Raised in religion we were told a very specific set of rules and the principles and or “tenents” of whatever faith system we were a part of.
Kids are authentic naturally, and in touch with their feelings and bodies. The instincts we picked up on as children are what matter because we actually could tell what mattered.
You can say God is loving, god is loving, god is loving, to your kids until you’re blue in the face, and they will believe you because they are trusting, but they will also energetically take in what that means to you, especially if they sense the fear attached. Kids follow your actions, motives, responses.
Take for example the doctrine of hell.
Most religions would try to justify its existence with complex philosophy, or some other type of explanation, but ask any ex religious person and they will tell you how confusing, terrifying, and traumatic that belief can be, even when prefaced with an incredible god who had already saved you. It’s very existence in the mind of a child makes some things clear:
There is some possibility that I could end up there, and whether I do or not, I am told that I am so bad that I deserve it, which just brings that place of torture so much closer to home.
The basics are this:
There is a god all powerful, all knowing, and all present. This god made a place of torture for someone who was on his side but decided to go a different direction with things. god then decided that place would be for anyone who disagrees with him.
He told me I deserve to go there, but that he loves me so he’d rather not, so I better follow all the rules and stay close to and keep him happy so he doesn’t “have” to send me there.
The idea of being so bad someone had to die to make you okay is damaging.
It comes out in everything you do, how you do it, how you feel about it, how you feel about yourself, how you treat the people around you.
If you live your life with this idea that you are not good enough as you are, you will be in constant need to prove that you are okay. You will live from a place of shame, which is psychologically impossible to grow and heal under. We can develop ways to cope, usually a form of Fight, Flight, or Fawn.
Back to what matters most: Embodied beliefs. ie: Beliefs we have integrated.
We all experience embodied beliefs, it is how we operate.
I like to ask the question to my interviewee’s on the podcast: “what did you feel was important within your religion, as a kid.”
You cannot teach kids with words, what you teach as a parent is embodied. If you are living from a place of worthiness, authenticity, and love, your kids will pick up on that, they will start to live with similarly embodied qualities.
If you live with fear of hell, fear of an angry god, a belief that you are unworthy to live without god, and therefore from a place of shame, that is what you will pass on.
I don’t give a fuck how noble the adult intentions are, you will not be passing on those tenets of the faith, you will be passing on shame, pain, and unhealed trauma patterns and the faith part may or may not stick.
I write this as a parent to a three year old. I know deeply that I am human, and that I will pass on less than helpful behaviors and ideas and beliefs. I also know that my daughter will see it’s okay to be human, to change her mind, to make mistakes and be okay, and she will not have her parents ideas attached to a god that could torture her forever for making a mistake.
My whole purpose in writing this is to say that Integrating and then consequently embodying things that matter to you is so important.
Instead of letting those things just happen, you can choose what you will embody, you can take one thing at a time and deeply learn it, integrate it, let it wash over you, study it, act it out, drink it in so that you can embody it.
Within our culture of consumption it can be easy to continue to feel rushed in adopting new ideas and philosophies, but that is how we got here in the first place. That rush to adopt an idea and assume it’s okay had many of our parents adopting ideas like hell, and an angry god who is pissed about masturbation, without giving their bodies and minds time to really see if that fits.
My advice to myself and everyone else is:
SLOW DOWN. What do you need right now? There is your lesson, and you can take your time with it.
Sign up for emailing list HERE and don't miss a post!