Category Archives: Parenting

My little girl has a best friend…

…and her mom is very religious. We’re attending the new friend’s birthday party this weekend and I must admit, I’m a little nervous. I spoke with her mom today and we had a nice conversation and got to know each other, but it became evident very quickly that religion is important in their family. The sad thing about this is that it doesn’t matter one bit to me, but I know if they find out we are a freethinking family, my daughter’s new friendship will be in jeopardy. The woman asked how I was raised while we were on the phone, and I told her honestly about my religious upbringing, but left it at that. I didn’t mention that I’ve left that behind, and now I feel as if I’m betraying her and myself.

I’ve promised myself that I will not lie to her, and if she asks, I will be honest. It’s the best I can do. If she is willing to forbid her daughter to be friends with mine because of my beliefs, then perhaps they aren’t a family we need to be associated with anyway. Right? Right?

Sigh. I’m so nervous…

Guest Post on Parents Beyond Belief

I am honored to be a guest blogger on Parents Beyond Belief! Check out my post, Death and Secular Parenting: Overcoming the Fears. Enjoy!

Public School Time!

My oldest daughter is now officially enrolled in pre-k in the public school system. I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. She’s been in a Christian preschool since she was 8 months old, so I’ve had to be very careful about encouraging her  free thought. I was always afraid that she’d run to school and tell her teacher, “Mommy says some people don’t believe in god!” Heh. That would be a fun conference.

But now that she’ll be out of that environment, I feel much more comfortable helping her find answers to her tough questions. She asks about death often, so we observe dead bugs and talk about roadkill and what happens when people die. She’s fascinated with the fact that life can end, and I think it’s fostering a love for living inside her. She is full of life and seems to enjoy ever second. She loves people wholeheartedly and loves to be kind to those who are unkind to her. I feel more confident that we can discuss the different religions with more freedom now that she isn’t required to go to chapel or read Bible stories.

I know it seems odd that an atheist or agnostic person would put their children in a Christian school, but I have reasons. First, the hours worked well for our family. Secondly, she really got a fantastic education. They offered yoga, music, reading and handwriting skill building, and more art than I have room to store. Thirdly, as a person who will grow up in a conservative and largely Christian area, it’s important for her to have knowledge of the Bible, it’s stories, and Christianity in general. Otherwise, she might feel ostracized or embarrassed as an older child. All in all, it’s been good for both of my girls.

She’s growing up and I know life is about to get super-fun. Her intelligent and curious mind is growing every day, and I’m so proud of the little freethinker she is becoming. I’m jealous that she gets this opportunity in life. I feel like I missed out on so much in my childhood because of my restrictive upbringing. I’m very much looking forward to watching her bloom!

The Terrible Fours

Well, it’s been a while since I last posted, and that’s mostly because my oldest daughter is going through a rough stage. She’s acting more tween-like than preschooler-like. Whew. It’s not easy. We’re trying to help her understand how her actions and attitude affect those around her. She seems very self-absorbed lately and I’m sure it’s a normal part of discovering her independence. We just have to guide her and make sure she understands that she is not the only person in this house, or the only kid in her classroom at school.

She’s also been asking a lot of questions about life and the world, and I’m doing my best to foster a sense of curiosity in her. She’s so smart and I know she’s going to enjoy growing up with the freedom to decide for herself what she believes is true about the world. That’s something I never had, so I must admit – I’m a little jealous. :)

Anyway, sorry for the delay in posting. I’m hoping to post more as time allows. Stay tuned for more photography as well!

Encouraging Choice

I like to think I’m playing my part in phasing religion out of American life. One of the biggest changes I can see between my parenting style and that of my (divorced) parents is the emphasis on making good choices. I was never encouraged to make good choices. I was never asked to weigh the alternatives and examine the information to decide what course of action to take. I was simply told that the Bible is the end-all and be-all of authority and what is contained in that book is the absolute truth.

Therefore when it came to making choices about having sex, drinking, or pretty much anything, I fled to the Bible to find my answer. This made me a fearful and anxious person. I was constantly afraid of sinning, lest I bring god’s wrath down upon my head. Even though I knew I was saved, I didn’t really feel anything – except fear.

But, I digress. My parents never explained how important choices are in life. They never encouraged me to go to college (How dare I broaden my mind!) and they never encouraged me to make choices because I thought the choice was the right one to make.

Now that I have kids of my own, I find myself asking them questions constantly. When my oldest asks, “Why?” I always ask her, “Well, what do you think?” She spouts off her thoughts and then I explain the whys and why-nots to her. And most importantly, the I-don’t-knows. It seemed like my parents were afraid to say that. “What makes rain?” I would ask. “Rain is just god’s tears,” my mom would say, “and thunder is god bowling.” Yep. There’s nothing wrong with not knowing. Just because the answer isn’t obvious doesn’t mean it needs to be explained by something someone made up.

Ask my 4-year-old what makes thunder and she’ll tell you how lightning cuts through the air, causing it to slap back together to make a loud boom. It’s beautiful, and it helps me feel good about my non-religious parenting. My girls will grow up being able to analyze information and make proper choices, and I will always encourage learning and curiosity in their precious minds. I can only hope that they realize the value of this and pass it on to their children. Maybe someday the real truth – the provable truth – will prevail in our society. Maybe someday the person who believes in the imaginary man in the sky will be the weird one instead of the other way around. We can only hope.