Conversations with My Daughters

My girls are attending half-day church camp this week. It’s sponsored by one of the biggest churches in town (Presbyterian) and features lots of lovely things like super-fun teenage group leaders and all the silly songs you could shake a stick at. One of the downfalls of this particular camp that makes it tip into the “indoctrination camp” category at least once each year, is that mid-week the group leaders give the kids a piece of paper asking them to sign if they’ve made a decision “to accept Jesus as their personal Savior”. (Thus the reason none of Cate and Eden’s friends-who-aren’t-Christians go to this camp anymore.) Today in the car Catie waved this purple “commitment” sheet around started this conversation:

Cate: “Our teacher says this is the most important thing in our whole lives, and it’s NOT!”

Me: “What is the most important thing in life Cate?”

Cate: (sounding disgusted at my ignorance) “Your FAMILY.”

Me: “Oh, right. Well, some Christians believe that people will go to hell if they don’t know and love Jesus. So your teacher was probably just worried and wanted to make sure you know Jesus.”

Cate: “Mom. I already love Jesus, so this piece of paper is still not the most important thing in our whole lives.”

Eden (piping in with equal indignation): “I don’t even believe in hell.”

Me: “Well, some people do and we should be careful not to make fun of their beliefs. For instance _________ and _______ believe in hell.”

Eden: “That’s because they’re Republicans.”

Meg June 28, 2007 at 2:20 pm

ah…and the little children will lead them.
Such a lovely story about your daughters so clearly wise beyond their age.
And about a mom who is teaching compassion and tolerance! This made my afternoon. thanks

daniel June 28, 2007 at 3:17 pm

Gah! Brilliant! I almost blew water out of my nose.

Sandra June 28, 2007 at 6:22 pm

I’m a republican and I don’t believe in hell.

Elaine June 28, 2007 at 8:36 pm

LOL! Brilliant!

Paul Roberts June 28, 2007 at 10:42 pm

Uuooohh no! This is taking “taking after Mommy” too far. In a few years’ time, they’ll turn into rebellious teenagers, start supporting the Republics, and regard you as conversion fodder. Just you wait!

Heidi Renee June 29, 2007 at 5:52 am

HA! that is so wonderful. We had the big discussion this week as our kids will be headed to sleep over camp in a couple of weeks. We had talks of fear tactics and an explanation of the rapture and how it was invented to terrify kids and adults into “making that decision” and signing that purple piece of paper…

This is one of the most difficult parts of wanting your kids to experience the wonderful parts of Christendom without the nut job parts…

I also told them that it wasn’t their job to correct anyone – kind of like kids who still believe in Santa Claus. Just listen and smile and be sad that they need fear to motivate them to love God….

ShariMac June 29, 2007 at 3:27 pm

This is AWESOME! Your girls rock.

I can barely send my children to Sunday school, because I fear the purple paper.

aola June 30, 2007 at 4:12 pm

That is sooo funny.

I am a little worried about my 13 year old who is going away to his very first church camp in a few weeks. But, after talking to him about what he is learning at youth group every Wed. night and him telling me he didn’t really remember much of what is said during preaching time I don’t think I have much to worry about… he’s too busy looking at the girls to be indoctrinated.

Good boy.

Karla MG July 1, 2007 at 11:03 pm

“and a little child shall lead them” indeed!!! ;) We too have had the conversations about acceptance, and that includes the other people at church that don’t believe as they do! My oldest has begun going to a friend’s youth group sometimes, and she’s brought home some “interesting” conversation. I suggested that’s not the place, when she’s “by herself,” and “only 10” to explain the UCC’s open and affirming “polity” which she accepts and believes to be right. I told her it’s like when we go to a certain marriage conference and choose to ignore some of the teaching. We can stand up for what we believe, but we still need to respect others’ beliefs too.

Rachelle July 3, 2007 at 1:33 pm

It’s so nice to read all this “chiming in” sort of comments. When I first started blogging, if I had written something like this, all the angries would have come out and yelled at me LIKE THIS!!! I feel so grateful to have found a place where writer and reader click. Thanks so much for being here!


P.s. Sandra, I made sure Eden know that “Republican” and “believes in hell” don’t always go hand in hand. :-)

Benjamin Ady July 6, 2007 at 7:09 am

too perfect! Your girls rock! I’m so grateful to have your family around! And your blog =)

Rebecca July 8, 2007 at 11:07 pm

I can’t even tell you how much I loved this conversation. Beautiful.

Tree July 10, 2007 at 7:42 am

Even if you clarified things for her after the fact…

Best. Comment. Evahr.


Sandra July 13, 2007 at 9:35 am


Thank you for making that distinction to your daughter. It’s damn hard to be a Republican in this day and age, especially one who doesn’t believe in hell or church. :)

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