Religion – A Personal Choice
According to a dictionary meaning religion is the belief in worship of a superhuman controlling power,that is god or gods.
We are not going into the details of the philosophy of religion or its definition. Since it affects the life of children, we are only concerned with the practical aspect of religion in our day to day life. According to a rough estimate about 70% people in India have faith in the existence of some ‘superior form’ which controls mankind. In most families some form of acknowledgement is made which amounts to a prayer to the ultimate maker of the universe. The children acquire the same notions which they see within the four walls of their house. The parents must imbibe in their children the respect for the religion followed in their family. The stories of great religious masters can be narrated to the children right from childhood so that they gain knowledge of the rich cultural and social background of the country. This applies to the families where both parents follow the same religious practices.
There are many households these days, where the parents got married according to inter-caste or inter religious practices. In the case of inter-caste marriages, there may not be any conflict about the religious practices followed by the parents. It is generally seen in such conditions that parents do not follow only one religion. Both religions are given equal respect and importance. This is a very wise step. The children also tend to have equal faith in both religions.
But in inter religious marriages the question arises which religion the children should follow. In the case of families where husband and wife believe in different religions it is wise not to trust any one religion on the children. It must be left to the children to follow the religion they want to.
I would like to share my personal experience here. I and my husband are from different States.(He is from South and I am from North). We celebrate festivals like Onam and Vishu with the same spirit, as we celebrate Holi and Diwali. Our daughter was sent to a Convent school, where she learnt prayers of Christianity. There was a big Church within the compound of the school. Our daughter used to visit the Church before she went to school. She loved to read the Bible and other books pertaining to Christianity. We never dissuaded her from going to the Church or reading books of Christianity. As she grew, we found her to be very gentle, sweet tempered and a believer of all religions. Today she is a Doctor who treats her patients with utmost love, affection and care.
Religion is the personal choice of a person. We must not interfere or thrust upon the children the religion of our belief. The aim should be that the child becomes a good human being.
Usha Menon, a 77-years-old retired educationist, who has four sweet, adorable grandchildren. Last year she wrote a book,”Reverse Gear.” This book is a sort of analogy between her professional and personal life, depicting the travails, ups and downs faced by an average working woman. As a retired person, She is leading a contented life with a loving husband, devoted son, daughter-in-law and two grand daughters. Her doting daughter, son-in-law, and two grand sons, who are very affectionate, look after her and her husband. She is grateful to God that He has, in His grace, given her an opportunity to live a life of peaceful contentment.