This is not an anti-god post. This is my view on how I choose to raise my children and what secular parenting means to me. If you have read my previous posts it’s clear that I don’t like the idea of lying to my children. I also think that’s as long as the information is age appropriate then there is no need to lie. Mr C and I encourage free thinking, where our children can make up their own minds based on evidence. When Master J asks questions we often follow by asking what he thinks before we answer his question. We encourage him to think for himself and if we don’t know the answer we are not afraid to say we don’t know and, we will help him research to get the information he requires.
Mr C and I are what most people would call atheists. We do not believe in a higher power. However I think everyone has the right to make their own decisions on what they believe and what they don’t. I also do not shame others if they believe in god or follow a religion. I didn’t grow up in a religious household, though I was told there was a god and when we die we go to heaven. Heaven is such a comforting thought, something I wish existed. It’s something that makes us feel better about death and as child I believed in this. I was very curious about god and guardian angels as a child and I asked a lot of questions. The answers I received didn’t help me understand. Nobody wanted to explain and I think to a point it because they didn’t know. “It just is” or “that’s just what happens” wasn’t enough for me and I don’t expect it to be enough for my children.
In my early adult years the whole god thing came to a head for me. I had my own thoughts and was stilled filled with so many questions. I wanted to talk about this I wanted someone to understand how I felt and to understand what I was saying. When I met Mr C we got on to the topic of our beliefs when I started pointing out my questions and the answers I couldn’t seem to find. I was shocked when he said he didn’t believe in god. I hadn’t met anyone who didn’t believe to some point. I also want to state Mr C didn’t convert me. I was halfway there myself when I met someone who understood what I was saying.
Back to free thinking. We then have Father Christmas, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny to explain. We have never really introduced to the idea of Santa to Master J and same will apply to Master T. This doesn’t mean we ban Santa movies or stories or hide away during the festive season but Christmas for us is about family and being grateful for what we have. Has Master J asked if Father Christmas is real? Yes he has and we answered by asking what he thought. Master J thinks he is real and that’s fine. He will find his own answers when he’s ready. The Tooth Fairy is interesting; we never mentioned it when he started losing teeth it was strangers or family members who brought it up to which Master J replied that no the Fairy hadn’t visited and Mum and Dad gave him the money.
I don’t believe I’m stealing the magic of childhood from my children. There is plenty of magic in the world that doesn’t come with feeding them false ideas like Father Christmas or the Tooth Fairy. One day heaven will be brought up most likely from someone who isn’t a part of the immediate family because it is expected that everyone tells their children about loved ones going to heaven because it is comforting. We don’t and when we are asked by our children about it will we explain that we don’t believe that heaven exists and that someone people do. We are not forcing our beliefs on our children; we are letting them make up their own minds. I will not expect my children to accept what they have been told I want them to them to question, I want them to investigate and discover for themselves.