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Childrearing

I’m Not Baptizing My Children To Appease Religious Family Members

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I m Not Baptizing My Children To Appease Religious Family Members 496878349 jpgI consider myself a very spiritual person. I have beliefs about higher powers and such, they just don’t align with any organized religion that I’ve found so far. I was baptized Greek Orthodox, but I wasn’t raised with regular visits to church. We went two days a year — on Greek Easter Eve and on Christmas Eve. It has never occurred to me to baptize my children. As of right now, it’s not something I plan on doing.

I totally understand parents who are not really religious but opt to perform this ritual anyway. Some people like rituals, and some people are trying to appease their parents. I understand the latter as motivation, my mother — although not overwhelmingly religious — has repeatedly mentioned the fact that my children are not baptized, and even tried to plan one for my son twice.

The first time my best friend in New York planned on visiting my family after we moved, my mom decided that we would plan a baptism, and he would be the godfather. I learned this little tidbit the same time my friend did, when my mom took the phone from my hands and told him she was so excited for him to come because now he could be my child’s godfather. That was the second time she had planned a baptism, the first one was a few months after my son was born when she informed me she found a cute little church where we could baptize him and my brother-in-law could be his godfather.

I ignored her. Clearly that didn’t work.

After the last attempt at planning a baptism, I simply told her that I had no plans to baptize my children and could she please stop planning the event. She has not brought it up since.

I’m not against religious rituals. There are aspects of religion I love: the stories, the iconography. But when it comes to my own children, I don’t want to participate in a ritual that many people think is sacred just for the sake of doing it. I am not compelled to baptize my children. Maybe they will grow to be more religious than I am and seek this ritual out for themselves. I will fully support them if they do. But for now, no – I will not be planning any baptisms to appease a family member.

(photo: Getty Images)

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