We are at a crossroads.
This fall my two year old daughter’s babysitter is going to start teaching my child and her own toddler a Christian-based preschool curriculum. She wants to get them ready for “real” preschool and I am not sure how a curriculum where God is the focus is going to give them an edge. The program she is using is called Carol’s Affordable Curriculum and per the website it is described as follows:
Our Son Shine curriculum has a Christian foundation. It is a Pre-K readiness program that is designed for children ages 2-5. Children will learn Bible verses and prayers through the art of worksheets and crafts. Everything is provided to make this Christian curriculum complete and fun. This is a great way to prepare the preschooler for kindergarten while presenting a glorious message about God. Example: Number 10 is for The 10 Commandments, N is for Noah’s Ark, R is for the story of Ruth, etc. Monday-Friday projects and crafts.
If you are not religious this is kind of unsettling. Do I want to “protect” my child from religion? No. But when she comes to me and wants to know about God what do I say? At two years old is she mentality capable of understanding concepts like faith, omniscient beings and heaven? Most adults don’t even ‘get’ it. I know that at her age the Bible stories will be just that – stories. The verses they’ll learn will mean nothing to her. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son…” Am I going to have to explain death and the story of resurrection to her? And why does an invisible man in the sky have a son? Is it Mickey Mouse? (In my world both are fictitious.)
I understand the concepts of Christianity. I was raised by two Christian parents and we attended a United Methodist church almost ever week. We prayed before meals and recognized during Christmas that “Jesus is the reason for the season.” I became agnostic in my early twenties and was saved by an ex-boyfriend who witnessed to me. He turned out to be the biggest hypocrite I’ve ever met but for a brief moment I dabbled in religion again.
Now? I’m agnostic and so is my husband; we don’t rule out the possibility of a higher power but remain skeptical. I’m not a fence sitter but I just can’t wrap my mind around it and that’s okay. For awhile I thought of myself as atheist but then realized that I can’t be 100% certain of anything in life and the existence of God falls into that ‘anything’ category.
So do I want to tell Avery that there isn’t a God? No. But I don’t want to tell her that he exists, either. Her babysitter currently reads Bible stories to them during their ‘devotional’ time but I doubt that she has the kids get down on their knees and put their hands together in prayer. When we interviewed her sitter she told us about the daily devotional and I’m sure I cringed a little bit at hearing the word. Jacob thought that I would grab Avery and run for the door upon the mention of religious teachings but I didn’t. I got a good feeling from her and I could tell that she was competent and smart and most importantly? Loving. She is a gentle person and has a sweet demeanor and it’s not hard to see that she is good with children.
I’m torn. This is Avery’s second babysitter in five months. Her first sitter was perfect but had to close her doors and find a job that provides health insurance to help pay for her husband’s illness. When I found the second sitter I was constantly comparing her to the first but I stopped when I realized that Avery was learning so much and having a good time. I don’t want to take that away from her. They’ve been to a farm, the library, and they do some sort of art or craft project every day.
Jacob and I need to talk about it (I sent him a text after I got the email from the sitter this morning). I’m not sure how he will feel about it since sometimes he’s more okay with religious stuff than I am and sometimes he’s less tolerant.
Please leave me some advice if you have any. I seriously don’t know what to do.