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Wednesday, January 29, 2014


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I'm just amazed that people actually have the nerve to write you and criticize Carson's beliefs and/or your and Rudy's interaction with her on that topic. I would have a lot of words, and none of them would be very nice, for anyone who tried to give me direction in that regard, unless it was Jesus Himself. I wouldn't even accept that sort of interference from a church pastor. You owe nobody outside your own family an explanation. This world we live in is tough on young people, but Carson seems to be a strong young lady, and I'm sure she will find her way regardless.

Look, this is what I think. If you go through life, in general, most of the time (because none of us are perfect), treating others (all living things) as well or better than you would hope they treat you, you will lead a good life. That is our only obligation on this earth. Personally I believe in an afterlife because I would hate to think that such fabulous people like us don't just carry on in the next room once we shuffle off this particular stage. Worry about the state and future of Carson's soul? People must have a lot of time on their hands.

Thank you for being parents who let your child be open to the world and deciding for themselves what they believe. I cannot imagine writing you and telling you anything about how you should or shouldn't raise your child,

I was raised in a uber religious home. My Mother did not and does not practice hypocrisy, but Christianity...which is unlike the remaining 99% of the church. I was made to go to Church every Sunday morning abd evening, and again on Wednesday night, until I was out of school. I don't what's out there or what's not out there for sure. I don't know and I have serious questions and doubt about everything I was brought up to believe. I don't know if there's a Heaven or Hell. Although, I'm pretty sure Hell can easily exist here on Earth...look around. The thing is, they are my beliefs and disbeliefs. They have nothing to do with anyone else on this planet. I have no place to judge and I won't be judged by someone else. I for one applaud Carson, because only by asking the right questions, will you get the right answers.

Yes Yes and Yes.

I will never forget our early conversations, Linda, right after my dad passed away, and the "refreshing" perspective that Carson took on death and dying. In the midst of my grief, THAT image brought me comfort. And in the years since, I have shared that child's innocence and wisdom with many patients and their families, and many have been awed by the simplicity and the innocent beauty of the image. That was my first gift from you - and from Carson - and I'll never ever forget it.

Ya know, I walked away from the Catholic church when I moved out of my Mom's house back in the 70s. It is only recently that I've started going back to mass and now that I am older and both Mom and Da passed on, it comforts me. I did not raise my children Catholic, I was married to a Baptist who later became a Jehovah's Witness(yeah the journey? Not easy.) and he was fiercely militant about raising the kids in his faith. Fast forward to now and neither one goes to ANY church at all. And that's okay with me, because Linda you said it. The key here is the JOURNEY. Carson is on her journey, just like my kids, me and you and Rudy are on YOUR journeys. From everything I read on this blog you've raised along with your spouse 3 lovely young women who will contribute to this world in many wonderful ways. I live in TX myself and sometimes get overwhelmed at the false religiosity(especially in the Lege) that seems to be in the air we breathe here. It stifles and for those of us who don't believe their brand of Christianity it grates on the nerves. Carson will be okay, because I really think the connection is still there, a bit battered but there nonetheless.

Damn, I got chills reading the first part of this about Carson's "connection" when she was younger.

Like everyone else, I cannot fathom anyone writing to you about how you bring up your children, unless is it to congratulate you. I JUST DON'T GET people inserting themselves into some else's life that way. Thank goodness no one ever tried to tell me how to raise my children-spiritually or otherwise.

(As an aside: I tried to make my oldest attend confirmation classes when he didn't want to. The very wise priest advised me against it. He said my son was old enough at 15 to decide such things for himself, and forcing him to go was foolish.)

Oh, and I wanted to add to that last thought...my dad taught Sunday School for the high schoolers at our Lutheran church back in the late 60's and early 70's, and focused the studies on the beliefs of all different religions and belief systems. Really something unheard of back then for someone to be teaching other belief systems as well. But he pointed out to his students it was important they understood what others believe (and maybe even something they would reject) in order to truly believe in what they are accepting to believe in. Not sure if that makes sense. Anyway, one of his students from back in those days was the organist for our wedding in 2000 and told us the story of my dad and his lessons. She said reflecting back on that and the time (60s/70s), she really felt this only made her own beliefs stronger. We really, as a society, should focus on exactly what that boiled down to...acceptance of all. I mean, isn't that what God would want of us anyway? I don't know Carson, but what I do know of you Linda, I can only guess she is an incredible person!

I like to think God judges us based on the life we lead rather than on how many times we plopped our butts down on a wooden bench.

Thank you for all the nice words about Carson. Those that have actually met her, know what she is like.

Rudy and I never wanted to force (or expose) our young children to religion, because young children lack the ability to reason, are easily frightened, and terribly literal. Our daughters have been raised to be explorers, both in the physical world, and the emotional world. Should they come to something on their own, it will be on their terms, because something resounds within them. Not because they were "exposed" as small children.

I see every day the results of early, and continued, exposure to religion. It creates a false sense of "rightness," develops kids who bully with their "faith," and I know MANY teens who think because they have accepted Jesus as their Savior they can act with impunity. What they get up to makes my stomach turn. But they believe it's all ok because they have been taught that they have some inside track.

This particular column gave me some sort of weird peace. I get it. I totally get it. Carson is a very special person. Her connectedness shines through in her wise eyes and smile. It is hers to question, and do whatever else with it she chooses. Her ability to endure all she has is a testament (pun intended)to an inner strength that belies her years. Her "purpose" may not be clear to everyone, but that is okay. She has already been a "blessing" (more punny stuff) to her family and friends and despite significant challenges, has risen (more pun) to the occasion over and over and OVER again! She is so smart, intuitive, talented and funny and will absolutely be fine.period.

I am not talking about anyone else, only me...I was raised in the Baptist church - not the stricter Southern Baptist, but a slightly more liberal Independent Baptist. My family was not uber religious, but we went every Sunday until I went away to college. My father never attended, my mother still goes weekly, and my sister eventually went back, although she goes to a progressive non-denominational church now. I know what I believe in, even though I don't actively attend now. And many here, as a result of attending when they were younger, also know what they do NOT believe in.

I think it is beneficial for children to be introduced to church at a young age, so they can hear some of the stories and understand some of the basic teachings and principles and then CHOOSE FOR THEMSELVES. This is the same way I feel about putting young kids into sports or making them at least try to eat all kinds of foods. I think children should be exposed to the sights, sounds, flavors, etc., of as much as possible in life so the child has a bit of foundation from which to make their own decisions. And sometimes that means the parents have to take them to church, get them to play on the team, or eat something they find distasteful at least once.

I think it's hard to get the real, full flavor of the "religious" viewpoint having never attended. Heaven knows that looking outside-in now days, with the way some "church goers" carry on, would be enough to scare some people off. But not everyone or every church is like that and most are not fanatics - just have found something that gives them personal comfort.

That doesn't mean I think anyone who doesn't raise their kids my way is bad or wrong. It's just the way I thought I would have handled it should I have had kids.

People never cease to amaze me. How anyone who has ever read your blog could doubt the light that shines from each member of your family is beyond me. I think actions are much more important than words written in a book. And your actions speak volumes. Love you!

I was raised going to church, and I too made the same decision as Linda (and many others here) upon reaching adulthood. I also promised myself I would allow my children to do the same. It frustrates me to no end to hear people pass judgment on this topic. It's the epitome of hypocrisy.

I can't believe anyone who follows you, and by extension, your family, could think anything but the best of Carson! She is an amazing young woman with a love of people and a great heart, not to mention a bucket-load of talent.

As you said, each person's journey is their own. I have three kids, and they are in three different places regarding faith and their belief (or lack thereof) in God, and that's ok. It's not my job to dictate to them what they SHOULD believe.

Bless you and Rudy for letting your girls come to their own understanding

Linda, like you I quit going to church when I got old enough to move out of my parents home. I never quit believing in a higher power, but refuse to believe that one group of people are the only ones that are right about what to call that power.
As such, I never insisted my girls go to church. They each in their own way are still searching for what they want to believe. The go to different churches with friends and I don't tell them to go, or not to go.
I have been told by people that I am not raising my children right, and that I am going to be the one at fault when they go to hell after they die (yes, someone actually said that to me). I don't think I have done them an injustice in not cramming something down their throat that is best discovered on your own.
I always thought I was alone in thinking like this until I found your blog and all the people that read it. Thank you for that.

Oh bah!! I get criticized a lot about the fact that we are raising our children NOT believing in a Christian or Jewish God. People worry about their souls being damned. Ugh!!!! Their souls are theirs!!! And they are 3 of the most beautiful souls I have ever encountered. Just because one person's path is not the same as the next's does not make it the wrong path. There are many ways to climb a mountain and many spots to watch the sun rise and set.

May Carson have a blessed journey, I, for one, am not worried about her for her light will shine wherever she goes.

And death is singular thing. So anyone who tells me where I'm going after I die because I didn't do this or that, or believe this or that (which according to them, is required to get that golden ticket to Heaven), my FAITH and my singular relationship wiht God will get me there.

...and I may not see some of them there!! :-D

I go to church every Sunday (and sometimes on weekdays). My husband and my daughter stay home and do whatever they want.... go to the park together, play video games, read books... it's up to them. I choose to attend church. They choose NOT to, and it never crosses my mind to demand they go with me or to be pissed off because they don't. Once and a while, they go - but it's their decision, and it happens MAYBE once a year. Doesn't matter.

My husband and my daughters are not going to Hell (something I don't really believe in, anyway) because they don't go to church with me, or belong to an organized religion. My husband was raised in an environment where he was FORCED to attend daily services and sing in the choir (boarding school in England, y'know). As an adult, he chooses to abstain from religion. That's fine with me. My daughter will decide for herself if she wants to follow a religious belief system. If she asks questions, I answer her or provide her with guidance to the answers in books. But I don't tell her what to believe, or tell her that questioning is wrong.

Carson (like ALL of your family) is a lovely human being with a beautiful spirit that shines in everything she does; everything she touches. That's all that matters. Nothing else matters.


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