‘Oh no, not church again!’
How do I introduce my religion to my son without making him resent it? Masanda Peters asks.
‘Oh no, not church again!’

I was shocked and disappointed when my son said this to me the other day.

Why am I disappointed? Well, church is a big part of my life. I don’t think he has much of a choice right now whether he wants to go to church or not.

I was raised in a set up where church played a big role in our family life. As unfair as it might sound, he will have to grin and bear it until he can make the choice himself when he is older. It’s not an easy task as I need to strike a balance so that he does not develop a negative attitude towards church.

I know friends who do not come near a church because they were forced to go to church when they were young. It’s sometimes even worse with those who had dads as pastors. Some have really gone the other way trying to stay as far away from church as possible. They feel that church was forced down their throats and now that they can make a choice, church is not part of those choices.

The role of church

But I do feel that church can also play a role in steering my son in the right direction as he grows up.

In the church we go to; there is a kiddies section where they play, eat and do other activities. The church really makes it interactive and interesting for the kids. He refuses to even go to the kiddies section. He just does not enjoy church, period.

On Saturday afternoons he will ask me if we’re going to church the next day. When he gets a ‘yes’ you can see the disappointment on his face.

When my son was baptised I took an oath that I will guide him and let him come under the kingdom of God. It’s a personal thing for me. Striking a balance is not easy but I am doing my best.

I have allowed him to bring toys to church so that he can play with them. I make sure he does not disturb other people or make a noise while playing. It’s the better alternative in trying to get him excited about church. In most cases by the time the pastor starts reading the scripture he is fast asleep.

Some might see it as unfair that I am forcing the child to come with me but at an age of 5 can he really make a choice? I do not think so; later in life by all means. I am hoping that he will warm up to it one day or see the light. Perhaps it’s a case of him envying his friends who are playing outside while he is dressed up for church.

Read more by Masanda Peter

Do you include your children in your religious activities?

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