A few weeks ago, shortly after I made P her tent, she became “afraid of Ducky Mo Mo and scary things in her room”. At first Ducky Mo Mo was just in her tent. I offered to take down the tent but she said she wanted it up. Thank God because I was reluctant to take my work of art down! Soon Ducky Mo Mo was in the bathroom when the lights were out or anywhere in her room during the day or night.
I wasn’t and still am not sure how to handle this new found fear. Even though her fears may be imaginary I know they are very real to her. I consulted with my mom friends on Facebook. I got great advice. One mom said I could spray magic, sparkly, fairy water all over her room to make Ducky Mo Mo go away. I thought it was a great idea. Then I realized pink, sparkly, magic water was pretty much the same thing as Holy Water.
I thought about this for a couple of days. Should I just call it magic water or should I introduce the concept of Holy Water? I am a Catholic by birth and heritage but I am not religious. I am spiritual. I haven’t thought out how I will introduce my children to religion. I thought I had a few more years.
P has started going to a Catholic pre-school but religion is introduced only in passing, as in praying before eating. When my parents visited two years ago they went to daily mass and took P with them. My dad would take her into church towards the end of mass and my mom introduced her to all the saints. She was less than a year old. Today I can tell she is familiar with the church but the meaning is just starting to become a curiosity.
What I do know is that I’ve used Holy Water to protect me from evil people or to clean a home before moving in. How can I then just use normal water and call it magic? It’s the very same principal. So, I used Holy Water and that same week I needed to go to the church parish center so we stopped in at the church. The questions poured out of P. Why is this God’s home? Who is God? How can he protect me? Will the water work? Why Holy Water? Why will God listen to me? How does God know me? Why am I special to God?
There was no baby stepping this one. We were all in! I did start by explaining to P that to us, as Catholics, these were our beliefs. I told her she would get to travel the world one day and realize that if she had been born in India I’d be telling her stories of Ganesha and Sheeva instead and we would be Hindus. I told her our beliefs were a part of our culture.
P’s curiosity was mostly about who was God and how did He know her. I told her He made her by taking some of Mamma and Pappa and Himself and combining it with her soul and that’s how she came to be. I told her she was special to Him and He could always see her and therefore protect her. She asked where was God. I told her everywhere. He is in her room and in her heart and in mine so he could protect her at all times. I could tell this was perplexing to her. I’m not sure I’m doing a good job of explaining all these things to her….but I also don’t want anyone doing the explaining.
My philosophy is that religion is purely cultural. Every culture has religion tied into it’s social and dietary customs. Easter, Christmas, Yom Kippur, Diwali, fish Fridays for Catholics, fasting holidays for Jews, etc, etc. It’s all intertwined in our lifestyle. Spirituality is a far different concept.
To me spirituality is the essence or knowledge that all life forms are tied together by the same thread of energy. Our actions and desires affect the energies attached to us. There are the things we can control and the things that we must rely on pure faith for them to come about. I’m not sure if there is one “Grand Man” who has the master controls to the energy or if all our collective conscience guides it but I do believe in something greater than me.
However, I also feel religion teaches structure, routine and guidance. I think these concepts, when taught by the community as well as the parents helps when raising children. Being part of a community with a moral and ethical compass…or at least people trying to live their lives by a certain standard is another level of support we parents could use. I think there are check points: first the core family, then the extended family, then the community who help guide an individual into society. That’s the part of religion I do like.
Ducky Mo Mo still comes into our house. I’m still trying to find the right words and concept to help her overcome her fears. Nothing has fully clicked as of yet. The one concept that I see has fully sunk in is that she is special and was created by the best parts of D and me and God. That has been a confidence boost and I hope with added confidence comes less fear.