We decided not to raise Baby Bird in a religious home for the following reasons:
- We feel as though religion, like everything else, is a choice and should be a choice. As we have different religious beliefs, we wanted to allow Baby Bird the opportunity to choose her own beliefs. This does not mean we will shelter her from religion but it does mean we will not baptize her, nor will we force our religious beliefs upon her.
- Religion does not make you a good person. Having an understanding of respect for others and the ability to genuinely care for people, does. THIS IS SOMETHING YOU HAVE TO TEACH TO YOUR CHILDREN. It is not engrained in religious beliefs. We feel we are fully capable and motivated to teach Baby Bird the skill of being a good human being without religious influence.
- Religion is purely a group of individuals with like minded beliefs. This can be simplified on a smaller scale to the walls of your home. Our beliefs are ones we jointly discussed and decided on and they are the foundation of our marriage, our home and our family as a whole. Just because we are choosing not to raise Baby Bird in a religious home does not mean we have plans to drop the ball in the parenting department. We have high expectations that we ourselves strive to live up to, and that encompasses our Baby Bird as well.
In conclusion, there is no right or wrong way. If you raise your child on the joint beliefs of you and your significant other, whether that includes religion or not, you will be making the right choice.
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- Mama and Papa Bird