"Heavenly Father doesn't want me to wear a Zucchini" said my 5 year old step daughter this weekend.
My initial reaction was "Huh!"
And then I realised she was looking at an old photograph of herself taken this summer where she was wearing a bikini. Things were starting to make a little bit more sense.
I was still confused as to where she might get the idea that God would not want her to go swimming. It is one of her favourite things to do so whenever we have the children we try to take them swimming if there is enough time, so I wasn't sure why she suddenly thought that swimming was bad. But it turned out that it wasn't swimming that was bad but just the wearing of the bikini. Now I can understand the logic of this. I'm sure there will be a time in the future where I might suggest to her myself that what she is wearing is inappropriate, even if I do feel that at the age of 5 this attitude might be a tad premature I still respect the right for someone else to have a different opinion on the matter. But what I don't understand was why her step mother would use God as the controlling factor in this instance.
I admit I am not the most godly of people, but despite what I may have said here in the past in jest I am respectful of other people's beliefs. But I cannot understand it when people will not take responsibility for themselves, for their own rules, and instead prefer to have a 5 year old and a 3 year old scared of what God might do to them.
I am new to parenting myself. Up until March of this year I had no experience of parenting so I can understand how difficult it is to parent and how difficult it might be to be accepted as a step parent by children. I know from experience that I am not as relaxed about parenting as my wife is, or their real father is. I see dangers everywhere. Knifes, scissors, crowds, flip flops going awry are just some of the some of the things that scare me as a new parent. But I make rules when the children are with me to help limit the dangers. Sometimes I am the bad guy as a result. I hate being the bad guy, and sometimes I admit I can take it personal but I prefer to take on that role if it limits some of the dangers out there when the kids are under my protection.
As much as I do not like it when my step children misbehave I would much rather them to think of God as loving and take full responsibility myself for the rules that I set in the house and anything that may happen because of it. I cannot understand why anyone would want young children to be frightened of God. In my view it goes against the whole spirit of religion. And its so 18th century.