Why is my Christian day care trying to scare Jesus into my kid?

Aug 12, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. ET
Image: Bethany Ramos

My husband and I are both Christians, and we grew up in very religious homes. All that is to say that we are more than familiar with Christian “scare tactics” used in some churches. We’ve decided to loosen the reins quite a bit on our children. We believe in God and Jesus, but we are not going to force our kids into anything. We don’t want our children to have the picture of the same big, scary God we grew up with — the God who’s going to get you when you do something wrong.

I’m definitely not opposed to God, and I also have a very strong relationship with him. But I was more than surprised to find this little craft sent home from day care in my son’s backpack for several reasons.

First, my son’s name is Jonah, so this craft creeped me out right off the bat. I am very familiar with the Bible story of Jonah and the whale, so I get the quote. But I still found myself jumping when I first read it and then laughing out loud as I momentarily wondered if the message was written for my son specifically. I’m assuming it wasn’t. I’m assuming the craft is related to the story of Jonah and the whale, and the fact that my young son is also named Jonah is just a coincidence.

Second, I didn’t know we were using a Christian day care. Right now, we have my son in a temporary day care program until a spot opens up with his older brother at another day care. Jonah’s day care provider is absolutely wonderful. She is loving, relaxed and nurturing, and he loves going there every single day. But I had no clue it was a Christian program. Since I live in a smaller town in south Texas, this seems to be a given. Most people are considered automatically Christian and won’t protest a religious program in a child care setting. That’s just the way it is.

I’m a Christian, and while this craft reads as aggressive, I don’t have a problem with the overall theme. But I can only imagine how a non-Christian parent would feel, or even an atheist parent, when they read this same take-home message. They probably wouldn’t find it funny and random like I did. They would probably be offended.

My 16-month-old son Jonah is far too young to understand this Bible story yet, but now I know to keep my eyes open. I believe in God, but I want my kids to choose what they believe for themselves. Even as a Christian mom, I think this is too much.

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