Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Day My 6 Year Old Asked Me About Abortion

I drive by a particular Catholic church in my neighborhood almost every single day for one reason or another (mostly because that route leads to Target and Trader Joe's). Normally I'm a big believer in letting people believe whatever they want. While I am a vehemently opinionated soul, I do not use my breath to spew my ideals to anyone who will listen (As for this blog, you choose to come here, right? No prodding or payment from me. No payment for me either, for that matter.). I don't believe in proselytizing. I don't believe in incendiary messages spouted from soapboxes. I don't believe in subjecting children to hideously complicated adult paradigms.

What I believe is it is my job, my duty, my honor, to protect my children.

Please check out my post on Deep South Moms about what has me up in arms about what this particular church is doing to pollute precious, innocent minds.

Here's a hint:

No mother of a six year old should have to answer the question, "Mommy, what does 'abortion kills babies' mean?"
The Day My 6 Year Old Asked Me About AbortionSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend


nikki said...

Ilina, I just wanted to thank you for this post, and tell you that I agree. As a Catholic, an adopted person/adoption advocate, and someone who is not even slightly pro-abortion, I remain vehemently opposed to messages on either side of the choice debate that are incendiary, insulting, thoughtless, or -- and this is the key point you touch on -- spouted around children who should be talking about this only when mature enough, and as their own parents see fit. Surely parents have the right to protect their children and decide what they see? I think my parents probably talked to me about abortion at a fairly early age -- again, being adopted probably had something to do with this, for a variety of reasons -- but I never saw any of those "graphic images" or "abortion is murder" placards till college, and even THAT felt too early, to me. It's not effective argument, it's not compassionate, it doesn't invite people of good will to engage or dialogue with you, and it's unchristian. That's my belief, anyway.

Thanks again for this post.

The Mother said...

We run into that, too.

Right along with the playground comments that the "Jews killed Christ." They're lots of fun.

Here's my rule:

I always tell the absolute truth, trying only to chose vocabulary that they will get at their age. There are lots of ways to handle that question--but open, honest debate is always better.

I try to explain both sides of the controversy. Then I give them my angle, because that's what we parents do.

I don't believe in censorship of any kind. As vehemently opposed to religion (in general) as I am, I have no right to tell them what they can and cannot put on their signs, although I find many of them even MORE annoying than this one. That means we parents have to do a lot of explaining. Especially if we are raising religiously neutral children.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I just have a problem with these protesters in general...there are more effective ways to stop abortions, ways that don't involve sitting around streetside offending people passing by. And I'm all for free speech, but baby, your freedom ends where mine begins and I should be free not to see you or hear you if I don't want to! This why movies/games/graphic comics are rated, this is why I don't bring my children to adult venues, because it's MY freedom to PROTECT the babies I HAVE!
Must stop my rant before I get too carried away.

Convertible Girl said...

Ugh. I feel your pain. As a born-and-raised Catholic, I really struggle with the Church's stance on abortion and with the way (where and how) they talk about it in general. I'm not "pro-abortion" (I mean, really, who thinks it's a *good* thing), but I don't think making it illegal solves the problem at all (and actually just creates more problems).

The Church declares that it is pro-life, yet doesn't support a lot of things that can be life-giving (like gay marriage or women in the priesthood). Until the Catholic Church can truly support a culture of life, it's hard for me to stomach that sort of preaching.

Thanks for the heads-up about not driving down Anderson. At least my kids aren't old enough to read yet.

Ilina said...

Thanks for your awesome comments. I was expecting the hate mail to knock me down with this post. As always, you give me insight that I would never find on my own.

nikki said...

@Cyndi, I share your frustration over the Church's stance on gay marriage, but it cannot compare to my frustration with secular voters and legislators who consistently vote it down. As you probably know, there's really no one in the Church, from the Pope on down, who can actually change the theology that provides the basis for, among other things, its beliefs about the vocation of marriage. No one in the Catholic Church actually has the authority to alter its theology. That doesn't mean one can't disagree, of course, but in terms of gay marriage, I'd rather spend my time trying to convince people who are actually free to change their minds, rather than a church that couldn't do so without getting rid of its entire theology of the body and notions of sacramental marriage. I suppose it might be inconsistent of me, but I don't expect democracy from my religion as much as I expect it from my country.

Corina - Down to Earth Mama said...

Ouch. I don't know how I would have handled that particular debate at the time. It is hard. Raised Catholic myself, I know that it was beaten into our heads and highly age inappropriate videos were shown to us..... all the while not teaching us where babies came from to begin with because the teacher was too chicken shit to get past chapter 2 in our Adolescent workbook..... "the Boy with the Orange Shoelaces." (I remember this because we covered this chapter no less than 8 times (not an exaggeration.....)

I will tell you, though, that my daughter asked the whole "where do babies come from?" question when she was 4. I was honest. Well.....ok..... didn't give the SPECIFICS, but I did say that little cells that carry all daddy's characteristics combine with little cells that show all mommy's characteristics mix together. They then replicate. She was so fascinated by that, she didn't ask HOW they got mixed.

Sometimes, we need to take a step back and think before we answer a question. And that is ok. It is ok to admit that we don't have all the answers all the time. It is ok that we also admit that, while we shouldn't lie to our kids, they don't really need to know all the nuances of adult realities. They are in fact kids. We should teach them about the world and compassion and acceptance. But we should also just let them be kids. "adulthood" comes far too quickly.