I was raised in a Christian home. I’d say my mom was pretty serious about her faith and my dad was not into it at all. My dad was in the military and always gone on TDY( “temporary duty yonder”). So for me, my mom had a bigger influence on me than dad just due to her being more present than him.
My mom didn’t pressure the five of us boys to be Christians but she did build a household based on her convictions.
We watched popular shows and movies as a family as long as the language was tolerable. And whatever we could get away with watching, we watched.
We couldn’t watch videos on MTV or VH1. Any music played aloud in our home was gospel and contemporary christian.
She taught us how to pray. When we got sick, she would anoint us with olive oil and pray over us. We were taught to pray over our food and did but weren’t forced to.
We did get disciplined with belts and switches(rarely) if the wrongdoing warranted it. We never got “beat”.
As far as holidays, we stopped doing Christmas after I was 11 or so. We only did Halloween once or twice. Easter was never really part of our upbringing.
My mom believed early on that these holidays had origins in paganism. She was only partly right. She could’ve peeled back more layers on that subject.
It was somewhat restrictive.
My parents weren’t as strict as they could’ve been but our Christian upbringing probably did shelter us a bit.
I was already kinda shy and introverted and I think I can trace those traits back to my relationship with my dad. Which, I discuss that further in my post entitled “My dad and my Father”.
Couldn’t talk to girls.
My parents had a rule that we couldn’t date until we were 16. So there was that on top of me already being so shy and introverted. Both of those were a mix that kinda alienated me from popularity in one way and a social life in another way:
From popularity because all the girls thought I was cute but since I wasn’t allowed to talk to them(on the phone) or have a girlfriend, there wasn’t anything I could do about it.
And socially because other guys talked about the girls in our grade and had their girlfriends. I was just out of the loop. I was introverted as it is; not being able to socialize with girls like my peers and with them made it worse.
So, it wasn’t that we had to wait to date, it was that we couldn’t even talk to girls on the phone until 16. So, even though girls liked me, I felt I couldn’t even be friends with them because I knew that there would be some who would want more than friendship.
Because I wasn’t very much acquainted with girls, later in life I realized through experience that I didn’t know how to be just friends with them.
I lacked proper teaching.
My parents really didn’t teach me about women and the different kinds there were in this society. I can’t remember my dad ever teaching me how to treat them.
This lack of teaching and guidance about women; compounded with issues with dad led to early promiscuity for me. I lost my virginity at 14 but was already experimenting as early as 5yrs old.
You can see how much women were involved and intertwined with my Faith Walk and how much I struggled with that as you read on.
The fault in religious upbringing.
Having parents and then being a parent myself, what happens is, you approach parenthood with your morals and values(or lack thereof). And your goal is to imprint those on your kids while allowing them to be individuals and come into their own.
When you bring Faith and religion into the mix(particularly Christianity), you have the Christ figure and God and then how you perceive the Person(s).
After that, this perception and impression imprinted on you is what you end up imparting to your own kids because that’s where you would assume your morals and values are coming from.
For example, if the parent doesn’t like pizza because it makes them gassy or whatever, it’s fine and everyone else in the family can still enjoy it. But if the parent believes God is against eating any kind of pizza or its resemblance because people used to sacrifice pizza to their idols, then the whole family goes without.
And this is because the parent wants to appease God and they’d be held accountable to God for what they allow or don’t allow in their home. So, if it’s not good for [them], then it must not be good for others either.
It inhibits the person.
So because of the parent(s)’ religious convictions, the child or teen isn’t free to express themselves or discover themselves in ways because of the unnecessary and senseless restrictions of religious convictions.
Maybe a kid couldn’t express themselves through dance because dad is under the conviction that God thinks dancing is of the Devil.
I felt like I couldn’t really relate to my peers. Everything that they were into was considered “worldly”. They had girlfriends and could go to parties and listen to music that wasn’t allowed in my home.
I had a best friend that I was tight with and still am but even he grew up in a Christian home. So, we understood each other. He was far less shy than I was and cool with a lot of people. Without him, I’d have been a complete loner.
Even now, I’m learning what’s acceptable for me and what I can accept with other people. I still have a hard time relating to people and making friends. I have social anxiety that I battle with daily. My former religious beliefs are only the half of my troubles.
It’s not like I didn’t talk to anyone or know anyone. We lived near my cousins and they were not like us. They didn’t have a Christian upbringing. So, I was exposed to different things and people through them.
One of my female cousins had girlfriends that liked me. I lost my virginity to one of them and had sex with another. I had already been intimate with 4 girls by the time I was 16.
I think that as I grew older, I clung to Christianity because there were people like me that shared my worldview. I didn’t feel so alone in the world. I also felt that God could fill that aloneness. I was alone but I didn’t feel lonely because I believed God was always there.
What about you?
What was it like growing up in a religious/spiritual home for you? Was it more or less strict than what I described mine was like?
I’m curious to hear of the variety of responses. You can always comment and do subscribe. Much thanks.