sixthfatherandsonI recently wrote a blog post on the Massachusetts Pledge of Allegiance controversy. Some of you might have been surprised that I am actually okay with the reference to God in the early morning school ritual. My kid says it at school in the morning; I said it; my parents said it too… I think of it as more of a tradition than a slap in some atheists face – kind of like Christmas (LOL)…  In my house the idea of God is open to interpretation. In a Responsive Universe the concept of God seems to transcend earthy dogma – it is the essence of instinctual consciousness, energy and wisdom. Who can refute that?

It all got me thinking about how we raise our own children and how as parents we are the Sheppard’s of our Children’s Soul.  I should probably redefine the concept of a soul as there is a lacking quality to the concept of a soul. The idea of a soul is similar to True Nature; both are sources of energy, free from ego and suffering. It is an energy we can open up to and depend on.  The soul and True Nature only parallel each other to a point. The idea of a soul falls short because of the religious trappings associated with it. In religion, souls are an energy source that can be taken away from you. For example, in Christianity, the devil can take your soul and trap you in Hell. Whatever the case, as parents we are in charge of our children’s understanding of God and the Universe. But at an early age is it even necessary?

I have an 11-year-old son who frankly does not care about god, religion or even an afterlife. Is this a tragedy? At his age fear has yet to weigh him down therefore such musings are not critical to his emotional baseline. Yes, I believe “fear of the Father” is a huge pillar that reinforces the roof of religion – Freud would agree. I do not think it is negative, I  just think my son does not think about it because such thoughts do not press on him. He lives more in the present than most.  I know of many neighborhood and even family kids that are taught that Jesus is our savior and there is no other path but his road to salvation. Any other path leads to this place called Hell. Sin or wrong doing can also send you to the fiery enclaves of Satan if you not follow proper ritual and dogma. So, in this instance fear is learned at a young age and every Sunday church reinforces this conditioning. Drive the highways of the Midwest or South and you are greeted with large bill boards loudly announcing that “JESUS IS REAL” or that HELL IS REAL!”.

….Who does that?  .. I mean seriously, who does that?

..So, I try to keep it light in our home. My son is aware of many of the world religions and we embrace them all with respect. He also knows that good conquers evil and there is this cause and effect of energy known as Karma. I do not try to explain God as the Universe but I encourage him to revel in the immensity of the Cosmos; to appreciate nature and someone else’s feelings. I have yet to talk about how an afterlife is proven by quantum mechanics.  We do not go to church, but he does not fear the unknown. Instead he lives in the present with a good heart and confidence. He actually is turning into a well-adjusted kid. I am proud…

I have made a lot of mistakes in my life but I am pretty confident I got this one right. When he is older and has more pertinent questions I will have most of the answers. As an adult he will have a white canvas free of fear and religious conditioning; a palette he can color with his own self-discovered belief systems. Until then, isn’t it great to just be a kid, free from fear and dogma? I think so….

John C. Bader

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