The kids are all baptized Catholics. Doug wanted it so and I didn't think it would harm them. We do raise them in a UU way - or rather, in a very hands-off way. We give them information, and guidance, and we talk (and hopefully demonstrate) what is acceptable and good behavior.
We have the seven UU principles in kid-speak taped to our kitchen wall, and we talk about them from time to time. Lately, I've been steering them a bit more as they have religious instruction at school -- it's Germany, where this is still common. As nominal Catholics, the kids are in Catholic RE class. David has taken it hook, line and sinker - he loves it all: God, Jesus, the crucifixes everywhere, the idea of an afterlife in Paradise. He just doesn't like to go to Church because of the incense, other than that I think he'd be fine with it. Alan is very dismissive and says that in a time of science, people shouldn't believe in something there isn't any prove of. Mind you, we've never told them either thing, they came up with it themselves. But we embrace it, both those contrarian sons, and try to teach them the most valuable lesson: Respect for each other's position. We talked about Jesus, and how great a teacher he was, and what his lessons mean to us today and how we think that the most important lesson is to respect everybody.
So today at dinner time, Alan read the seven principles again out loud and we talked about each of them a little bit. The second principle, "Be kind in all you do" prompted Alan to tell me this story:
"Frau X (his RE teacher) had us do this play - S. was the foreigner and we were the disciples and we were to tell her that she was not welcome in our midst. All the others did that but I didn't like it, so I went up to her and said, hey, you can join us any time you like."
I couldn't quite believe what I heard -- surely something has been lost in translation here? But he stuck with his version and he usually has a good memory. I suppose the teacher wanted them to understand that it is not a good thing to oust someone, but I'm particularly glad that Alan dissed it all and stood up for the second principle. Not because it's taped to our wall but because he's a kind kid with a kind heart.
I'm really very proud of him.