Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Hold the Veggies Please

The name of my blog may seem misleading once you've finished reading this post. But maybe not.

I am not Christian. Nor am I Jewish. In fact I am not religious.

At all.

I describe myself as agnostic. I am exploring the world and the religions that exist within it to discover if there is one group of thoughts and ideas that match what I feel to be true. For me that means I am still asking the questions. Still trying to find my own personal answers.

I want this for my children. I want them to be good moral people. But I want it to be because they KNOW that it is the right thing to do. Not because some huge powerful force or writing in a book tells them to be that way.

I want to raise good humans. Good caretakers of the world and the beings on it. I want my children to understand how important love and respect are so that they will treat others well.

I also want to raise questioning beings. Children who do not always choose the easiest way and know that the best choices are usually the hardest choices to make.

So I will probably raise two evangelical Christian republicans. But until they make that choice (which is their choice to make) I am doing my best to make sure they understand what I want for them.

And so today I asked my daughter's teacher not to show Veggie Tales in class.

Let me say that this was an awkward conversation. It is hard to know just how offended people will get when you tell them that you do not want your children watching shows or reading books with God in them.

But to their credit they handled it well. And apparently when my daughter was much younger I had a conversation with them about some religious book they had in the class room and so my daughter's teacher said:
"Oh I know that about Maya"
and it made me feel that in my trying to make sure she is not labeled with one religion or the other, I am still labeling her. Oh well.

So my kids are the kids who can't watch Veggie Tales.

And let me say that I don't make decisions without knowledge. And so I did in fact watch Veggie Tales with my kids one day.

The main three veggies were working in a manufacturing plant and were being treated unfairly. They rebelled against the main guy in defense of one of their friends. (Good moral teaching - strength of character,etc so far I'm on board.)

Then the bad guy rounded them up and threw them all into a big melting pot in an effort to burn them alive. (what?!?!?!)

And then a great white light blasted out of the melting pot. The evil henchman sauntered over to see what that was all about and relayed to his boss that he saw a bright light and "another person" in their with them. And this person was all in white and shiny, etc etc.

(And they lost me.)

hmm. So these main characters weren't able to save themselves but instead had a visit from a higher power in their magical melting pot and were saved?

So I explained to my daughter about Jesus and God and how some people believe...etc etc etc.

And these are discussions I am happy to have with my kids. But I want to have them. Because I am not sure how to answer questions about the man in white that saved the veggies that doesn't make this mysterious person sound like any other mythical super hero. I am not sure how to impress upon them just how much more important Jesus is to some people than say, Spiderman is.

Because if you think about objectively. Jesus is a superhero - maybe the first ever. And he has some pretty great super powers, not the least of which is his ability to come back from the dead.

So I will work on my delivery and in the mean time, for the first time in their young lives, I am encouraging my children to stay away from the vegetables.


KT said...

I've never watched Veggie Tales. Your approach to religion with your kids sounds very much like how we handle it with our children. It's tricky.

R said...

I never saw THAT episode (that one makes me uncomfortable too) but I have been impressed with the other episodes of Veggie Tales because they stressed things like working together and being responsible and ... stuff like that. I was originally concerned that they would be Christian videos (and talk about Jesus) but I haven't found that (yet).

However, I can't imagine showing them in a non-religious setting! Good for you for speaking up.

Nicky said...

I'm already nervous about explaining religion to my two-month-old when he gets there. Thank you for blogging about this. The episode of Veggie Tales that I've seen didn't have a glaringly obvious Christian or religious message--certainly no white, shiny beings. I think it's hit and miss with some of them.