Since opening this blog there is one thing I’ve never really written about. My childhood. Especially my childhood after mother became a born again fundamentalist. I was about ten years old when that happened and she was dead by the fall of my 14th year. By the time of her death she considered me the “devil’s own” and was convinced that my brothers and I were going straight to Hell.
Our younger sister though, who knew nothing but fundamentalism, was the apple of her eye and was a fundamentalist herself by then. I’m not going to lie, I utterly despised my younger sister by then. She was mean, hateful and her favourite sport was bullying non-Christian kids, including the little brother of my then best friend, a Jehovah Witness.
Though I got custody of her when she was in high school I’d say we’ve honestly only truly liked each other for about the last few years or so. Last year I accompanied her to Mississippi to attend a funeral where I was permanently disowned for continuing to be an atheist.
My sister who witnessed the final fight between Linda and I decided to come back to Houston with my daughter and I where she finished out her vacation. During the course of her stay we got to talking about our childhood and some of the things that happened.
It was during one of those conversations that she dropped a bombshell and I finally understood just how horrible of a life our mother put our sister through. I’ve known for years that religion, especially fundamentalism, is extremely destructive, it never occurred to me to think of my sister as being one of the destroyed who turned into a destroyer.
She told me that the reason she hated me and made my life as miserable as she could for a little sister was because, unlike her, I wasn’t afraid of Hell.
I was not convinced I was the evil monster our mother insisted that I was simply because I was human. She, on the other hand, believed every nasty thing that ever came out of that woman’s mouth and it made her furious that other’s didn’t live in fear of waking up in Hell like her. She wanted to claw all our eyes out over it.
The reason I decided to write this post is because of this post by a fundamentalist woman who is joyful that her four year old daughter whom she refers to as a “wretched little girl” who would so obviously love to hear her mother praise her without conditions just once it’s heartbreaking has decided she can never be a good girl without Jesus.
O wretched little girl she is, who will deliver her from her body of death.
First thing in the morning my 4 year old daughter normally says to me, “I am going to be a good girl today mummy”. When she says this she really means it, and I can see how she longs to finish even just one day in her life without doing anything wrong. However my daughter knows as well as I do that within at the least an hour of saying she is going to be good, that promise will be broken. Sometimes during the day or before bed, she always asks me if she has been good, and I always try to be as honest as I can with her, and I will tell her what she has done wrong if I can remember. If she has been better than usual I will praise her and tell her.
I have never said to her she has been a perfect little girl who has done nothing wrong all day, If I say that to her then I am a liar and I will be doing her more harm than good. I do not believe in teaching children self esteem or that they should feel good about themselves, because they should not. My daughter is a normal 4 year old who loves to play with her dolls and dress up, but everyday she finds that she is doing things that are wrong like doing something to upset her baby brother or not doing what she is told by her mum.
So we have a problem, and this is an everyday battle. The problem is sin. I never taught my daughter to sin. This is because she, and as well as the rest of the human race have inherited a sinful nature from Adam. From the moment we are conceived we are sinners, Pslam 57:5. We are born with a desire to sin. We are all born God hating and evil.
However this morning my daughter shocked and amazed me. As usual first thing when she woke up today she said, ” I am going to be a good girl today mummy” , and I nodded and said, “OK”. She was quiet for a while as if in deep thought then she said, ” But mummy, everyday I try and I want to be a good girl, but I can’t do it. I can’t be a good girl”. I didn’t know what to say to her at this point so I asked her why she could not do it. ” Because there is only one person who can ever help me to be good”, she said.
So not knowing where this was going and a little confused by what my daughter was saying, I asked her who it is who would help her to be a good girl, thinking maybe she was going to say me, she said- Jesus. Yes my four year old daughter told me that the only person who would ever help her to be a good girl was Jesus Christ, because she could not do it on her own. I have never told her this. I would have thought this is too deep for a four year old to understand. That she was a sinner, she could not control her sinful nature.
My little sister is the grown up version of this little girl. My sister, though a agnostic deist now, still struggles with thinking she’s ugly inside as well as out and that she is undeserving of love and respect. She learned it from our mother who spent nine years telling her she was a bad girl by pointing out every flaw she could find, real or imagined.
Children should not think they’re incapable of being decent people. No one, regardless of their relationship to the child, should be praised for doing this to a child. It is wrong. It is abuse. It should not be accepted nor tolerated.