Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday school.

Checking out a chart that is written in Chinese.
For those who know Papa Saigh and I, you know that we are not "religious" people. Papa Saigh comes from a Methodist family, and I come from a Catholic family. Both of us went to church every Sunday when we were young, we were married in a Catholic Church, and I went to a Catholic School growing up. Although we have nothing but respect for our parents' and families' beliefs, as a couple and as individuals, we just aren't "religious" people. I believe in God, Papa Saigh isn't quite sure, but both of us believe in being good people, and raising our daughter to be a good person as well. We don't go to a regular church on Sundays (we haven't for years), but our parents often take Linna to church back home in Minnesota. As both of us come from pretty "religious" families, some may wonder what happened to me and Papa Saigh;)

My husband and I feel it is important to give our daughter to opportunity to explore different religions. Living in Singapore, we have friends from many different religious backgrounds (Christian, Baptist, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish, etc.). Within a block of our home in Singapore, there is a Presbyterian Church, Church of Christ, Baptist Church, and a Mosque. All of these people from different backgrounds and faiths are what make Singapore a diverse and educational place to raise children. For the most part, people here are open-minded, and that is the kind of people we want to surround ourselves with, as we feel we are pretty accepting people.

This morning, we took Linna to her first Sunday School at Pasir Panjang Hill Brethren Church. I went to Sunday School when I was little, and I remember it being nothing but fun. I learned about God, sang songs about Jesus, and made friends. I remember the church my mom took my brother and I to when we were growing up, as being very slow and boring, and I feel I learned more in the "fun" environment that my Sunday School teachers provided. I still remember my Sunday School teacher, Mrs. Krowzack (she was so nice).
Getting a snack from her teacher.

We chose to bring Linna to Sunday School at PPHBC because we have some German friends in our condo that send their 3 1/2-year-old son to the Pasir Panjang Hill Church Kindergarten, and they have nothing but positive things to say about their experience there. Since Linna is 20-months-old, we feel she's a little too young for every day nursery-school, but thought it would be good to bring her to some type of school once a week. This will get her comfortable with the thought of being in a classroom environment, without mom and dad there. I looked at the church's website, because I honestly had no clue what "Brethren" meant, and after seeing that the "mission" of this church is basically to be a community of good people doing good things for others, we decided to check it out.

The people of this church were so welcoming, and nothing about our experience felt "forced", as our experiences with other churches have been. A very friendly woman walked us to the Creche room (children's room), where we met Linna's "teacher" Angeline. Angeline did a great job at keeping Linna busy, while we made our exit. Linna could have really cared less if we were there or not, because she was already having so much fun playing. While Papa Saigh and I haven't been to church in a really long time, we decided to sit through the 1.5-hour service, as it's right outside the door of Linna's "class"... just in case:) Although we didn't love the idea of siting through a church service, it ended up being pretty cool, and we enjoyed the upbeat music. Linna stayed in the room, and was happy as can be for the entire service! When her teacher opened the door at the end of her class, Linna walked out, looked at us and said "Woah!" excitedly. I'm hoping this means she had a good time!

I am very thankful that my mom was able to put my brother and in Catholic School, through the 8th grade. I made some great friends, and have some good memories of my school days. While I don't necessarily agree with all the teachings of the Catholic Church, I respect those who do. Since we're doing all of this for Linna's benefit, I guess a little church time for Papa Saigh and I can't hurt... and I'm sure it makes our parents very happy. For me, prayer is a form of meditation, and a way to talk to God (whoever that may be for to the individual praying). I feel prayer is a good thing, as it brings a sense of calm and peace to many people. Although I should probably do it more often, I pray because I am thankful for all that I have in my life. We want our daughter to learn/know how to pray, whether that be praying with her grandparents at Catholic Church, or with our neighbors at an Islamic Temple. We want her to grow up being accepting of all religions. Religion is the practice of various beliefs, and who are we to say which religions are "right" or "wrong". When Linna is old enough to decided what religion (if any) she wants to practice, Papa Saigh and I will be right there to support her. Who knows, maybe we will actually become the church-going people our parents set out for us to be. You never know...

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