28 April 2015

Religion and Kids (...And What We Believe)

religion and kids and what we believe

Today I’m linking up with Stephanie from Wife Mommy Me for Mom Talk Tuesdays. This month’s topic is sharing faith with our children. To be perfectly honest, I was hesitant about contributing to this month’s topic for many reasons. The main one being that I feel religion and faith is such a deeply personal choice and more times than not, people’s freedom to choose what they believe, if anything at all, too easily gets put up for public scrutiny, ridicule and judgment and I’m just not a proponent of that at all. 

Having said this, I’m also not one to back down from a challenging topic so here I am. My hope is that I’m able to share my thoughts on religion and our daughter in a way that helps others to understand a different viewpoint. 

Growing up, I was raised Church of Christ, non-denominational. Michael was raised in the Jewish faith but has not been a practicing Jew during his adult life. Neither Michael nor I attend church on a weekly basis. We do not display Bibles in our home. Maddy does not have any kind of religious material to read and we do not talk to her about a heavenly being in the sky. To the outside person, we could be viewed as people who have no regard or thought for religion whatsoever.

However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

I believe in Christ and the divine plan for all mankind. Many times throughout the day, I talk and commune with the Lord and share my concerns, my joys, my wants and my needs with Him. I listen quietly for His answers. Sometimes they come right away, other times they do not but regardless, I feel His spirit with me always. My personal and private relationship with my Heavenly Father is an important aspect of my life even though from the outward appearance, may not seem so.

My belief is simply this: I don’t think sitting in a building on a weekly basis makes anyone more Christian or holier than the person who chooses not to attend a worship service, and while reading the scriptures gives us an outline and foundation to guide our lives and choices, I believe that the actions and works of a person shows what they truly believe far more than reading pages in a book. Christ lived his life as a teacher but more so, put into action what He believed by living His life as an example to others through His works, deeds and interactions with His fellow man.

And this is the main principle I hope to instill in our daughter – that faith without works is dead.

Regardless of what you choose to believe, our actions always speak louder than words. Living a Christ-like life, in my opinion, means more than going through the symbolic rituals many faiths place on their members. 

It means forgiving, even when it is hard and difficult and showing grace and love to those who wrong you. It means giving to those in need when you are in seasons of plenty, whether it is by volunteering in your community or donating to individuals or organizations. It means using your talents and gifts for the good of mankind. It means having unwavering faith, even on the hard days and when there seems to be no relief in sight. 

To me, living my life by these examples shows my daughter what true Christianity and having a relationship with Christ really means. 

In the end, I want my daughter to have the freedom to have any kind of personal relationships with Christ that she desires, regardless of what shape or form that looks like. More so, I also want her to have the freedom and the confidence to choose to believe nothing at all if that is where her heart truly lies. 

In the meantime, this is the message I instill in our daughter: 

“You are your own divine person.  God made you in His image so you are beautiful in every way.  Love and forgive those who taunt and make fun of you – they need it the most.  Weak people lash out at those who are strong and able.  You have been blessed with much so much will be expected of you.  Live not to please others, but live to make a difference in the world; every day you live you will be leaving your mark on the world and the people you come in contact with – make your impression positive and make it count.  Through the gifts and talents you have been blessed with use them to be an inspiration and a tool for teaching others.  If I could protect you from every bad thing in the world I would gladly take on all the pain and sadness you will one day be forced to endure…unfortunately most of it will come from the hands of others but know this – No one else’s feelings or words can have power over you and at the end of the day, it’s not eternal to your destiny.”

Living a life by example and good deeds. What could be more Christ-like than that?


Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup
Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup

Courtney is a published author, mom, taco enthusiast, and a Star Wars and Tennessee Volunteers fanatic. She's never met a piece of sushi she didn’t like and enjoys an amazing glass of wine and a great cut of meat. You can read more of her wine-induced, sleep-deprived adventures on The Huffington Post and Scary Mommy.


  1. What a great topic for discussion!!! And by that I mean how we share with our kids, not what we believe. Every person is entitled to their own beliefs! Thanks for sharing yours!

  2. I feel similarly about going to church/temple/place of worship, so it's refreshing to see this! You are so right, it is in our actions that children see our faith, not just in words.

  3. Laura Powell-CorbettApril 28, 2015 at 1:08 PM

    I think both of your pictures sum up faith for me. Lovely post xx

  4. I wish more people had this few of faith! Beautifully written!

  5. Desiree @ Macke MonologuesApril 28, 2015 at 7:47 PM

    A-freaking-men. While we attend church every Sunday there are so.many.Sundays where I question the actual point of us being there. Most of the time I'm pulling from my bag of tricks to try to keep quite, all the while, sweating profusely because I am so stressed out that the little man is making too much noise/annoying those around us, etc. We try so hard to do good deeds, and I truly hope that those deeds, actions, reflections, are what Marcus remembers and carries forth. While I understand the idea of being in church each week, simply attending does not make us more Christ-like. What we DO makes the impact.
    LOVED this, Courtney. LOVED. I need my husband to read this. For real.

  6. Courtney PattersonApril 29, 2015 at 8:05 AM

    Thanks so much, friend. That means a lot to me. I hope you guys are having a great week!

  7. Courtney PattersonApril 29, 2015 at 8:05 AM

    Thanks, Kay. And thanks so much for reading!

  8. Courtney PattersonApril 29, 2015 at 8:07 AM

    Thanks, Laura and thanks for reading!

  9. Courtney PattersonApril 29, 2015 at 8:10 AM

    Here's a little known fact about me: I used to be a practicing Mormon. I converted in my mid twenties but after I got divorced, I quit. I was out. There were certain aspects of it that I really liked but as a whole and as a woman, I was treated very poorly for my decision to leave the church even though my husband at the time had done things not so "Godly." I couldn't reconcile it in my mind how *I* was supposed to be the bad one when he had done questionable things as well. No thanks. Thanks for reading, Angie!

  10. Courtney PattersonApril 29, 2015 at 8:10 AM

    Thanks Jess! I really appreciate that. Hope you're having a good week. XO

  11. Courtney PattersonApril 29, 2015 at 8:11 AM

    Thank you Kassi, and thanks so much for reading!

  12. Living out your faith in action is what it's all about I agree. That's the biggest problem with "religion" imo, too many actions and not enough heart. They really go hand in hand.

  13. Oh interesting! Yeah, there are things about it I liked... I like that it makes family important, and I like the focus on community... But for me there was too much judgement and bigotry that just totally outweighed anything good for me. When I left I was told it was a phase, but honestly? It was the best decision I ever made. I'm so much happier without all the drama and the judgement in my life!