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So tell me: Should I be happy or sad??(23 posts)

So tell me: Should I be happy or sad??PaulCL
Aug 28, 2002 11:28 AM
Every Sunday, I have been getting up at dawn, riding for as much as possible before 10am - usually 50 -65 miles. I get home by 10am so that my wife can go to church with my two daughters. I then stay home with my son, Adam, until the girls get home. Adam is just about to turn four. In the 1 1/2 hours the "girls" are gone, we spend quality time playing trucks, hot wheels, building blocks, farting, etc...in other words: boy stuff.

As of last weekend, my wife informed me that Adam is now old enough to go to Sunday school with his sisters. The good news is that I don't have to leave for my ride at dawn and can ride for an extra couple of hours. GREAT! The bad news is that I lose my one on one time with my son. Its' a time that both of us look forward to. Its' tough to find an uninterrupted hour during the rest of the week. I try to squeeze in some 'one on one' time with each child weekly.

I'm looking forward to my first long(er) ride this Sunday, but also dissappointed. Maybe I'm dreading the inevitable pressure from my wife to join her at church. She wants to make it a family event. That isn't going to happen.

Just venting. Paul
he got to wait until 4? i think i was drug there as a baby (nm)ColnagoFE
Aug 28, 2002 12:28 PM
Ahh... which is more important, the riding or the kids?cory
Aug 28, 2002 1:15 PM
I'm not going to urge you to go to church--my wife's been trying to get me to go for 20 years--but this is one of those decisions that separates good parents from those merely able to breed. If that's truly the only time you can ride AND the only time you can spend with your son, you need to look in the mirror and figure out which matters more.
FWIW, in 10 years he'll barely talk to you, and the bike will still be there.
No choice on that question..the kids.PaulCL
Aug 28, 2002 6:12 PM
The time is not the only time I can spend with my son. It just happens to be the best time - "our" time. Whether I'm on my bike or not, he will be at church. If I bite the bullit and go to church, I still won't be with him there either. So, I will find more time during the week to hang out with him. In my neighborhood, I'm the Dad outside with the kids all of the time. I'm riding bikes, playing baseball, doing the slip-n-slide (remember those???). My wife thinks I'm a big kid. She's right.

Part of my disappointment is that my son is getting older. Your comment about ten years from now breaks my heart....
Oooh man, the double edge sword. . .rwbadley
Aug 28, 2002 4:12 PM
I have no good, practical advice on this one. I feel for ya' man. I have only a couple of random thoughts.

Tell your wife that you've decided to keep the boy home during that time so you can bring him up in the Pagan ritual tradition. Might as well bring a little variety to the dinner table at night to stimulate the conversation. Make it a family event.

Many Church have an early and a late Mass. Are they able to go to the early, and be back around the time you get home? Or conversely maybe you could stay home till they all go off, then go for your ride. Sunday morning with the kids isn't a bad idea.

RW
Oooh man, the double edge sword. . .PaulCL
Aug 28, 2002 6:15 PM
Pagan ritual...hmmm...good idea. Sacrifice the chocolate bunny....My in-laws already think I'm a heathen. Ooh..the reactions to a pagan altar in the backyard would be priceless.

The real answer is that I'll just find more time.
re: So tell me: Should I be happy or sad??firstrax
Aug 28, 2002 7:25 PM
If your son is going to sunday school and your going to be in the regular service, its not time with your son.

Ride your normal ride, go to church then send the girls shopping and take your son to Chuck-E-cheese. They allow adults in the ball bin now.
re: So tell me: Should I be happy or sad??Starliner
Aug 28, 2002 7:26 PM
It sounds like a good occasion to connect with your wife on this one, and let her know what your heart is saying about everything. Hopefully she'll be understanding and loving about your feelings, and do her part to sooth your hurt. It's good for the relationship to periodically check in with each other like that, and for the whole family as well as you all pass through the changing stages of growth. If however she fears you're going to scuttle her grand scheme to bring up her (your) children in a religious way, then be prepared for little-to-no compassion.
re: So tell me: Should I be happy or sad??jefajones
Aug 28, 2002 8:25 PM
I'll probably hear it on this one . . . but, I believe in allowing a child to reach the age where they are able to make an informed decision on whether they want to attend church. I have an eight year old that does and a nine year old that does not. I've tried not to sway them either way, but let them make independent decisions when confronted with various information. It is amazing what kids are capable (the depth of their thought process and ability to comprehend and synthesize information) of when allowed the freedom of independent thought. Church does not make kids good, parents make kids good . . .

Therefore, IMO, you should talk to your wife and describe your feelings since raising children is a compromise. I'll go farther in saying that such quality time as you describe will far outweight the benefits of bombarding a young child with uncompromising idealogy at such a young age.
I agree with your thoughts..you won't hear it from mePaulCL
Aug 29, 2002 5:20 AM
I agree that children can make up their own minds on many things. But, I'm not going to argue with my wife on the 'going to church' thing. I will lose and inflame a war. We have agreed that we disagree on this point. If given a choice, my kids would stay home and play. Any child would choose playtime over 'school' time (I think). As teenagers, I will step in and insist to my wife that they are given a choice.

Thinking over the whole situation again, I'm OK with it all. I've been looking forward to having more time to ride. I will just make it a point to carve out an hour during Saturday or Sunday afternoon for Dad-Adam playtime. I try to do the same with his older sisters too. I faced this situation with each child as they grew - except this last child leaves me a free morning.

My prediction: In about a month, my wife will be harping on me to join them at church. Why?? Because she went to church as a child as a family and we should too. Ain't gonna happen. Oh well...we'll leave that one for another ranting post in the future. Thanks. paul
I see trouble a coming!ColnagoFE
Aug 29, 2002 6:01 AM
I just can't see this "she goes to church with the kids and you stay home" thing not coming to a head at some point. seems like a big blowup is just a matter of time. it would be tough to have a different religious orientation than my wife. don't know how you do it. i had to go to church all through high school and hated every minute of it. when i left home i finally started looking forward to sundays.
I've seen the trouble alreadyPaulCL
Aug 29, 2002 7:07 AM
My wife 'rediscovered' her desire to go to church about three years ago. From the very beginning of our relationship (16 yrs ago), I made it very, very clear that I would never be attending any church service. The reasons are unimportant to this discussion.

Upon her re-awakening to religion, she tried to pressure me ever so subtely and not so subtley to attend with her. I finally succumbed and agreed to attend for six weeks to see if anything was 'reawakened' in me. By the third week, the minister got me so POed that I ranted outside the church and embarrassed my wife. Bad thing to do. After a long discussion at home, she suggested that I not attend services until the day I feel a need to go. That is where we left it about two years ago. She has since tried to get me involved in the social aspect of her church (lunches, dinners, committee's, etc) I do comply with the family oriented events like the weekly Wednesday night dinners, choir events, Sunday school shows, picnics, etc.... Besides, I've picked up a couple of clients from those gatherings. Its' social, not religious.

The subject will come to a head again, even though we both know how each other feel. It is hard to accept for my wife that I don't feel any need to attend, while she does feel the need. For the first 10 years of our marriage, she did not attend nor felt the need to attend church. It's very tough on a marriage when there is such a major change. But, we have handled it well and I think, gotten stronger from it. Of course, I'm just waiting for round II.....
well good luck! maybe you can say cycling is your religion? (nm)ColnagoFE
Aug 29, 2002 7:47 AM
Another ideaGuidosan
Aug 29, 2002 8:56 AM
Well for me church is an important part of my life and I am glad that our whole family is involved together. Something to think about is attending a non-traditional church. There are the traditional churches with the typical hymns and standard service, and then there are the churches that are more contemporary. Everything from the music to the way the service is run is really geared for today and the people who have had bad experiences in the past. I would really look into something like that. This way you may not feel uncomfortable and your whole family is involved together. One last thing is that you could volunteer as a helper in you sons Sunday school. I think every children's program is lacking enough help and if you volunteered to be a helper, you can be with your kid and be at church and not feel too uncomfortable. The nice thing is that if you have questions from the kids lesson or from the pastors message, you can always talk to the Sunday school teacher about it and have your questions answered. Just a thought.
Oh well...here goes nothing.MXL02
Aug 29, 2002 6:42 AM
I've been thinking about your post over-night, and although, many people who have posted are kindred non-church goers, I have to disagree....do yourself a favor and go to church with your family...surely, you can find some redeeming value there, at least of historic interest, even if are a diehard atheist or just anti-organized religion, and the positive effect of having your family together cannot be over emphasized. Just being in a quiet, solemn place where you all have to be together, is, I believe, a beneficial event. Some of the best times I have with my family is when we worship and pray together.
This is my HO, and I know this may start a holy war of sorts, but when I get up early on Sunday it is to finish my ride so I can join my family in church.
I cannot fail to respondPaulCL
Aug 29, 2002 7:26 AM
I appreciate your sentiments. If it works for you, then great! Even if I went to my wife's church, our family would not be together. The children attend Sunday School until their early teens.

As for being in a quiet, solemn place...I agree. But I achieve that same silent solitude on my bike alone at 7am on a country road. Personally, I feel more connected to my spiritual side in the cool of the morning riding through forests than I could ever feel listening to a preacher ramble on. (Did I really write that?? doesn't sound like me..oh well).

To each his own. I went to church in my youth until late teens. I tried again later. Organized religion, at this point in my life, is not for me. No ill will, no condemnation...just not for me. Peace. Paul
lucky kids...i had to attend early service AND sunday school (nmColnagoFE
Aug 29, 2002 7:49 AM
I hear you, Paul...MXL02
Aug 29, 2002 10:53 AM
and believe me, I understand where you are coming from. I was forced to go to church when I was a kid, and rebelled against it as a young adult. What brought me back was my family life which gave me a different perspective of my spiritual life. Now please don't misunderstand, I, like you and most of the other riders who post on this board, find a supernatural spiritual fulfillment in my outdoor riding experiences. That provides one aspect of my spiritual nourishment, but another just as fulfilling is attending a spiritual liturgy with my family. I cannot describe to you how great it is, it's one of those things that has to be experienced. And yes, I hate dogmatic finger pointing preachers as well...you just have to try to see past that and appreciate the overall concept that the religion represents. I can promise you that if you can get past the visceral distaste stemming from the bad memories of your past, you will find some spiritual nourishment in this exercise. Hey, it's like chicken soup, what could it hurt?
A counterpoint....Starliner
Aug 29, 2002 7:32 AM
A problem I have with enjoying a church as just being a quiet, solemn place to be together is being subjected to the subliminal and not-so-subliminal dogma that comes from the pulpit. It's not a place where I can easily raise my hand and ask for a clarification or raise a challenge to what has been said. Things tend to pass on by unchallenged, and in my book that is not good. If I simply want to be in a peaceful, solemn place, I'll go visit a redwood grove, or jump on the bike before sunrise, climb up into the hills and watch the sun rise above the valley in which I live.
Alright, I'll say it...mr_spin
Aug 29, 2002 7:00 AM
Not to be insensitive, but you can't stop the march of time. Your son is growing up and your "guy time" with him will diminish with each passing day. You should probably get used to this now, or it will really hurt later when he leaves your house and gets one of his own (you hope!).

What you need is to change the playing field. Instead of guy time every Sunday, once a month take a whole weekend with him and go fishing. Or take a whole Saturday, go down to the park, eat hot dogs and cotton candy, and fly a kite.

Also, has it occurred to you that maybe your daughters might want the same kind of thing? Maybe they won't admit it, but you might be encouraging some jealousy. I'd try to figure out something to do with each of them as well.
Point madePaulCL
Aug 29, 2002 7:13 AM
I do spend quality time with each daughter weekly. Its' just that the time with my son was a specific time each week. As I wrote in a previous post, I'm the Dad in the neighborhood who is always outside with all of the kids. My oldest daughter and I go mountain biking together a couple of times per month. My eight year old and I have gone shopping (her thing) together and ride bikes together, etc..

OH well, it will be nice to ride 80 miles this Sunday instead of 60....
how about taking him to breakfast...JS Haiku Shop
Aug 29, 2002 10:59 AM
before church, returning by 10, and riding after they leave?
The family event . . .Steve98501
Aug 29, 2002 12:08 PM
should be one enjoyed by every member of the family. Your wife doesn't have to like it, but must accept that church isn't going to be it because of your feelings/values. I think you're on the right track, letting her take all the children to Sunday School for now, until such time as they decide for themselves if they wish to attend. Forcing a child to attend against his/her will beyond age 11 or 12 is counter-productive, but deeply religious people usually don't understand that.

Take a longer Sunday morning ride and carve out a different time to spend with your son. It's OK. Things keep changing over time. The thing to keep constant is deliberately spending time with each one of your children. As teenagers, they will likely have less and less time for you. That's not a bad thing, just a normal thing. And when that time comes, you will not regret a single moment that you spent with your kids, the quality and not so quality time.

It looks like you're maintaining a balanced life, so I don't think you're really having to choose between being happy or sad with this particular change in routine. Good luck.

Steve