Saturday, April 07, 2007

I don't mean to butt in

Last week Thomas and I went to a friend's house. We have known our friends for nine years. This family is fundamentalist Christian. For the record, I am a Christian but no where close to being what I term "fundie."

We both know that we are totally different from each other on the religious front. I watch my P's and Q's when I'm around this friend, fearing I might slip up and say, "Oh, shit" in front of her. We have both had a mutual respect for each other and our differences.

Thomas has asked me why they are the way they are, and we have had many open talks about it. One of the things I tell Thomas is that this country is so wonderful because we can believe whatever we want to and practice that chosen religion (as long as it causes no one harm) however we want. (I still take exception to the Pearls and their physically cruel punishments, but I've already talked about that ad nauseam.)

Anyway, I have suspected that she talked with her children about why we are the way we are. I was right on that.

She had to take two of her children to an appointment on the day we visited. She asked if I'd watch her youngest while they left. So I did. The boys were happy to play together and I didn't mind at all.

So what I found so funny was after my friend left, the very first thing her youngest son did was to come up to me and say this: "Um, I don't mean to butt in, but why don't you go to church?"

I believe he was too polite to ask that question in front of his mom, but he was curious and wanted to know. I didn't give him an answer other than the fact that it was a very long story why we didn't go to church. But he was very relieved to know we were Christians.

So as Thomas and I were driving home, I took the opportunity to discuss this because he witnessed it. I asked him what he thought of his friend's question. Thomas thought it was rude and an invasion of our privacy. I explained that children are curious and just want to know things, and while it is something I hope he would never ask someone, it didn't really bother me to be asked.

I brought up the fact that his friend was very relieved to know we were Christians. I asked Thomas what he thought of that. He asked me if they would be our friends if we were not Christians. I told him no, that our friends would not accept us if we were not Christians. (And that is the truth. I have talked about that with Mom Friend a few times.)

Thomas thought that it was very sad indeed. He just couldn't understand the concept of not being friends with someone who didn't share the same faith. I was SO proud, because that is the lesson I have been trying to teach. (And it's one reason I'm "not Christian enough" with some of the local homeschoolers. So be it.)

I have friends of all different faiths or lack of faith. I don't judge on what religion someone practices. I do judge, and that is if they are kind, moral, etc. I cannot imagine closing myself off to -- well, the world. I do, however, understand that is "their" choice to make, though. I just feel it's so sad. Then again, like I said, this is why I'm viewed as "not Christian enough."

Why do I stay friends then? This relationship has been on and off over the years. Sometimes I would just go crazy with it all and not call for months. We always seem to end up in the same place, though, as it's a small town. I stay friends because deep down, aside from the judgmental part I don't like, she is a very lovely person. Her kids are nice, well behaved, and warm. Thomas adores her kids, and they like him.

Thomas asked me why we (well, I) stayed friends and I told him that if we did not, we were being judgmental. We will never see eye-to-eye with anyone. There will always be differences. It opens his world to see how others live, especially those that are so different from us.

And that's it. I don't expect any more religious posts here for a very long time.

Happy "Eggster"

Wishing you all a "Happy Eggster" tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Another great week

Yes, it has been another great week. (Okay,except for the wind, cold and snow!) While we have not started school before 8am again, we have worked hard and steady.

Awhile back I signed Thomas up for a ceramics class. It is the only art class for kids in our local community education program. I knew this class was out there, but never signed him up before because I was sexist and thought it was too girlish.

Once again, I was wrong. I admit it. Thomas loved the class and made these cute dolphins. The instructor called me the night before class to give me directions to her studio/house. We ended up chatting on the phone for over a half hour. She was so nice, she had "retired" from scouts right as I had joined up, so I was following in her footsteps. She was incredibly warm and friendly and we had many things in common.

She was great with kids. The kids were all smiling and happy to be there. They loved free reign to create what they wanted. Apparently Thomas was the only one to register for this class through the CER. The other five kids there just show up every Tuesday. She invited Thomas to do the same and he was thrilled. Two of the girls in the class were former classmates of Thomas. I only recognized one of the girls. The other girl looked about 14 and was a goth. Black clothes and black fingernails. I didn't notice if she was wearing makeup. When Thomas told me who she was, I was shocked. I don't mind kids expressing themselves, but it surprised me that she was only 11 and a goth already.
Thomas has many plans for future projects. He's doing a unit study on the Titanic right now and so when he goes to class next week, he plans on painting the Titanic on a dinner plate. He wants to make presents for his Grandma, his Grandpa and his dad for Father's day. I had to remind him that Mother's Day was fast approaching, too.
While this was not the art class I was looking for, I am a happy mom because he's happy. And that's what it's all about.
Now I'm just hoping that a cute boy who Thomas has known since preschool will get his grades up so he can join the train club. The boy, his dad and brother all visited the train club last night and the dad said that if the boy would get his grades up in school, he could join.