Friday, 30 December 2011

What do you believe?

Around Christmas time we have been learning about what different people believe.

This is a mural in the park near our house. It's a church but there are lots of different kinds of churches in the world, lots of different religions and lots of different things that people believe in.

The book 'What Do You Believe' is helping us understand all the different things that people believe.

photo from Booktopia

Recently we stayed at Nan Tien Temple. It is the largest Buddhist temple in the southern hemisphere. We learnt a bit about Buddha and rubbed his tummy and made a wish. Next we are going to visit Lakemba Mosque. It is is one of the largest Mosques in Australia. This is where people who are Muslim go. Our friend R is Muslim (we are only using initials for our friends' names). Then we are going to visit The Great Synagogue where Jewish people go. Our friend G is Jewish.
We have already been to a Catholic Church. Our Grandma is Catholic. We are also going to visit the Metropolitan Community Church where our friend M goes. This church calls itself an inclusive Christian church, which means they welcome all kinds of different people who are Christian.

We might come back and tell you what it has been like learning about what different people believe.


  1. hi violet and adelaide, we have gone to a christening at a mormon church. when she was christened she held her nose. i made a new friend at narooma. her name is kirstin. i like your blog i hope you like the rest of the holidays. love from clementine xoxoxo

  2. lemonade learners9 January 2012 at 00:22

    Hi Clementine,

    we have not been to one of those types of churches before. I want to go to one of those churches too.

  3. Hi girls, We love your blog. Well I love your blog. The boys are asleep and I am doing some home schooling. I really loved the pictures of the street art. And Arden and Torin, who are serious devotees of garbage bins, will love that you have not tried to remove them from the photos. And on the subject of what different people believe, I would like to know what you both believe ? I will ask Torin and post it here.

  4. Lemonade Learners3 February 2012 at 01:20

    Hi Kathryn,

    That is a very good question - Melita is writing an answer. And the answer is we are working it out. Your question is the reason we started writing this post. I was raised Catholic, but I am not Catholic anymore. I think I believe in a lot of Christian values, but I am unsure about God. I think teaching children about faith, religion and belief is very important but very difficult as they find a lot of the concepts difficult to grasp. As a family, we believe in kindness and respect for all creatures, to be honest and to share. As a family, we think it's important to understand and respect that there are many different religions and beliefs. We hope that by exploring and talking about this topic, we can understand ourselves and others better.

  5. We're an atheist household, but religion is a common conversational topic. In fact, conversation - real talk, not just lecturing or hectoring - is at the heart of this. Both children, but particularly my school-aged son, ask many questions about gods and myths. Sometimes dinner conversation is taken up by the beliefs of Christians or Egyptians, instead of Star Wars and table manners. I point out my own beliefs - hard not to, as a philosopher - but the kids still enjoy the stories. As my son and I walk to school, I often tell tales from myth and legend, e.g. Homer's Odyssey, Ovid's Metamorphoses, stories from the Old and New Testaments. We've not visited synagogues or Buddhist temples, but we have been to Melbourne's cathedrals (one of which I've written on, in the new (inside) magazine). Play also has a role in this: building Homeric boats and Greek temples, Egyptian pyramids. We've not built a cathedral or mosque, but this is a good idea: as Bachelard noted, the miniature has an immensity to it. I'd prefer our kids to have secular, but not blinkered or dogmatic, lives.

  6. Lemonade Learners8 February 2012 at 02:18

    Thank you, Damon. A great comment. I think I will officially say we are agnostic. I think it's the lack of clarity about how to label ourselves that has been bothering me. Like you, I don't want my children to have blinkered or dogmatic lives, so for me, it seems important to educate them about spirituality and faith, especially since we have friends of so many faiths.

  7. It's interesting this idea of a familial identity. My partner and I come from similar catholic backgrounds but have diverged since then. She is Irish catholic and I am a local. After attending mass in Ireland, I think I got the long end of the stick. So now I would think she would see herself as atheist ? I don't think I can describe my belief in one word. If I see god it is in the natural order of the world and the pulse that seems to connect us. I believe in the synchronicity, the unconscious, the collective unconscious and all that jazz. I believe we have a soul, not just a body and a mind. But when you say "we are agnostic", does that describe who you all are ? My eldest son at this point thinks that when we die , that's it. He knows, I speak to my departed friends and family for help when I am in crisis. So I am struck by this idea that a household is catholic, atheist, agnostic. I am constantly explaining the differences between what I believe, what my partner believes etc etc....I am also struck by how difficult it is (for me at least) to put this stuff out there. I suppose tolerance is what I hope to teach my children...

  8. P.S. I told my 7 year old son what I had written here. I asked him, so what do you believe in ? He said "I believe in Lollyland". :)

  9. I have just viewed a link "" which I found very inspiring and resonated deeply with what we were talking about here. Take a look. The scientist talks about the ULTRA DEEP FIELD experiment that the Hubble Telescope did. Check it out.

    1. Thank you! It turns out I am a Possibilian! Also, I take your earlier point about imposing an identity upon your family. I think as a parent, you create a family culture, and children are part of this culture. I hope I can create conditions where my children feel part of our overall family culture, but have the freedom and power to make their own choices about what they believe in - not just religion, but anything, and still feel a secure sense of belonging in our family.

  10. As for imposing our identity upon our kids. Isn't it unavoidable. I think we can just hope that we also engender their strident or quirky natures (no names mentioned!) so that they can ignore the rest. I found myself telling my eldest this week that if he really tried, he could probably be the best in his class at reading/writing. Shock, horror, yadda yadda yadda. But walk a while in my shoes. I have a boy who gets more passionate about the page numbers than the text. "Look I'm up to page 28"... "Look I'm up to chapter 3"... Anyway, he quickly quipped "No, I just have to be the best I can be"... Where did he hear that rubbish!