Does it bother you that I write about ATHEIST PARENTING?
Here's why I'm going to continue doing it!
Why do I have an atheist parenting blog? I mean, without the religion part, isn't it just... parenting?!
Why do I spend so much time getting atheist parenting information out there into the ether? Once a person finally let's go of the shackles of their religion, isn't that... enough?!
In that case, why do I feel the strong need to blog about atheism and atheist- or humanist- or skeptic-related issues? Isn't enough that I just AM?!
Isn't this just giving me a label: atheist?!
What is the point?!
Some people have asked me why I have an atheist parenting blog, why I blog about atheist parenting. For the people who feel this way about posts and blogs labeled atheist parenting, I appreciate your skepticism. Is it possible that my writing is offering simple basic rational parenting support? Yes, I guess that is very possible. At the same time, there are many parents out there who are new to living a secular life, new to raising children without the traditional ways, hidden and living in seclusion due to their secular choices, afraid to be open and yet determined to raise their children as skeptics and as happy people, and looking for those few voices out there who can offer them understanding, community, advice, or just a general feeling of being normal. Many first-generation parents are seeking in earnest and I am proud to be available and open and willing to offer my support. Not my advice or my expertise or my definition or my label! My support, my friendship, my small community.
Sometimes I am quite shocked by the vehement negativity that has come my way for my atheist parenting blog. Much of the criticism has come from other atheists! I view their condemnation with compassion and with an open mind. I'm quite certain that those who don't understand the place for an atheist/humanist/skeptical parenting blog are coming from the point of view that atheists can simply move forward into the world, parenting, working, forming relationships, living their lives in a wonderful world free of religion.
If only it was so easy.
Moving Into the World as an Atheist Parent
Should we do Santa? How about the Easter Bunny? Is it inconsistent to do the fun part of Tooth Fairy? Is it damaging to pretend? How do we handle religion in the schools? How do we explain the religion that is so much a part of the world without being disrespectful? How do we teach our children to recognize indoctrination attempts? How do we handle family? What do we do with the friends of our children who tell the kids that they are going to Hell? How much openness is best for the kids with their peers? How about openness for us with adult friends? What about those who bully with their religion? How do we handle the Pledge of Allegiance in school each day? How should our family handle the very public religious rituals in our culture? The struggle for atheist parents who no longer accept handed-down rules.
The earnest questioning goes on and on. I, as an atheist parenting blogger, don't have the answers. But I do openly entertain the questions. I fearlessly use the words. In my opinion, what I offer on my atheist parenting blog: I encourage other parents to make their own decisions about how to address these issues. The loveliest part of what I do as an openly atheist/secular/humanist parent is I encourage parents to ask the questions, to explore the ideas themselves within the context of their own families, and to create their own family identity, rituals, practices, answers, and direction with confidence. Sometimes I even remind parents that not knowing the answers is absolutely OK.
My blog is a place where people come with questions, with confusion, with timidity. If it existed in the real world, I'm sure I would serve tea and sandwiches. I post what I post... holidays, discipline, education, friendships, daily experiences, playtime, the media, parenting questions, my own concerns. Readers who comment give me great feedback, feedback that helps me see why they come to my blog when they have books available that they can read. Specifically, they are looking for another person who makes them feel understood, valued, of like-mind, welcomed, and even entertained by with the humor of questionable taste. Yes, now I see it. Just like regular parenting.
Being a Parent is the Ultimate in Thrill Rides!
It is the hardest thing that I have ever done; just between you and me, that is saying something! Most atheist/secular/freethinking parents that I know are extreme thinkers. These are people who voraciously read, question, wonder. I am proud to be on this parenting journey with other parents...just normal parents.
My blog posts here at Atheist Republic will invariably be about parenting, atheist parenting. You know, normal stuff.