When I wrote about my decision to send my kids to a private religious school (much to my husband’s chagrin) in The Jewish Week I admitted that a lot of my decision was born out of a sense of guilt, a sense of duty, and a sense to continue the journey of my ancestors and keep the religion, culture and customs alive and well in the hearts of my kids.
And I am happy and feel really good about my decision… unfortunately my husband not so much. But my husband is a mumble under his breath kind of a guy– who has never really believed in religion of any kind. I guess you could call him agnostic– I think he believes a higher power exists– but that it’s unnecessary to subscribe to customs in order to appease this power. That just being a good person and following the basic tenets of humankind should be enough to propel you through this life.
While I respect his beliefs and have never asked him to do anything he’s uncomfortable with- (okay perhaps that’s not ENTIRELY true) I’ve ultimately never tried to foist my religious inclinations and feelings onto him (and trust me – that has been difficult!) it’s gotten to a point where, he’s begun to belittle the hard work my nine year old daughter is committing to her religious education. And here’s the thing that really upsets me– my daughter- LOVES her school- she gets such a satisfaction ad sense of belonging- and has a real affinity for the language and the biblical studies. But having my husband’s snide comments and outward disdain for what she’s doing has certainly put a damper on her enthusiasm and general love for her learning.
I am unsure how to handle this- other than telling my husband to keep his unflattering comments to himself. I’ve tried to explain to my daughter that while we might believe in G-d and religion- Daddy doesn’t (which SUCKS on so many levels, but I digress)… I’m trying to be honest with her– and yet it’s breaking my heart and I get the sense that it’s fracturing her yet untainted belief and passion for the subjects she’s learning. But I also know that I cannot make a 52-year-old man change his fundamental belief system; certainly not at this stage of the game…