Thursday, November 18, 2010

what more they could have done

From a conversation between the Head Of The Family and one of us who have left the The Family's religious tradition:

Head Of Family: "I should have done more to keep you from falling away."

One who Left: "....."

The sentiment expressed by Head Of Family seems to be a fairly common one for parents who's children "leave the fold"; this sense of guilt that there was some pivotal thing left undone that could have averted this tragedy.

First of all, I really really wish we could LOSE the language of tragedy when discussing someone changing their mind about something like religion. (Let's keep tragedy where it belongs: when something tragic happens)

Second of all; what more could you have done?! I am wracking my brain for an answer to that one and the only thing thing that comes to mind is "You could have locked us in the basement for life?" Really. Because here's a rundown of a few things that were done to try to forestall any deviation from The Path:

~Carefully censored all books and information that came into the house to make sure the content wouldn't challenge The Path.
~Home-schooled us to insure that Path Unapproved information wasn't disseminated via a teacher/fellow student.
~Made sure that the daily, weekly & monthly routines of our lives were completely immersed in Path Approved activities and people.
~Took EVERY opportunity to testify of the primacy of The Path.
~Took EVERY opportunity to warn of the dangers of leaving The Path.

You did your best to instill your own beliefs and values in us.
You also gave a lot of love and support.
Even though those beliefs may not have stuck, the love and support did. You did all right, don't guilt yourself out over the little things like us being at variance over the nature of the soul, the priesthood linage, or details of eternity.

Two maybe/maybe not relevant things on my mind as I write this;


C. L. Hanson said...


This is maybe not a helpful comment (?), but I'm happy that my LDS family was a bit more laid-back and not so keen on protecting us from outside influences.

Also, I know that a lot of parents in various religious traditions view it as a tragedy and a personal failure when their kids leave the fold. (Your title immediately reminded me of a line from a certain song: What could we do more than we've done? ;) )

Again, fortunately, my parents didn't really do that -- but that may in part have been because so many of us left at once...

angryyoungwoman said...

I relate, G. I don't have a lot to say about it, but I relate.

The Numismatist said...

Wonderful post.

I came from a family that went to LDS church weekly. That's about it. No FHE, no regular prayer, no scripture readings, etc. There were three girls and we all eventually made it through the temple. When my younger sister got married we were all at the session, a lucky coincidence because I only had a recommend for one year. Older sister didn't renew hers, either.

When I divorced and left the church my mother said it was truly the worst thing I could possibly have done to her. She was mortified that her friends would find out. She also let me know that my daughters would grow up to be awful women with no morals.

In truth, there was nothing that she could have done to prevent my leaving. The lack of rigid religious training in my family allowed me to see things differently as the circumstances of my life changed.

My daughters are now in their 30s. (How did THAT happen?) I must admit that even though they are both very incredible and successful women I still look back and think of ways that I could have done better. Yes, I probably should have locked the first one in a cage through her teen years. Would have been far less traumatic for all of us!

There are no do-overs in parenting. Thank heavens!!

(I LOVED the zombie post!)

G said...

thanks guys!

c.l.Hanson~ aack!! now I'm going to have Saturday's warriors in my head all week!! thx! :P

AYW~ {hugs}

Numistmatist~ ouch.. I had my grandfather tell me that my son was going to grow up emotionally imbalanced because I got an extra piercing in my ear. It sucks... raising children is already so fraught w/ emotional baggage and guilt and (later) regret.. for people to just come out and preemptively blame you for all the mess-ups that your children will invariably get into (regardless of how good a parent you were) that really just sucks.

btw, you're an awesome mom :D