Religion and Parenting: Fail

The other day my 6 year old gets home from school and sits down to have a little snack. After a few minutes he jumps up and walks over to my desk. “Mom,” he starts, “What’s Jewish? Are we Jewish? What’s Hanukkah? Can we celebrate it?”

It was the equivalent of a parental drive-by shooting, questions flying at me like bullets. I was left frozen like a deer in the headlights as he stared up at me patiently waiting for answers.

“No honey, we’re not Jewish.” He looked at me a little puzzled then said, “Well, why not? What’s being Jewish mean?”

Instantly I pictured myself accepting the award for worst parent.

I couldn’t answer him. My first instinct was equating it with us being Irish or Native American. But I know that’s not right. Then I thought well it’s not just a nationality. Then I grasped at what I thought was a good enough answer.

“Well, it’s a religion. Kind of like Christians or Catholics. But they celebrate Hanukkah instead of Christmas.”

“Oh. Well what’s religion? Do we have one?” he asked.

Oh. My. God. I am soooooo flunking the parenting & religion thing.

But I don’t blame myself. They DID NOT have this chapter in Mr. Spock’s baby book. I’m sure of it.

In my defense, my kids know EXACTLY who Mother Nature is and never go to bed without saying goodnight to Luna (the moon). Do I get spirituality points for that at least?

So how do YOU handle these questions?


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. MommitIsTired
    Dec 10, 2009 @ 23:24:06

    Well, I guess I’ll be dealing with that question soon (my guy is 4). The Dad is (shhhh) atheist; I am a Christian, but denomination-less at present. Have you explained that spirituality IS a religion? All religion really is, is a way of making sense of the world around us and things that are bigger than we are. (That’ll be the next question he asks…why????) LOL!


    • Meghan Harvey
      Dec 13, 2009 @ 03:44:23

      My daughter is 4 and has yet to come up with this question (though she has already asked where babies come from…) I totally agree with Spirituality being a religion! But at 6 it’s still hard to gauge how much he’s willing to take in and when he’s just going to gloss over and let his mind wander to something more interesting… LOL And yes the inevitable “Why?” comes at the end of almost everything these days. 🙂


  2. Trackback: The Story of Easter « Meg's Idle Chatter

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