Seeing your child as just any other person is a difficult thing to do. To you they are more than just a person, they are part of you. They stand out from a crowd of people, you can detect their voice above any other, their body language to you is like the back of your hand, you know their wants and needs and you care deeply for them. It’s difficult for any parent to view their child as an individual which is why most parents think that can always choose for their kids. For a time parents need to take charge because their children have no idea how to choose or even why to choose, but there comes a time where a parent has done all they can to lead and guide and they need to let their child decide on their own.
If a religion is chosen for a child, can you really say they believe what they’re following? You can guide and direct your son or daughter in the ways you believe are upright and good but ultimately the choice is theirs. Even if you forced your child to follow your religion at the threat of being exiled from the family and you controlled his mouth, eyes, hands and feet with your own hands and on the outside your child was living up to the utmost standards of your beliefs, you should not walk away satisfied because deep down they will most likely not be following your religion in their heart, and it’s deep down that matters.
If religion is forced on anyone, it becomes legalism. Legalism is based on judgement and fear, which are about two worst things by which anyone can be motivated. If you were a ruler of a kingdom would you give your people the freedom to love you, or would you force them to? It wouldn’t be love if you forced it upon them. They would honor you with their actions but be far from you in their hearts.
I know it hurts to see your child stray from the ways you believe in with your whole being, but if you don’t love and accept them as they are, the rest of the world will. You will lose your opportunity to make an impact on their life. If you truly want your child to follow in your foot steps, love them as they are and that will open the door into their heart.