The Story of Easter

Our Backyard Tree in the Dead of Winter

I’ve written before about how I’m not big on the whole structured religion thing and as my children get older I ponder how I should go about dealing with the topic of religion. Today was Easter, which of course brought the whole religious thing into question, again. So how do I explain Easter? I mean truthfully Easter originally is a Pagan holiday (Eoster) which (like Christmas) got painted with the Christianity wand. So what do I tell them?

Well I opted for a simpler tale of rebirth. Outside we have a huge tree that shades half of our backyard in the summer. It’s one of the most gorgeous trees I’ve ever seen. During the winter the tree has been bare but in recent weeks it’s slowly began springing back to life with tons of bright green leaves. Also in our backyard are the sprouts in both our vegetable garden and flower garden. There are coming to life as well and slowly growing into the full rich colorful gardens they will be throughout the summer.

So instead of trying to explain the story of the Resurrection I took my kids outside. We looked at the beautiful tree that had been dead all winter and examined all the signs that it was indeed coming back to life. That, I told my kids, was what Easter was about. The changing of the season. When the cold harsh winter moves away and all that was asleep or dead comes back to life again.

I think by giving my kids a good spiritual base that is more about nature and just the life force that flows in and out of all of us, I’m giving them a strong foundation to help them as they grow older to seek the path that works for them.

Or maybe I just don’t feel like going to church.

So if you’re not exactly overly religious, or not religious at all, do you make any attempts at trying to explain holidays like Easter? Or do you just let them thing the whole thing is Easter Bunnies and chocolate eggs?

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?