A glimpse of our inter-faith family
We recently started talking to our big boy (who’s 2 years and 4 months) about God. This all started one day when he was reeeeeally testing my patience. Y’all, I’m no saint but I’m a Special Ed teacher, so that tells you God blessed me with an extra dose of patience. (And I’m so grateful for it!) I’m telling you, I totally was losing my mind that day. The kid had me pulling my hair out and groaning. As luck has it, hubby was stuck at work really late, so it was just me with the teething twins and testy toddler at bedtime.
That’s how we fell into our new routine of bedtime prayers, because we needed prayer that day. For a better day the next day. For gentle hands with the babies. For both of us to be better. For him to listen and control himself. For Mommy to be more patient and understanding.
That night, as we were praying, he looked at me oddly, hands together so piously:
“Mommy I don’t see God.”
“Well, you can’t really see Him but He is in everything, because He made everything.”
“How did He make it?”
“Well, He thought of it and then He made it be, because He has special powers.”
“Oh, He drawed it!”
This was the perfect way to end such a rough day. My heart was so full of love and forgiveness as I closed the door with his customary “duerme con los angelitos” sendoff.
The next night, it was just me again at bedtime and as the babies were getting fussy and I was so tired, I went though the bedtime routine half comatose. As I was closing the door, little man sat up in bed, saying “Mommy, let’s talk to God.” It was the sweetest diversion tactic. Of course it worked.
When Daddy was home for bedtime the next night, he prayed with us my way, giving thanks for a few things and asking God to watch over our families, help us spread love, etc. Then Daddy taught us to say Jai Shri Krishna. The next night, I let Daddy take the lead and he so sweetly led us in the “Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep” prayer before praising Krishna.
A promise and a plan
Once upon a time, hubby and I had a three day wedding extravaganza that included pujas, my dream small chapel Catholic ceremony, and a bigger Hindu wedding. Before we had kids, we agreed that our kids will know both their religious backgrounds. There was an unspoken promise between us that we will accomplish this together, both fully participating in traditions from both sides. We don’t go regularly yet, but we’ve gone to mass as a family a handful of times. All three babies were baptized in the same church. We will introduce them to temple. They join Dada and Dadi in their morning Hindu prayers when we visit them. They join us in eating a bite of dahee (yogurt) for good luck before a big event or travel.
At least once a week, we read “Meet My Hindu Gods“, a wonderfully illustrated book that describes the various Hindu gods in a child-relatable way. (Click on that book title and you’ll see.)
Big boy has asked about the “big book” on my nightstand, my grandfather’s old bible and just this week, I found a picture book of bible stories we will start reading. I’ll keep looking for more.
This Christmas, I know he will be more aware and involved with Christmas traditions. Last year, he kissed Baby Jesus and placed him in the manger on Christmas Eve, but this year he will remember it and ask questions.
We don’t have a detailed plan on how our children will be exposed to our religions, it’s just happening organically. But I am loving every minute of it. It melts my heart to see our son care about this, to celebrate his inter-faith and multicultural heritage. I am excited for what’s to come as our children get older. I think it will be even more beautiful than our big fat multicultural Hindu, Catholic, Nicaraguan-American wedding.