Tag Archives: faith

Brainwashing?

As I went through my nightly news round-up, I stumbled upon an interesting article on the Huffington Post.  A complete and total aside – I have to admit that lately, the bias on the Huffington Post has started to really irk me.  It’s so biased that it’s hard to tell if the news is reliable.  I miss the days of unbiased journalism and I know that my award-winning journalist grandfather is rolling in his grave, but that’s another story for another time I suppose.

At any rate, I saw this article and I read it and was relieved that there was a mother out there who knew what it was like to have young children in church.  At first, I was brought back to that day when the old man yelled at me in church for letting my kid color on the offertory envelopes that are left in the pews for visitors.  It was keeping her quiet and as one of the former high school kids who used to open said envelopes, I wouldn’t have cared to come across an envelope colored by a kid.  It was nice to see this article almost giving some comfort that there were others out there who had the same moments of embarrassment when bringing kids to church. Most recently, my moment of embarrassment came in the form of my daughter critiquing a girl in the children’s choir who had just completed a solo by saying “that sounded horrible.”  If I could have shrank down to the size of a fly and fly right out of that church, I would have.

This article showed me, however, that I’m not alone.  There are other mothers and fathers who do the same thing every week.  These parents bring their children as their parents brought them when they were children.  It was reassuring.

Then I read the comments.

Man – people harbor such hatred of organized religion.  The insults that hurled on those comments were just uncalled for.  At one point, someone said that parents were brainwashing their children and teaching them to not think for themselves.  I suppose that is when I really got annoyed.

You see, I was raised Catholic.  One of the reasons I chose my undergrad college was mainly because it was a Catholic college and I knew that it was going to offer what I needed.  Yes, there were a lot of things over the years that caused me to question.  The sex abuse scandal.  The treatment of women in the church.  Some of the rules the church abides by were just nonsensical to me.  For a while, I stopped going to church altogether.  It just didn’t feel right.  Everything I had grown up knowing had been severely shaken and every time I stepped into a church I didn’t feel like I was being true to myself.  However, during all that time, I didn’t stop believing in God and still had faith in the things I was taught as a child.

I remember one day, when I was making my daughter’s baby quilt with my aunt who was dying from cervical cancer, we started talking about our faith.  She knew that I had stopped going to church.  She knew that I had some issues.  I let her know that I was going to baptize the Daughter.  I could almost instantly see the relief in her face as I finished the sentence.  We then had an amazing conversation about faith.  I asked her how she could reconcile being a Catholic and not finding some questions about it all, because by definition of the pope at the time (I believe it was the Nazi Pope – sorry I have no love for Benedict…) meant accepting EVERY tenant of the doctrine, including the ones that almost contradicted the teachings of Christ.  I believe the term “cafeteria Catholic” has been used to describe people who pick and choose which parts of the Catholic doctrine they want to follow and practice.

She surprised me with her answer, surprised me in a good way.  She said that we should question it.  We have our faith and the belief that everything happens for reasons we may not always understand and we have our belief in His love.  But we can question the teachings and the interpretations.  There is always room to better ourselves and if we don’t ask the questions we’ll never be able to get to a better understanding of the whole picture.  Religion is just a piece. Faith is the bigger picture.

I remember driving home that day thinking about what she had said.  The Husband doesn’t practice any religion.  He says he believes in God but just doesn’t want to be brainwashed.  Some of the comments on that HuffPost article reminded me of things the husband has said.  I don’t care though.  Tomorrow morning, the Daughter and I will go to church and we’ll say our prayers and sing the hymns.

hands praying

I know that I cannot force her to believe anything.  All I can do is introduce her to what I believe and then I will take a page from my mother’s play book.  You see, when Catholics get confirmed, they are finally seen as adults in the church (that’s the basic explanation of that sacrament).  Only those who truly accept the teachings of the church should be confirmed, though lots of kids do it just to appease their parents.  My mother, however, took each of us aside when we came to that year and told us that while she had hoped we would get confirmed, if there were any other religions we might want to look into before we made that choice, she would help us find out information.  I didn’t take her up on the offer, but Brother 2 did.  My mother followed through with the offer.  She got him information on eastern religions and offered to help find someone for him to talk to if he wanted.  I thought it was cool that my mother offered to do that and actually did it when one of us asked.

We were not taught to blindly follow.  Maybe we are an exception.  Maybe we grew up in a more liberal minded home.  I know that even though I hope that the daughter accepts what I’m currently exposing her to, I know that I cannot force faith upon her.  She must come to it on her own.  I will answer any question she may have along the way though.  And I pray that she asks questions.  How else can she learn to think for herself and make an informed decision on her own.  Oh yeah, and to the comments that thank the people for raising their kids to be scientists…I hope my child can achieve her dream of becoming a doctor and still have faith in something.

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Filed under Family, Family Activities, Tales of Parenthood

Letting Go of Control

Even though the weight didn’t go on overnight, it sure feels like it sometimes.  The emotions got to me this past two weeks.  I have been stressing over things that are completely out of my control.  I like control.  It’s unnerving to me to be out of control.  I think that a lot of people have trouble not being in control but the difference is how we all deal with it.  Because I tend to internalize a lot, this often results in me being a not so pleasant person to be around when I’m stressed.  I eat which makes me upset with myself and adds to that sense of spinning out of control.

Now you may be asking yourself, kind reader, if I can recognize this behavior, why not simply change it?  Good question.  A lot has to do with the fact that I learned to be an emotional eater at a very early age.  It was the only thing I could control – what I put in my mouth.  And since emotions were not something we were encouraged to talk about (I should note that it was only by one of my parents who unfortunately had too big of an impact on all of our lives), I learned to control my emotions by feeding them.  It took me years to realize this and accept it.  But if I have accepted it and recognize it, why do I fall back into that pattern so easily?

Because I am human and prone to mistakes.

That’s the only answer I can come up with.  I get scared and even if I have been doing well, that fear is almost paralyzing so I go back to old habits.

Today is weigh in.  Last week was a terrible gain.  Today is most likely going to be another gain.   I am bracing for it.  It’s a mental blow every week there is a gain.  I know I deserve it but it still just hits that spot in my heart where I have let myself down.  The fact that I’m even going to go to weigh in tonight is a victory.  In the past, I would have blown it off and just written it off as a bad week.  I can’t afford to do that any more.  It’s part of breaking the habits.  It’s part of changing life.  It’s part of being in control of the right things.  Gaining control of the things I can control.

There is a saying in many of the 12-step programs:

Let Go and Let God

For years, I heard this saying from people and kind of just would shake my head in a “yeah, yeah, sure” kind of attitude.  This past year, however, I have really come to a full understanding of this.  There are things that are completely out of our control.  There are things that we cannot change simply because they are things we cannot change.  But, there are some things that we can change.  There are some things that we can improve on.  All the rest, we have to let it go.  We have to have the courage to say that it is not something we can control.  It is not something that we have the power to change.

All the fears, the doubts, the worries…they are not something you can control.  All you can do is trust in whatever you believe in and know that “it will all be ok in the end and if it’s not ok, then it’s not the end.”

Call it a realization of Faith.  Call it common sense.  Call it an awakening.  Call it whatever you are comfortable with.  When you get there though, to that point in life where you fully and truly embrace this thought, you will feel a sense of peace that is so precious it will be your beacon  for those days when you need to hit that mental reset button.  I know that the struggles have been partially built up by my own mind but it’s my own mind that I need to quiet.  By letting it all go and realizing that the fears are not in my power to control but what I put into my mouth is; what I do for exercise is; how I treat others is all within my control, I can be a little less upset with myself and this gain and move forward.

 

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Filed under Emotional Health, Exercise, Food, Healthy Me - Yay!, My Relationship with Food, Weight Loss