Imagine you're driving home from church, temple, mosque, when your 15-year-old suddenly says something that has you ducking for cover in fear that God will unleash a lightning bolt intended for your teen.
After years of attending church services, your obedient teenager expresses her desire to no longer attend services. Not because he or she hates going, but because he or she doesn't share your beliefs and those of the church.
Your head spins at this revelation. How will you respond? This definitely creates a problem. Particularly if there are younger siblings in the family who will no doubt use the "Why do I have to go and Susie doesn't?" approach.
But let's consider the ramifications of your child's issue. Forcing her to continue attending religious services trivializes her developing sense of self and tells her that your beliefs are more important than hers. Not the best idea, especially for teens who are prone to rebellion when forced to conform to a parent's ideals.
Personally, I wouldn't want my kid going through religious motions simply to make me feel better.
The impact of a child's absence at church would be great in a devout family. Maybe even a reflection, as some might perceive, of a parent's failure. And for those who see it as such, the issue becomes more about the parent's desires and not those of the child.
Perhaps, when faced with a child's wish to follow their own path, we embrace it by simply encouraging and exemplifying the purest form of faith. Good thoughts, good words and good deeds.
What means would you use to resolve this issue? Would you see it as an affront to your religious beliefs?