Your Turn: Out of the Mouths of Interfaith Babes

For close to a year now, I have written two essays each week on being an interfaith child, or an interfaith parent, or an interfaith spouse, or all three. So enough about me already.

If you are raising your children with two religions, any two religions, share with us a moment of hilarity, or hurt, or confusion, or wisdom from your own family. What do your children say about being half-and-half? About Jesus? About Israel? Help us weave a sense of national interfaith families community, and remind the world that I’m not some lone nut-case experimenting on my children…

9 Replies to “Your Turn: Out of the Mouths of Interfaith Babes”

  1. Heard during the IFFP Kindergarten class that I taught:

    Teacher: How many of you celebrate Hanukkah?

    Student 1: ME! My Mom is Jewish. I celebrate Christmas too ’cause me Dad is Christian. I’m really lucky!

    Student 2: Hey, that’s the same in my family!

    Student 3 and others: (excitedly) Me, too! (the rest of the class chimed in with similar comments as they realized they had something in common)

    Student 1: Hey! We’re ALL lucky!


  2. Just this year, our teenaged daughter, talking fast as usual (as all teens do), told her dad excitedly about her new “Eastover dress!”

    And earlier on, circa 5-years-old, she asked her dad, “Daddy, do you believe in one God or many Gods?” He told her “one God.” She said, “Me, too,” finding our family’s first religious unity point!

    1. Hi Diane–I love the unity point: kids will seek, find, create family unity out of whatever circumstances they are born into. I remember you from the interfaith families conference in Bethesda. How are you? Do you have a blog (you should!)? –Sue

  3. I greatly enjoy your blog. Although both of my parents were Christian, so there wasn’t a big difference in faiths, my mom was Lutheran and my dad Catholic. We children were raised as Catholics, but when I was young, I often went to Mass with my father, then church with my mother. My mom took conversion classes when they were engaged, but decided to remain a Lutheran, which meant my dad had to get a dispensation from the bishop to marry her.

    I’m not really answering your question, and I don’t remember specific moments of confusion, but I do remember a lot of times when I struggled with which parent was “right” or, more often, with feelings of loyalty and wanting to stick up for one with I heard the other’s church say something negative. The positive effect it had on me was to be very open to different religions. Neither my mom’s nor dad’s family was too pleased about the fact their child wasn’t marrying another Lutheran/Catholic, but they worked it out.

    1. Lisa–I greatly enjoy YOUR blog as a source of creative parenting ideas. And your comment is one of many to affirm my hunch that we are all “both” in some way, and that publishers should see this broader “interfaith” market and not be afraid to publish my book, LOL!

  4. Coming back from a Catholic christening just yesterday, our 7 year old asked why she wasn’t christened, and the 5 year old wanted to know too. I explained that if you are christened Catholic, then you learn about Catholicism only and don’t celebrate any other religious holidays, like Passover or Hanukkah. And since her Dad was Jewish and her Mom is Catholic, we chose not to christen our children but to learn about and celebrate both faiths. My 7 year old said I’m so glad I was wasn’t christened. My 5 year old’s lip started to quiver and we spent the next 5 minutes assuring her that we were going to keep going to IFFP and celebrating both Jewish and Christian holidays.

  5. What a great idea! I love the blog, and this is a fun idea.

    In December’s holiday season, my Jewish parents came for Chanukah from NJ and we all planned to go to my Lutheran in-laws’ house to decorate the Christmas tree, light the menorah, and eat latkes. When we told our 6 year old son about our plan, in true interfaith fashion, he said, “Great. I’ll wear my Ganesh necklace!”

  6. My sister who is an interracial child (adopted at birth by my parents so she has been my sister all her life), decided to convert, along with her husband and 3 kids, to Catholicism, for a variety of reasons… among them never feeling comfortable walking into the all-white synagogues of our youth, and the fact that her kids go to a Catholic school where she is now a teacher. She is still the best matzah ball maker in our extended family, and is in charge of the soup every Passover.

    Her youngest, aged 7, on the way home from a church meeting with the archbishop, said “Mom, can we have matzoball soup for lunch?” Although she is now Catholic, she has the stomach of an interfaith child!

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