My husband wants my child to say grace.

My husband, son and I went out to eat dinner on Friday night and when the food arrived, my husband wanted my son to say grace and he wanted me to bow my head and along with it.  I want to teach my son to be grateful for things, but somehow I don't feel right teaching him to thank a nonexistent supernatural being for food that his daddy and I worked hard for.  My husband knows that I am an atheist and he's okay with it, but he holds on to his faith and wants to raise my son that way.  We don't go to church so saying grace and prayers at bedtime is probably the extent of the religiosity my husband pushes on him.  I think some parents (including my husband) believe that religion is the only way to teach morals and other fine character qualities. 

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Comment by HALEY SAID on July 14, 2011 at 10:50am
I guess this is where being a single mother actually comes in handy. I wouldn't want anyone knowingly lying to me, why would I do it to my kids? I work my ass of to provide for my kids and my success is not accredited to anyone other than myself. I want my kids to understand that and learn to be self reliant, not thinking and imaginary being will provide!
Comment by Atheist Andrea on July 14, 2011 at 8:48am
Maybe a compromise is to look at it as a way of being thankful and maybe not in a religious aspect. Some people use Christianity to teach morals and not to explain the universe. I think as long as your children are good kids, maybe this helps them be polite and thankful. I try not to go for the all or nothing approach and take pieces here and there that help child-rearing easier.
Comment by Philip Jackson Armstrong on July 13, 2011 at 7:16pm
Reading this made me just made me so sad.
Comment by Grace Fitzpatrick on July 12, 2011 at 2:48pm
I read my girls Dr. Seuss books which are very moral without imaginary beings.  Good luck with your situation.
Comment by Richard K. Emms on July 12, 2011 at 2:20pm
I feel sorry for you.  You are in a tough situation.  I hate to say it, but I've never seen a marraige of atheist and theist go smoothly.  I can elaborate, but not now.  Expect more high winds and heavy seas.
Comment by Sicile on July 12, 2011 at 1:39am

Well, to start with, have your husband read the 6th chapter of Matthew where christ tells his followers how to pray.  What your husband is doing (and asking your child to do) go goes against this teaching.  When I was a xtian, this really bugged me that the churches so boldly disregarded this.  Now that I don't believe in that nonexistent supernatural being either I could care less, but since he does it might be a point to make to him and your son.  Having said that, It seems there is a bigger issue.  If your husband knows your beliefs I think it is wrong for him to ask you to "pretend" to be praying.  I don't know the age of your son, but if he is old enough to pray, I think he is old enough to know that you don't and WHY you don't.  I too would like to know how this turns out.  I hope it works out well for you all..

 

 

I have often wondered how two people of different beliefs would raise a child and give equal  importance to each set of beliefs. 

Comment by Jeremy Raines on July 12, 2011 at 12:49am
When my wife and I were married, we were both in the process of leaving the Southern Baptist faith. I was an "agnostic Christian," while she was more of a spiritualist seeker. I agreed that when we had children she would be responsible for any religious education they received. She spent the better part of ten years searching for a denomination in which she was comfortable and finally settled on Catholicism (the church of much of her family and many of our friends). Now she is getting our children (ages 8, 5, and 10 months) baptized and educated in that church. I do not, however, hide my personal "beliefs" from my children. While they may not yet understand that daddy doesn't believe in God, I always answer their questions honestly and I do not directly participate in my wife's faith. My wife and I are hopelessly in love regardless, and I do not feel that this "dose" of religion will impact my children negatively over the long term.
Comment by Earther on July 11, 2011 at 7:23pm
I would like to know what you decide to do.  I am very frustrated with your situation.  I am frustrated because I do not have a spouse or child but I have pondered being in your situation many times and wondered what I would do.  I guess ultimately you want to protect your child and raise him in a respectful way.  I cannot help thinking that I would not be patient with someone trying to convert my child, if I had one.
Comment by Michael Smith on July 11, 2011 at 6:35pm
My first piece of advice: Do not deceive your child about your views to please your husband. Honesty is a good moral value, and if your child is ignorant of your views, bowing your head at prayer sends the wrong message.

Beyond that, I would point you to Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide for Parenting Beyond Belief. I haven't read the book, but it has really good reviews on Amazon. You need to be able to express your views in a positive way that your husband can be more comfortable with, so you're not just shooting down his ideas all the time, and educating yourself is a good way to do that.

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