The Secular Parent began as a place to house my frustrations with being an Agnostic mother who decided that her children did not need religion to be morally strong, decent citizens of humanity. The goal was simply to yell, screech, and release my energy, but The Secular Parent has grown into something much more.
Namely, the website serves as a repository of parental experiences as they relate to secular life. My children have dealt with scorn, intolerance, and sheer contempt from both peers and adults. How can you help a child stand up to their peers–and the 6-foot giant telling them that God IS real? How can we strengthen our young people’s self-esteem so that they are prepared for the religious onslaught that awaits them?
My girls have grown in wisdom and knowledge–and so have I. The main condition of secular parenting is a willingness to learn; secular parents must be guided by what we know to be true; that is the only way that we can really prepare our children for success in life.
There is no need to lie to young people–about the little things (the tooth fairy, Santa Claus) and the big things (choosing to have sex for the first time, the realities of drugs and experimentation). Honesty breeds trust.
I believe that children of all ages are individual and unique people. I think most of us would agree–surely they aren’t replicas of ourselves. If this is true, why do we push our religious beliefs onto our kids? Why don’t we offer children the opportunity to grow and learn about faith, and then decide which faith best suits them as they mature? This is the approach to religion and parenting that our family has taken, and it has been met with strong success. I am an Atheist; my children are freethinkers. They are too young to decide if the massive amount of information on either side of the religious debate has merit. As they grow, they will look at their worldview, their value system, and choose a faith that matches their worldview; or they will be Atheists.
Either way, my girls know that they will be loved.
My roots are in liberal Seattle, and though I certainly lean to the right on some issues, I find myself ever-more questioning why:
why can’t young people REALLY have the right to choose their future path?
What is wrong with “trying” church a few times, and then taking that coat off in favor of another?
How can we create a young person who is mentally, physically, and sexually healthy and responsible?
I currently live in the greater Kansas City, MO area; and I love it! Between my job as a teacher, my role as a wife, and my responsibilities as a mother, my writing has plenty variety. No matter my tone, which can sometimes be rather cynical and sarcastic, I love my side job: I take pride in sharing my successes and my failures–how else are we as parents, particularly secular parents, supposed to raise young people?
Please feel free to browse the website, leave a few comments, and return when you can. If you register with The Secular Parent, you can receive my articles via email.
Enjoy…or become irate!