Early morning ear worm revelations

This morning as I clean up dog sick from the sofa ( tiredness meant that I forgot to lock the fridge and Bandit ate a whole chorizo) I am humming a little ear worm that I have woken up with.  It is a song from my childhood, I haven’t thought about this song or sung it since I was about ten years old.  I am HORRIFIED at what I realise I am singing.  The lyrics are as follows:

” I’m too young to march with the infantry, ride with the cavalry, shoot with the artillery.  But I’m in the Lord’s army (YES SIR!)  I’m in the Lord’s army (YES SIR!) I’m in the Lord’s army (YES SIR!)

Then repeat ad nauseum.

I loved this song when I was young, I think it was all of the shouting YES SIR! and we would march on the spot and stamp our feet to this song too, which when you are little is pretty awesome ( sudden realisation as to why my son prefers to shout than baby babble, damn it, it’s my fault) Now that I look at the lyrics I am reminded once more of the strange indoctrination of my childhood. (They are a bit terrifying though, right?!)  Have you ever been shopping on a Saturday and seen groups of Christians singing?  I was one of them.  When I thirteen I happily did this every day for a week one summer holiday.

I still remember the slow decline of my faith and what an upsetting and confusing time it was for me.  Jesus not only did not want me for a sunbeam, but he didn’t actually even exist!  You believe the things that your parents tell you, you follow their lead and trust them as surely they would never lie to you.  My parents were missionaries. When I was nine years old my family moved to Brazil so that my dad could build an orphanage for street kids.  The church over there had been given a huge piece of land to build on so we went and dad did indeed build a huge orphanage for them to live in.  It is still running now.  I love this fact, what a legacy for my father to leave behind.  He did a really good thing.  I am immensely proud of him for this.

My parents met at the bible college of Wales.  Its like uni, but with Jesus and lots of bibles in different languages.  My dad was in his last year when my mum started.  After a nine month courtship they got married.  My dad stayed on as the college handy man for two years after he graduated so that he could live with my mum.  They had to get up at six every morning, they couldn’t eat together as there were separate men’s and women’s  dining halls.  They didn’t see each other again most evenings until seven.  But to them Jesus was worth it.  When mum graduated they ran branches of the CLC (christian literature crusade) bookshops. around the country.  They had a hand in setting up evangelical non denomination (denomination) churches in Southampton, Swansea and Neath.

Now before my dad loved Jesus more than anything, he had loved scary intravenous drugs more than anything.  So Jesus really was his salvation.  He bought into the whole life hook line and sinker.  My mum on the other hand  hand had just always gone to church.

So when my parents had children ( I am the eldest of four) they obviously wanted us to have the lovely, snuggley embrace of the church and Jesus to protect us from the horrid world and give us the most marvelous life that we could hope for.  And it worked really well until one by one we were actually exposed to the really, real world.  We all went to the private church infant and junior school, no more than ten pupils in our year group, all Jesus, all of the time.  We even had our own version of the happy birthday song ( my siblings and I still ironically sing it to each other on our birthdays, that is a can not miss phone call that has amused every partner that I have ever had)

Then, when senior school came around it was off to the local state school.  On my first day I arrived with my bible ready to convert everyone and save them.  As I am sure you can imagine I was a bit of an outcast.   Now even though I had had a very strict upbringing I used to write secret porn in my spare time ( I have NO IDEA where it came from in my pure little Lord’s army mind, but it was in there and it was FILTHY)  One lunch time when the horrible girl who liked to put on my coat (bought by my Nanna to match hers) and bike helmet ( luminous green skid lid, WORST helmet on the market, I may as well have had a sign that said “kick me” paired with an old lady style pink bike that squeaked, not a super cool mountain bike.) and parade up and down our form room being me.  She went through my bag and found it.  After that I used to sit under one of the tables in my form room and read what I had written the night before.  Finally made some friends.  Started walking to school.  Bought a new coat at a car boot sale, fit in a bit more.

Now I am a parent I worry that I will be like my father and try to teach my son all of my beliefs, which have turned out to be the polar opposite of those that I was taught as a child.  But what if  I accidentally turn him into a social pariah with my opinions?  How do we not mess our kids up so that they spend their teens angst ridden, clutching a bottle of the cheapest and nastiest whiskey and listening to moody music?

I have no idea at all how to not repeat those mistakes.  I shall definitely not be teaching him the Lord’s army song though.

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