How to raise a child to have Faith, when you have none yourself?

That’s the question asked in today’s New York Times.

I had been potential prey for a religious organization, in part, because I had no faith of my own. As an adult, still with no faith, I long for it – yet as an adult it can be so much harder to find. Children don’t intellectualize everything; they’re willing to take a leap of faith (pun intended), whereas my inner checklist starts crossing off potential belief systems based on various principles or doctrine that I simply can’t force myself to align with. Yet when I cut through our neighborhood church to get from one side of the street to the other, I envy the women kneeling alone praying in the resounding quiet. And when I see the groups of happy families filing out after Sunday baptisms, I feel a little pinch in my heart.

I want Nina to have that, not just as an inoculation against those who would prey on her, but also for the comforts and the bonds that faith seems to bring. I’m still not sure what faith that will be, but I’m ready to start exploring. I figure we can explore together. In a best-case scenario we’ll find something that both enlightens us individually and brings us closer as mother and daughter. Worst-case scenario, we jettison it for something else or nothing at all.

I know there’s an equally compelling case to be made for just letting your child come to religion naturally, to wait for them to start asking questions and then talk with them about options and let them choose their own path. But, in my case, that didn’t work. And now as an adult, I find myself often coming back to song lyrics by Conor Oberst: “Why are you afraid to dream of God, when it’s salvation that you want?” I don’t want to be afraid to dream anymore, not for myself or for my daughter.

Read the whole thing at the link above.

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