Looking for a bit of advice...
In my journey away from Jehovah's Witnesses, surprisingly, I have ended up in a place of non-belief. I intend on living, and raising my children without god and without religion. Books such as "Parenting Beyond Belief" and "Raising Freethinkers" have been very helpful in this regard.
We have been completely inactive for almost a year and a half. We have zero contact with former witness friends; for the time being, our families continue to associate with us. For the most part, they keep quiet about our inactivity, however on occaision, they attempt to "sneak in" witness related things, ie insisting on praying before meals (we respect their right to do so in their own home, not in ours), telling our son how it's important to "thank Jehovah" for our food, trying to show him the Caleb and Sophia cartoons, trying to give us new releases etc.
Unfortunately, we have had to carefully control the time our kids spend with our family. They have never been asked to babysit, and we are careful that our children are never left alone with them. There have been a couple of occaisions, such as when I unexpectedly went into labor with our second child, that we have left my son with my parents, and there is no doubt in my mind that they made sure he said prayers before he went to bed, before he ate breakfast, etc. My mom has told him that "Jehovah will protect him from bad guys", my in laws have made comments about Jehovah creating things, Jehovah doesn't like stealing, etc.
For my fellow Ex-JW's that have found themselves in the same position ... what kind of things do you say to your young children to counteract your witness family?
When my children are older, it will be easier for them to see religion for what it is ... but when they are young and impressionable (My son is only 3 and a half), it's hard to know what to say.
What do you say when your child asks "Who is Jehovah?". I've been likening him to a character in a book that is just pretend. Any other ideas?
Or when they say that we need to pray before a meal? I've been telling him that his grandparents are talking to an imaginary friend and that it's kind of silly; instead we make a point of acknowledging that our food comes from the earth, and thanks all the people involved in getting it to our table.
What about when your child asks "Who made me?" or "Who made the earth?". At less than 4 years old, my son is not going to understand the concept of evolution, and without the easy answer of "God did it", I'm at a loss sometimes.
And yes, I realize I can explicitly tell our familes not to discuss god or religion with our children. At this point though, I don't want to disrupt the delicate balance with them that we've managed to achieve.
I also recognize the importance of religious literacy. However, you and I know that the aim of witnesses is not to encourage a broad religious education for the purpose of understanding our fellow humans, but indoctrination.
I'm interested in your experiences...thanks in advance!