Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Personal Beliefs

An interesting thing happened at our local library today.  Rory asked the librarian why there were "scary" things up on the walls.  I didn't hear her response, but I think it had something to do with Halloween coming up, because Rory then went on to tell her that he didn't believe in Halloween.  He thinks God is against it.  Just for a little background, this conviction of his came about a year or two ago, when he came out of the bathroom and informed me that he had been speaking with God, and God said He didn't like Halloween.  How can you argue with that?  Anyway, back to the library.  A while later, the other librarian came to me and asked me to have Rory not discuss Halloween with the other children, because those were his "personal beliefs."  This was after she had acknowledged a little girl informing her she would be dressing as a princess for Halloween with a "Won't that be nice?" or some such comment.

Okay, so here is my question.  I agree.  Personal beliefs are supposed to be personal.  But why in the world are my son's beliefs in God censored, when other children's beliefs in Halloween are encouraged?  The librarian was also nice enough to inform me that they would be doing pumpkins the next week for storytime, and something else related to Halloween the following week, in case I wanted to stay away.  Does everyone believe in Halloween?  I don't think so.  However, there were children's books featuring witches and skeletons and things prominently displayed for the season.

My other question is, how do I tell my eight-year-old that he is not allowed to talk about God?  He hears in church and in our home how we are supposed to tell others about our faith.  After all, Jesus told us to go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every nation.  I don't think he meant every nation except the United States of America.  To Rory, God is as real as you or I.  I'm having some trouble in this day and age convincing him that vampires are not.  Now, I'm supposed to tell him that God is only his "personal belief," and not real either?

I love taking the kids to the library, and to the activities there.  As a homeschooler, it is sometimes necessary for finding information.  And, the librarians are all very nice.  Please understand that this was not a disrespectful conversation in any way, but it put a piece of lead in my stomach and a pain in my heart just as if it was.  I'm not sure I'll be able go back to the library with the same attitude again.


  1. I may be misunderstanding but she wasn't asking him not to talk about God, just that he doesn't like Halloween, right? It could be because they have special events planned around it, including story time and she doesn't want him to ruin it for the other kids.

    An example is that we never did the whole Santa thing. I remember Emily telling a boy in Children's church when he was talking about Santa about how Santa wasn't real (she was 4). I spoke with her later on about how even though we didn't celebrate it, others do and it was up to their parents to tell them differently.

    I think the reality is that there are going to be people who think differently and while, we are to be light in this world, we have to be careful not to shove it in people's faces. I'm not saying this was what Rory was doing (he's only 8). I just can't think of a better way to say it.

    So, Rory needs to be able to talk about his belief in God but maybe just learn some sensitivity about how to go about doing it. In other words, at the library, where they are celebrating something like Halloween may not be the place.

    Does that make sense?

  2. Hi, Terri - thanks for the perspective. This was probably what she was talking about, and as I said, she was not disrespectful or anything. Rory does understand that other people celebrate Halloween, and we're not avoiding any mention of it or anything. I just don't like the feeling that he has to keep his beliefs "secret." It's probably more a reaction to society in general than anything related to Halloween. It seems that all beliefs are acceptable except Christian ones.

  3. I understand what you are saying. I think some of the problem is that Christians in recent years have been up in everyone's face about their beliefs. What I mean by that is there are few groups, and I'm thinking of the church (can't think of the name of it) that has picketed soldier's funerals and few leaders who have made off the wall, hateful statements. Because they seem to speak for all Christians, we are viewed as hateful people

    Which is why we need to really show the love of Christ. Very few people that I know of have ever been won to Christ by someone demanding that their views be listened to. It's been by the gentle, still voice of the Holy Spirit combined with someone showing them what love really is. Make sense?

  4. Oh, Robin, how important not to squelch that amazing discernment little children sometimes exhibit out of the blue like your son did, exiting that bathroom! How important to nurture their simple faith and forthright obedience!
    Your post took me back to young motherhood—and fairly new Christ life—when as room mother I unthinkingly helped make ghost puppets as school party favors, only to be halted from placing one on an absent first-grader’s empty desk. “No ghosts! No ghosts!” said the teacher. “They think it’s of the devil!”
    Hit me like a brick to the head. A real Doh! moment! Inwardly I gasped, thinking, oh, dear, they’re right! Then, when the music teacher came in later and led a song about ghosts and ghouls and the children danced their little ghost puppets in accompaniment, I felt doubly mortified.
    At home we altered our puppets into humans with clothing and yarn hair, and talked about how mom really shouldn’t have made ghost things. But I still felt bad for my ignorant promotion of things God hates!
    And here’s the thing: I needed to hear that admonition, or I might have made a lot more such mistakes afterwards.
    Just another perspective. We need to get our cues from God, not an increasingly godless culture, and speak and act with both truth and love for those who need it.

  5. Thanks, Terri and Sylvia - it helps to hear other perspectives about this. I agree that we need to show love, first and foremost. No one will be won to the Lord by hitting them over the head with a Bible! This is a hard area for me, as I used to love celebrating Halloween. I just didn't realize the history of the holiday, or what it really stands for. I am constantly learning more about what God expects from us, and unfortunately my children are having to deal with changing rules from time to time. I just have to trust that God can heal their minds and protect them from my mistakes, and that He will give me the words to say and the actions to show them the truth when I finally learn it myself!

    Rory is much more outspoken than I ever was, and I'm happy about that because I was very shy as a child and it really was painful. He may not always make friends, but he will always speak the truth. We probably have to work on the "in love" part, but I really can't see why this librarian would be threatened by a child saying what he believes. She went as far the following week to tell him that it was his opinion, and as such was not allowed to be spoken. What does that mean? Her opinion is right and his is wrong? Thankfully, Halloween will be over soon!


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