This is one of those questions where I tread lightly because religion is a very personal issue. That said, I’m hoping to get this mom some advice from all sides of spiritual fence and hopefully help her find a resolution to her problem.
Dear Guilty Parent,
My son came home the other night from a trip to the beach with his friend and his parents and when he got home he told me that his friends parents were starting to make him uncomfortable with their talk of religion; specifically the Rapture and how he should welcome Jesus into his heart and be saved.
My first gut instinct is to be upset with his friend’s parents. I take religion to be a personal topic and I don’t know how I feel about someone else pushing their religious views on my children. On the other hand, I guess I should be glad that they feel comfortable enough with my son to bring up the topic (or maybe this is what they do to everyone?? I don’t know). My son has talked to his friend and his friend even told his parents to please stop but they keep on (the boys are teenagers). I’m not an overly religious person myself, but I am a Christian and consider myself to be a spiritual person, I just feel that I don’t need to broadcast my relationship with God to everyone I meet. I attended private school through elementary and middle school and all of our boys were baptized as babies. While we don’t attend church on a regular basis, the boys have been to Sunday school and even Bible school in the summer until they told me they no longer wanted to attend. At home we discuss the different types of religions and how different religions interpret the scriptures. I don’t pretend to know everything about religion but we discuss anything the kids want to know whenever they ask.
Should I step in and talk to these parents? I don’t know that I feel comfortable enough doing so and I know my husband is not comfortable with them. We do love our son’s friend and consider him one of our own so we don’t want to do anything that would hurt their friendship.
I feel so stuck.
Praying and looking for guidance,
Well, I don’t know how much help I can be Patricia but I’ll try.
I am somewhat like you in that I don’t really think that a person’s religious beliefs are anyone else’s business. I think that a spiritual relationship between God and you; whatever God you believe in and when Judgement Day does arrive, God already knows where you are on the path to going to Heaven and his is the only opinion a person needs to be concerned with. Off my soapbox now.
With that in mind, I think that if I were your son I would be uncomfortable with someone telling me I needed to be saved as well. I think whenever someone tries to push a viewpoint it’s natural for the other person to feel uncomfortable. Has your son explained that he was baptized or that he has a home church? Sometimes just telling someone those things can bring it to an end.
As for you talking to the parents, I think it may be necessary at some point because if their own son has asked them to stop and they’re not respecting that then you may need to step in. I’d be as nice as possible and simply explain that while you appreciate that they are concerned for your son’s eternal soul (anyone have a better term??) that your family has a religious preference (What even if you’re not practicing) and you’d appreciate it if they could respect that.
Beyond that I don’t know what other advice I could offer.
What advice do you have for this family? Have you ever been in a similar situation? How did you handle it?
image via Billy Alexander