My parents want to take my daughter to Sunday School
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07-10-2011, 02:30 AM
My parents want to take my daughter to Sunday School
I would like to hear some other peoples experiences with this sort of thing please.

My Mom knows I'm an atheist, and she just asked me if she could bring my (almost 3) 2 year old daughter with her to church every Sunday for Sunday school. On one hand I think that the interaction with all those kids would be really good for her, but on the other hand I'm extremely against indoctrination. At the end of the day, she's my child and I'm going to decide what I think is best for her, but I would love to hear anyone's opinion on this matter.

As far as I know, Sunday school for a toddler is basically hearing a quick bible story, singing some songs, making some sort of craft that has to do with the story and then playing with the other kids and having a snack. So its not like she'll be terribly indoctrinated at such an early age, and once she gets into some sort of real school at age 4 or 5 I will likely not see any point in having her continue at any Sunday school. And yes I know that there are alternatives to Sunday School if I want her to interact with kids her age, but if we could just focus on this actual question that would be amazing, thanks in advance for your opinions or stories.

TL: DR, is Sunday school for my 2-3 year old a good idea? I want my daughter to make some friends, but don't want indoctrination

-Tim

I'm heading to bed, will respond in the morning
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07-10-2011, 03:46 AM
RE: My parents want to take my daughter to Sunday School
It all starts with Sunday school and young kids...

There is always kindergarten, or something similar, with no religions involved, where your child can actually learn something, like drawing with paints, playing with other kids... Do you think she will be playing with kids in church, or listening to BS? She can sing in kindergarten as well, only not religious songs. Don't fall for this BS, it is your kid and we all know how church (any) likes to play with young minds and plant the seed of darkness while they are young.

Be careful.

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07-10-2011, 04:26 AM
RE: My parents want to take my daughter to Sunday School
I agree with Filox.

Most indoctrination/brainwashing starts with low key seemingly harmless activities for very young children. Stuff like Sunday school which, to an adult, seems completely harmless can actually have a far stronger effect than we think.

Also, I personally think it's dangerous for very young children to ever hear of religion as though the stories are plausible. Children will believe things that are completely implausible if told they are true (think Santa). If they are told religion is plausible (or even spend time in an environment where it is treated as plausible) then they can easily start to believe it. And children can struggle to let go of that belief.

Think back to when you were a child, the first time other kids started saying Santa wasn't real, most kids don't want to stop believing in Santa, they will do anything to cling to the belief until the point that they cannot believe anymore (I even told other kids I'd seen the sleigh fly past as I subconsciously struggled to let go). Imagine the effect if Santa was replaced by God. With Santa the child reaches a point that they have to stop believing because they realise that the whole world is telling them it's untrue. With God they will ALWAYS have people there to tell them God is real, especially if many of their early friends are made through church. That means that there is a serious risk that they will never let go of that belief.

Obviously it's completely your decision but, like Filox said, be careful.

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07-10-2011, 06:22 AM
RE: My parents want to take my daughter to Sunday School
(07-10-2011 02:30 AM)tjv323 Wrote:  I would like to hear some other peoples experiences with this sort of thing please.

My Mom knows I'm an atheist, and she just asked me if she could bring my (almost 3) 2 year old daughter with her to church every Sunday for Sunday school. On one hand I think that the interaction with all those kids would be really good for her, but on the other hand I'm extremely against indoctrination. At the end of the day, she's my child and I'm going to decide what I think is best for her, but I would love to hear anyone's opinion on this matter.

As far as I know, Sunday school for a toddler is basically hearing a quick bible story, singing some songs, making some sort of craft that has to do with the story and then playing with the other kids and having a snack. So its not like she'll be terribly indoctrinated at such an early age, and once she gets into some sort of real school at age 4 or 5 I will likely not see any point in having her continue at any Sunday school. And yes I know that there are alternatives to Sunday School if I want her to interact with kids her age, but if we could just focus on this actual question that would be amazing, thanks in advance for your opinions or stories.

TL: DR, is Sunday school for my 2-3 year old a good idea? I want my daughter to make some friends, but don't want indoctrination

-Tim

I'm heading to bed, will respond in the morning

The church wants to continue recieving money for the next two thousand years, so it's always best to start indoctrination young. (said with eyes rolling)

Until she is of an age to reason, going to Sunday school will only confuse her. Daddy tells me there is no god, but the teacher tells me there is one. You also need to ask yourself if your relationship with your Mom will become strained.

I believe that every older child should have some experience with religion in order to decide what is best for themselves.

I am a atheist parent of two teens. I raised them children to be free thinkers, one is an agnostic and the other is an atheist. I allowed my kids to go to churches with different family members when they were over the age of 10. They went twice to a catholic church, once to a protestant and once to jewish temple. They listened and decided it was shite.

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07-10-2011, 06:49 AM
RE: My parents want to take my daughter to Sunday School
I was raised Jewish and I actually send my kids to Hebrew school on Sunday mornings because it is important to my parents. My parents both made a lot of sacrifices for my sister and I and even as an adult I can always count on them. My wife just finished her Masters and part of the reason she was able to do it was because my parents would help out with the kids. When I was on the road and my wife had early classes, my mom would sleep over our house to get the kids to school. When my wife and I struggled to get home at night, one of my parents would get my sons off the school bus, make them dinner, make sure homework was done, etc. So, for me personally, not disappointing the two people who have always been there for me was important enough that I did this without really being pushed.

I should point out that my parents are not religious and they are both probably more "cultural Jews" than observant religious Jews. But, to them, and especially my mother, it is important her grandchildren grow up knowing who they are and where they came from, regardless of what they believe about god. So, I give them that. Ultimately, my children will be more of a reflection of what I teach them then anything else. Kids tend to find their own way. Sometimes that way is exactly what their parents want but not always.

In answer to your question, I think you need to decide what battle you want to pick and how it may impact your relationship with your mom. I made a decision that was best for me and I'm comfortable with it. What I did may not be best for you, obviously, but I thought this perspective may give you another angle to look at it from.

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07-10-2011, 06:58 AM
RE: My parents want to take my daughter to Sunday School
NO.
"but..."
NO.

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07-10-2011, 07:09 AM
RE: My parents want to take my daughter to Sunday School
Hey, TJV.

I did Sunday school and despite the warnings of the sky is falling set, I never even came close to being religious. I was in the choir and my grandfather (beautiful man, may he rest in peace) taught Sunday school. Bollocks to this religious indoctrination bullshit. For me it's about as meaningful as the gays will make your kids gay.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with exposing kids to multiple cultures. Kids are not retarded and they won't get confused. More to the point, kids don't do and believe at 20 what they do and believe at 2. But while exposing kids to many different ways of life poses no threat, sheltering them does.

If you're afraid that your kids will be abused by some doomsday far right wacknut sect a la Jesus Camp, then of course don't expose your child to abuse. And yes, some people think that any religious teaching is tantamount to child abuse, but they are what we in the industry like to refer to as wrong. If there's no fear of child abuse then there's nothing to fear. Your mom won't let anyone bite your daughter.

If you're dead set against it, then don't do it. But don't avoid it out of fear.

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07-10-2011, 08:48 AM
RE: My parents want to take my daughter to Sunday School
I'm in agreement with Ghost and BnW. I propose that children who are underexposed to contrary ideas and values, are unable to differentiate the variety of action and consequence later in the learning process and life. Early exposure to such variety is very necessary in establishing many aspects of critical thinking.
When your child goes to Sunday school, make it a point to casually ask what transpired after each attendance and most importantly, ask what was thought about the activities and the stories the class heard. It's also important to ask if she could tell what the other children thought about those same things. Eventually, she will have questions and this is where the interjection of your perspective and values can help her to understand that she has choices and is in control of those choices. Discussion will help to put you in touch with what she's going through and help her to understand that there are various avenues of thought. Your guided exposure will be a healthy foundation to your child's assessment of the world she's about to venture into. Underexposure will only serve to stunt her growth and tolerance of others, and can provide damaging insecurities.
If "indoctrination" is something you worry about, be cautious. But with a little guidance, your daughter will be better able to take care of herself, even from this very early age.
Choice is about understanding many things and discerning the right one to accept.
Best of luck. Smile

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07-10-2011, 09:42 AM
RE: My parents want to take my daughter to Sunday School
Totally agree with Ghost and BnW on this one, let them take her. The worst thing you can do is raise a child without exposure to religion, it makes them prime candidates for later conversion. Knowledge is power, give your daughter knowledge.

“There is no sin except stupidity.” Oscar Wilde
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07-10-2011, 09:45 AM
RE: My parents want to take my daughter to Sunday School
Thanks so much for all the replies everyone

I'd like to point out that I'm not against my daughter actually becoming religious later in life, its her decision. I will raise her to question everything and HOPE that she shares the same views as me, but she will ultimately pick what she wants. I do agree with some of you that early indoctrination can mess with the brain and make it harder to question the bs, but not impossible since I went to church for the first 18 years of my life. Its amazing how quickly I left Christianity after I actually got a chance to question my belief.

@Filox I agree with you that there are better places to send her to, unfortunately this may be the only option that is free. And I'm a broke college student with 2 kids so its certainly a factor. Like I said though, I'd probably just send her for this one year until she's of age to get into a preschool.

@Hughsie You make a good point with how easy she would believe in things that everyone around her said was true. I'm thinking that she may even be too small to understand when I try to tell her to "question" what she just learned, so the songs and the "I love jesus" stuff would probably get pretty engrained in her.

@beeluv and BNW Thanks for your response, how mad my mom will get is something I considered. She'll probably get mad but get over it, so I should be ok there, haha. I decided a year or so ago that I wouldn't let someone's reaction or insistence change my mind about something that has to do with my kids. My kids are what matters, and no one has the right to get mad at me about this sort of choice.

@Matt @Kim I have never actually been to this church, so I'm compelled to visit before I send her there. I would definitely never send her to one of those Jesus camp things though!! I agree with you about exposing her to multiple cultures and asking her what she learned, or how she felt about the message...however she is 2 1/2 and that kind of thoughtful discussion isn't really possible just yet. She tends to just agree with whatever you say right now haha. If I do send her I will ask her what she thinks to try to get some discussion, but she will likely just tell me what they played with and what snack she had.
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