A Vent

A neighbor that my daughter plays with told The Princess yesterday that if she does not believe in Jesus, she will burn in hell forever. I am so extremely mad at this child right now, that I could spit. While we are not a church-going family (which probably explains what prompted this whole little spiel on behalf of the neighbor girl), that is not to say that we are heathens, devil worshippers, or athiests. We just don’t go.

So, yeah, my daughter isn’t really educated on religious matters, something my husband and I both agree on addressing when each child is older (We have discussed this at length, and have a plan, if you will). In the meantime, I don’t want my child being told she’s going to burn. This same neighbor also told The Princess that eagles would swoop out of the sky and eat her – so, I’m not running her fan club right now.

We plan to talk with The Princess – we want her to know that people have different feelings about God, different philosophies, different beliefs, and no one is right or wrong. Those are personal choices each person gets to make and you are entitled to hold your own personal beliefs and you should not ever criticize someone else for what they believe just because it’s different than what YOU believe.

Having said that – there’s still this neighbor girl. And honestly, I’m pretty ticked. Do we talk to her parents? What do we say? I have no problem with her belief – it’s hers – I do have a problem with her telling my child essentially that her way is the only way.

Ugh. What to do?

About sarah

Sarah is a book nerd, a music lover, an endorphin junkie, a coffee addict. Oh, and a goof ball. She writes, she tweets, and she sings off key.


  1. Makes me wonder if the neighbor girl has recently watched Bridge to Terabithia as that exact thing is said in that movie. Not something I was real thrilled with.

    My kids have suddenly become very interested in heaven & hell. I’m answering all their questions according to our beliefs. But I would be mortified to find out they’d said something like that to another child.

    I really don’t get the eagle thing….I think that child needs a good talking to (in the very least).

  2. Oh man. This story is precisely why I’ve begun wondering how I’ll talk to any future children about what I (think) I believe. I don’t want to turn them into dogmatic little pharisees like I was growing up, nor do I want to “brainwash” them. I want them to have their own chance to learn, explore, and decide, but have no idea how to do that. Children are like sponges, and its so easy for them to believe everything they here without knowing how to sift through and keep only a part of it all. (Ironically, I still have a hard time doing that too, and tend to be an undiscerning sponge far too often.)

    I have no idea what to say to your neighbor or her mother, but think that your next to the last paragraph has a lot of good things in it that you can share with your daughter. What a dilemma.

    The boys I nannied for years ago told their grandmother (who was a Carmelite Catholic – whatever that is) that I had said something similar. That wasn’t true at all, as I’d never commented on her beliefs vs. ours. But she didn’t like me for a long time after that. I never did find out where the boys got the idea I had said their grandma would go to hell beause she didn’t love Jesus like they did. Geez. Did I ever feel like a cad or what?!

    You are a good and wise mom. It’s too bad the neighbor child doesn’t get to have you for a mom too.

  3. Farm Wife – I hadn’t seen “Bridge to Terabithia” but that would actually make a LOT of sense – I know that the mom and I talked about the book a few years back – the book was a classic. So, they could well have let her see the movie.

    Inkling – thank you for your perspective too. It’s hard with kids because you can tell them a whole scope of things and they can pick one detail and latch on to it and that could totally be completely odd out of context… So, it’s really hard at the least to explain anything of import to kids, because things get “lost in translation” so often.

  4. Sarah, I would be pu-issses. Only because that was terribly rude of this child and I’m sure it hurt your daughter’s feelings. I would talk to the mom and then also have a good chat with P. I may even have a little chat with the neighbor girl saying that it is not nice to tell people these things and give her a little lesson.

    I’m sorry you had to go through this though. I’m sure it won’t be the first time but it is heartbreaking to see our children be the target- I’m bracing myself… if someone ever calls Madeleine a pirate, so help me God.


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