Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I just want to start off by saying that I really do like it when people ask questions that make me think about why I believe certain things and why I do things the way I do. It makes me take the time to actually sit down (when I have time to myself) and really study it out in my mind instead of just going through the motions.
Recently I made a post about my New Year's Resolution to read the scriptures with my kids every night to help Abby get ready to be baptized. Now, the question was posed that do I think that I should "not give her a choice" in the matter. . . .would that be the best thing for her? I really liked getting this question because it has been something that I have thought about alot. Here is my answer:
As a parent, it is my responsiblity to teach my children about our religious beliefs. We believe that at the age of 8 that children are old enough to become accountable for their own sins and that is why we wait until the age of 8 to baptize them. This does not mean that they are old enough to make all of their decisions on their own. They are still children. I wouldn't trust them to go on dates by themselves, or drive a car by themselves because they do not yet know everything that is involved in making those decisions. However, I do want Abby to know why she is getting baptized. I don't want her to just "do it because mom said so", but I want her to learn more about our beliefs and to WANT to get baptized. This isn't really hard because she is already soooooo excited for her baptism, but I would feel bad if I just made her do it without knowing everything she possibly can about baptism and her religion before doing it. Does this make sense?
It is really tricky to be a parent, and the older I get and the older my children get, the more I understand my own parents. I do try to make the right decisions for my children and let them learn how to make good choices without forcing things on them, so this has been something that I truly have thought about alot. Now, if Abby started to get really upset and scared and cry and scream as it got closer to her baptism I probably would wait a couple of months so that I could help her through it and find out what she thinks the problem is. However, I believe that if I do take the time to make her prepared and to teach her that she will understand that baptism is a wonderful thing and it is something that will not only bring her closer to God, but it will make her a better person.
I think back to my baptism day. I remember how excited I was to get baptized and how I thought that I would be transformed into this superhuman being. I was disappointed when I felt like I was the same person afterwards. It took some time before I realized that one of the biggest blessings of being baptized is receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. To me, this has been the greatest blessing that has come from my baptism. As I have grown up, I have relied on the Holy Ghost to help me in so many ways. He has helped me when I have had to do simple things like take a final exam, or choose a name for my babies. He has helped me when I have had to make big decisions like whether or not to marry Otto, when to have the babies. And He has gotten me through some rough times like when Otto lost his job, or when our little Robin was stillborn.
The other greatest blessing that has come into my life because of baptism is the blessing of being able to be married to my wonderful husband forever. This is a blessing that has made my life so much better in so many ways that I can't even count them. But, without baptism, I would not have been able to get married to my husband forever, and thus I would not be with my children forever. That really hit home to me when I had Robin. Even though I will not get to be her mother in this life, I will one day get to be with her again. Baptism opened the gate for this to be possible.
Is this blessing something that I would want to deny my child? Absolutely not. I don't know whether or not she will completely understand the importance of baptism until she is older, but I do feel as though I would be a terrible parent if I didn't give her every opportunity to experience the blessings that come out of being baptized. Will she resent me for it one day? Maybe. But then again she can add it to the long list of things that I know that she will resent me for anyways.
I am curious though, has anyone else struggled with this same decision about baptism? I mean, like I said earlier, I don't ever want to FORCE my children to do anything, but at the same time is it better than the alternative?


Michelle said...

Not being a parent myself, I can't answer your last question. But I did laugh when I read this:

"Will she resent me for it one day? Maybe. But then again she can add it to the long list of things that I know that she will resent me for anyways."

There's a lot of wisdom in that. Stay strong. You're her mother - it's your job to teach her the best way you know how, and when she's a parent, she'll do the same thing.