Yesterday, I filled out some registration form for my son. There was again this one box that always brings smile on my face- religion. It’s a tiny box, perfect for a few letters. However, in our case there are few letters more than usual. He is Catholic. He is Sikh. He is Catholic-Sikh or Sikh-Catholic (whatever choice you prefer).
We are multicultural, multilingual, interracial and multireligious family. Our son is typical Global Citizen -> you can read more here My little global citizen-raising multicultural child
I’m Catholic. My whole family (close and far) is Catholic. My husband is Sikh. His whole family (close and far) is Sikh. We are not fundamentalists, but we like our religions- their traditions, rituals and values. This is how we were brought up by our parents and this is what we would like to pass on to our children.
There is only one solution- to combine both faiths and create fabulous fusion of religions 🙂
We are blessed to understand each other so well from beginning and agree to embrace both faiths in our family. There was never a topic of conversion from one religion to another. I’m not saying conversion is something bad, no no. I would probably consider that if I had to. Luckily, I didn’t have to. My husband and his family accepted me they way I am- white Catholic European girl.
Living in an interfaith family is a choice. The same choice as choosing one dominant religion or no religion. Although some of you might not agree, I consider our decision as the right one. It can only benefit and enrich our child. It will make him open minded and unprejudiced. It will teach him to respect faiths other than Sikhism and Catholicism as we do not consider any religion being greater than others. They all have equal status.
We will never push our son to maintain his interfaith status in the future. He is free to believe in whatever he wants. He might choose to be just Sikh or just Catholic. He might even convert into Judaism, Islam, Buddhism or become atheist. That’s his and only his decision. We just want him to know and respect his parents’ religions.
Living in the UK helps a lot to maintain both faiths on the same, equal level. There are large Polish and Indian communities. There are Polish Churches (Catholic Churches but with Polish as main language) and Sikh Gurudwaras. We live relatively close to both and we visit them as often as we want. It doesn’t mean I go to Church every Sunday (as I should…), but let’s say- once a month. Similarly, we visit Gurudwara once a month or whenever there is any festival or we just want to pray for something/say thank you/take blessings.
We celebrate together all festivals- Easter, Christmas, Ash Wednesday, Diwali, Gurpurab, Baisakhi etc. We often share these beautiful moments with family or friends. We do all necessary preparations for each festival like buying certain things/gifts, cleaning house, cooking, dressing accordingly. Once, we celebrated Easter in India 🙂 and Diwali in Poland 🙂
Some people might believe that two religions under one roof must contradict. It’s not true at all. In fact, we have completely opposite situation. They complement each other. They both bring various rituals, traditions, but on the other hand, they both share similar or even the same values. It’s wonderful to see your child being surrounded by both of them.
We do our best and we are pretty sure our son won’t be confused in the future. Our religions are quite different, yet they represent the same values. Although he is only 3 years old, he can say prayers in Polish and in Punjabi by heart. He knows how to behave in Church and in Gurudwara. We want to make sure he feels comfortable (almost like at home) in both places of worship. He has to be familiar with Catholic/Sikh rituals, prayers and theology to feel like I’m one of them. So far, he can clearly see the difference between them, but he is not aware about his interfaith heritage.
The most important thing is we want to raise him as a confident person, proud of his multicultural and multireligious heritage.
God is one.
(On the first photo- shelf in our main room)
What about your family? Do you follow one religion or maybe you live in interfaith family like us? Share your story, I’m sure it will be an interesting one 🙂