Faking Faith to Hold On to Heritage

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Do parents fake faith out of a feeling of obligation to pass it down to their children? My parents are visiting: my agnostic, but Catholic-raised dad and my Catholic mom who doesn’t practice/ go to mass. My parents had me go to catechism throughout my childhood. They wanted me raised Catholic like they were raised. Why? It was likely my mom who set the motion in place, but Dad has told me he thought it important for me to have a religious foundation.

I just told my Dad, I’d be out for a bit.
“For what?” he asked.
“I just have a commitment on Tuesdays,” I replied.

After being prodded, I told him I’m going to the church for a women’s Bible study. He rolled his eyes. “Oh, you are going to become one of those church ladies.” He made a few sarcastic remarks not really directed toward me, but chiding with my husband my new churchy status.

Why do parents feel the need to keep a tradition based solely on heritage when there isn’t any real commitment to that faith themselves other than experiencing it in their childhood? I ask this because I question my own reasons for returning to my faith. I want to have faith. I want God. But, I do not have blind faith. I can be skeptical. I tried other religious practices before I married, but once I committed to marriage and family life I went back into my church.

I have become more involved in the church to learn more and I am hoping it will be a fit for the long haul for my kids and me to stay in the Catholic Church. If I stop going, I don’t want to make my kids go just to carry on this family tradition. If my husband really wants them to continue their education in the church, I will discuss it with him, but I don’t see the point. What good is continuing a tradition that doesn’t really ring true to your family?

I am contemplating how many parents raise their children in a religion they don’t practice just because they feel obligated to do so to continue its legacy. I don’t think men feel this as much as women do. I think many women feel it is their duty to educate their children in matters of religion…to do everything on the checklist that their religion tells them to do for their family.

My parents and my husband are pleased that I am raising my children Catholic, but they don’t want me too into it. They want me to take practicing my faith lightly. But, that’s not where I am right now.

I don’t have it all figured out, but I am happy with my practice right now. I am pleased that my sons have faith and are learning about the Bible. Even though my husband doesn’t go to mass with us, he likes that we hold hands at dinner and say grace. It unites us as a family. I am going to keep on keeping on. I am just going to do what feels right for my family. I guess that’s what my parents did for me.