This evening, my daughter told me over dinner that she was worried about one of her friends. She's in middle school, so of course a lot of frightening possibilities sprang to mind at once, both about the kids and their families. She has a friend in foster care. She has a friend who is the victim of a "shared custody" arrangement that has her moving back and forth between her parents' homes every other day. She has a friend whose mother was recently deported. So I was prepared for the worst.
But not for what she said.
Her friend, she told me, wears a cross tucked inside her shirt, because her mother has forbidden her to have anything to do with "church stuff". Her mother found and threw away her Bible, and won't let her go to church with friends because she doesn't want her "learning about that religion crap".
I had no idea what to say.
I told her that we would pray for her friend and her mother, and that she should remind her friend that the most important thing was her relationship with God and that no one but her would know if she talked to God. And I felt two firmly held ethical beliefs crashing into one another hard enough to leave shattered glass on the ground around me. I'd be outraged if I felt like some other adult was feeding my daughter ideas that were contrary to our religion at her age. But the idea of a 12-year-old child trying to be a Christian alone and hide it from her parents is pretty painful, too.
I have no idea what the right thing to do might be, or even if doing anything (other than praying) is right. Any thoughts, experiences, prayers, insights, etc. will be greatly appreciated.