Friday, October 7, 2011

Being Prepared for Being Unprepared

The best thing I learned to do as a parent (within my realm of 3.5 years as a parent) is to be prepared to be completely, utterly unprepared for everything.  Don't waste your time trying to be prepared for every little thing because it will NOT happen the way you planned it.  I went into the journey of Child 1.0 entering school accepting that school was going to make him a bit different.  He was going to learn behaviors of other children that would probably go against how he has been raised, he was going to learn new words, new sass, new everything.  It is my role as a parent to establish how we (as a family) react to all these new things and how we can make these learning experiences.  Sure, the other boys may do Exhibit A, but it is a better choice to do Exhibit B instead.  Things were coming along pretty nicely until yesterday he dropped a bomb on me that I was NOT prepared for.

Let me set this up first:
Child 1.0's class says the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of class everyday.  Adam loves songs and chants and had that bad boy memorized within the first week.  It has worked its way into our bedtime routine and even in the car.  Yesterday we were driving and without notice he asks me, "What is god?"


I asked him what he meant and he referred to the exact phrase of The Pledge where that word pops up.  Holy shit (no pun intended).  How come he couldn't ask hubby?  Nevermind, that probably wouldn't have gone well either. We have made the decision as parents to raise Child 1.0 with no religious influence either way.  As an Atheist who chose to be such AFTER completing the Catholic Sacraments, I did not know what to tell him that would be appropriate for someone his age.  I made up my mind two weeks after my Confirmation that this wasn't the right for me.  My dad is also an Atheist and my mom is Catholic.  Growing up with my dad, when I was interested in going to church (in 2nd grade), he let me go with my friend's family.  He never told me what he believed or questioned my intentions, he supported me either way.  He funded my church adventures and never once said anything that made me change my mind.  I recall the moment my faith disappeared and it was only then that we had a long talk about it.  

Now my answer to his question was vague enough to suit his needs for now (granted, he is 3), but I know that it will come up again, probably after he returns to school on Tuesday and tells all the other kids.  My answer was wholehearted and sincere because I had NOT planned for what I would say---quite frankly, because I didn't think that kind of shit was going to come up for a few more years.  He just so happened to discover that word because he didn't recognize it and it was the shortest one he could repeat (it's great hearing a three year old say "allegiance", "republic", and "United States of America").  

In the past month, I've had to parent-through things that we've never really experienced yet: sharing with 22 kids (check), not talking during announcements (check), pushing/shoving (check and check), girl parts/boy parts (OMFG check), profanities (SHIT! CHECK!), and now we can add religion to this list.  

Good Parenting is hard.

Note: After our conversation, I googled the topic to see how others in our position have faced the topic and found a really interesting essay that I want to share for those interested.  If you're not, don't click the link.  It's that simple.  Not a debate.  STFU.  Essay is 'hurrr.

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