Seeing that it is Easter, the topic of ‘sin” came up in our house. My daughter’s immediate response was “what is sin”? Is it a sentence in Afrikaans? (The Afrikaans word for sentence is “sin”). That is the only reference she had of the word sin. And my husband and I proceeded to explain to my daughter what sin means in the traditional sense of the word (breaking the 10 Commandments, swearing, killing, sex before marriage etc) would be classified as “sin”. We tried to explain to her what people believe about hell and sin. She was actually almost shocked. She doesn’t know God as a punishing, angry God. She couldn’t believe that “sin” and the hell and brimstone concept would be something that people spend time thinking about. Even more so, that it would influence their decision making in life.

Did we as parents fail to teach her about wrong or right? Cause and consequence? Karma?

I believe a resounding; “No”. My daughter understands that we have a choice in life and that depending on the choice we make – it carries good or not so good fruit. They understand that you and your bloodline reap what you sow – BOTH good and bad – not just bad. She is not strong-armed by us, into doing things, out of fear of the consequence of an angry God and an eternity in hell. We’ve never use religious concepts like: the devil, hell, sin, punishment, the wrath of God etc. to scare our children into anything.

In fact, I’ve been very frustrated when my son came home telling us that: “Jesus hates naughty children” and “Jesus hates Halloween” and “Halloween is the day of the devil”. Really in my view not appropriate religious views for a six-year-old child. Hate is a very strong word to use for a youngling like that. And to be so obsoletely set on their view about it (and claiming to speak on behalf of Jesus, about what he “hates” definitely doesn’t sit well with me). That kind of thing cultivates extremism, fundamentalism and everything that makes young kids and adults act out of balance between severity and mercy. The result is all to often an overreacting in situations, instead of approaching things with a balanced world view. That also often cultivates an overwhelmed nervous system for the child, and they grow up thinking every small thing is extreme, super serious and “the end of the world”.

Are my kid’s strangers to Jesus? I believe not. They are of the most accepting, kind and unconditional givers of love that I’ve met in my life. They have compassion and they will act if they see someone is in need. My daughter regularly gives her lunch away at the robots if she sees someone begging for food. Does she accept people for who they are, unconditionally – YES. She doesn’t see colour, race or age even. She does see energy and if she doesn’t vibe with someone, I’ve learned to trust her gut.

Do they know who Jesus is? Yes off course. But it’s not my work as a parent to force them into a relationship with him. Over time, they will find their own connection with Jesus, his path and they will learn to respect his service and sacrifices: both on and off this earth. By force feeding them into prayers and a relationship with him at a young age (that they won’t understand), is in my view not going to help them be good people either. I’ve seen many young children (who were forced into hours of Sunday School and hard church benches) turn out rebellious and agnostic. In fact, just looking at the world around us, we can see that all those hours of forced religion have not made the world a better place at all. Statistically speaking, there are more religious than non-religious people in the world. So, theoretically speaking, the world should not look the way it looks at the moment. If most religions preach forgiveness, kindness, peace and nonjudgement, something is seriously wrong with the old approach.

The world will only become a better place if we connect with the Christ energy in our hearts. If we learn to live and feel compassion for others like Jesus did. It is only compassion that will move us to true service to ourselves and another. In that, you will build an automatic connection with Jesus the Christ.

No one is a perfect parent. Everyone does what they think is best for their child. But most of our decisions comes from how we were raised and often we don’t question those belief systems, simply because we were taught it is disrespectful to question authority and to speak up – especially against our parents.

I’ve surely had my share of criticism from people who try to tell me how to raise my children, what is appropriate to their age and what not. I just smile and wave and walk on by. How other people raise there children also have nothing to do with me – it is everyone’s free choice to exercise their parental duties in the way they deem fit. Only time will tell if my approach worked, but where we stand, I feel we see good, indicative results. As it stands, I am very proud of both my children. They are not raised with religious boogiemen that are used to guilt and shame them into doing things. They do stuff out of their own discretion, internal drive, ambition and will. They are free thinkers, free speakers and free lovers (of course not in the sexual sense of the word!). They do not necessarily subscribe to the norms of society, however they each thrive and express themselves in their own way.

They are happy kids. They make mistakes. We as parents make LOTS of mistakes. We talk about it; we learn and we move on. We honestly don’t talk about any mistake longer than 24 hours later. When it’s done it’s done. We’ve dealt with it and unless it shows up again in their behavior, we don’t mention it again. They can’t move forward if I keep throwing past versions of themselves against their head all the time.

So no, my kids don’t know what “sin” means in the traditional sense of the world.  And I’ll be honest: I prefer it that way.

Love and Moonlight, Leonie

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