I’m of the opinion that as parents we should be automatically issued with a special iPhone App called ‘Parenting Skills for Dummies’ or some such equally ridiculous title. This would be your basic starter kit package and have that wonderful App update function, an absolute necessity as I generally find that successful strategies used with my eight year old only work once or at best twice. Parents should then be able to supplement the start kit with Apps reflecting political, cultural, religious and other specialist interest and needs, as well as an App addressing local geo/social demands.
Yet again, last night, I found myself in need of such modern technological support. The issue in question related to whether or not H should go with her school to a Roman Catholic Church this morning. Although an Austrian citizen she was baptised into the Anglican Church. Her current religious views swing between a mild commitment to Anglicanism and a more God’s OK but ‘church’ is boring let go skateboarding stance. Whilst when in England she quiet enjoyed the religious education lessons, here in Vienna she has discovered that a benefit of her ‘Protestant’ faith is more free time as she does not attend Roman Catholic education classes. She’s also becoming aware, through some of her classmates, that a practical benefit of a non-religious life is (as she would say) ‘no boring church’ and ‘more free time’.
Now for simple logistical reasons H needs to go with her class to the RC Church. For cultural, religious and educational reasons this would in fact be a good experience for her. I, as a liberal, parent want H to make her own choices in the long run about faith and so wish her to develop an informed opinion. I, as a liberal parent, try to persuade my daughter to change her mind about and embrace these future benefits despite the clear and immediate advantages for her of sticking to her position. All of this is to be achieved without expressing any of my own views on the RC Church, accidentally creating a religion defining moment, not being directive (unless absolutely desperate) and being able to go back into the living room and tell her mother ‘mission accomplished’. All I will say on the debate that took place is that eight year olds are incisive debaters, anyone listening would have been in stitches of laughter, and it was ‘agreed’ with significant reluctance that H would join her classmates in Church (and no mention would be made of those getting a lie in this morning because they chose not to attend).
So if there are any App developers out there working on my ‘Parenting Skills for stressed liberal’, please get a move!