'My daughter converted!'
What if your child rejected your religion and converted to another one?
By Karen Meyer
Imagine turning your back on your faith - one you grew up believing since you were born. Throwing away your entire belief system that has been in your family for generations. Imagine changing your name, from the one your parents gave you, to one that fits in with your new lifestyle. Imagine you did it out of love. My daughter did!
When my daughter, Melissa, first started dating Shameeg, a Muslim, at the age of sixteen, I didn’t think much of it. She being a very young and attractive girl, I thought this was probably just the start of many relationships. This was not the case; their relationship became more intense and, after the first year together, she knew that this was who she wanted to spend her life with.
When your child makes choices
At first I was not pleased, we were a Christian family, and this was not the way it was meant to be. Melissa was an A-student, headstrong and determined. She always excelled at anything she put her mind to, but I had different expectations of where she’d find love. I didn’t want to alienate her by showing any dislike for Shameeg - after all I couldn’t actually find any fault with the man. I liked him. We had many discussions about their future and where it would go regarding their different belief systems. With a result halfway into their second year together they broke up.
I was relieved, I gave her the whole “It’s for the best” speech, but my daughter was heart-broken and hurting. It is a painful thing to watch as a mother. During their three-month separation, they both realized that they loved each other too much to be apart and this time away only served to cement their relationship. He may not have been my first choice as a partner for her as he came from a different religious background, but it was HER choice, one that I would have to accept, and so I did.
"Say goodbye to your daughter"
In the end, she embraced his religion as her own. In May 2010 Melissa married Shameeg and became Yasmin. After the beautiful ceremony, my son-in-law’s grandmother said “Say goodbye to your daughter, she is part of our family now”. It seemed so final and I felt like I was losing her forever. I had to come to the realization that, this was not about me: it was about my daughter and HER happiness. I can tell you now that she is the happiest she has ever been in her life. I also had to think, what do I want for my child? I want her to have a husband who will love her, and he does! A husband who will be good to her and for her, and he is! I admit that Shameeg is all those things and more. In July 2011 they welcomed a healthy baby girl; Aliyah into their family, and my daughter and I have a closer relationship now more than ever.
Would you cope if your child chose to convert to another religion?