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Raising Secular Humanist Kids
Posted: 15 June 2008 10:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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I would have LOVED to send my sons to a Camp Inquiry, they would have been there every year, but as you pointed out, it did not exist as an option when my/our children were youths.

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Posted: 15 June 2008 11:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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I know and from what I read about it, I shared with my sons and asked them, when and if they give me grandkids, if I could help send them to Camp Inquiry. Neither of them said they had a problem with the idea and said it sounded like a lot of fun, even though they are too old for it.  They even said they wish they could go.  I think it is easier to raise Secular children now, due to more opportunities, where as in previous years, the only choices for summer camp was being very selective in which church camp they went to or look for some scouting (or alike) group while keeping your mouth shut about your own views.  Now days, kids have that social event without religion being involved in some form or another.

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 16 June 2008 06:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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As we went for a walk on the weekend my younger son asked me where stones came from. Before I had a chance to answer he said that god probably made them; my kids like to tease me this way. But when I noticed my older son agreed with his brother, and I could tell that this time he wasn’t just trying to make a joke, I asked him to explain. He told me that there were people walking behind us and he didn’t want them to know that we didn’t believe in god. I guess he took my “let’s keep our opinions to ourselves” advice the wrong way. We had a long and interesting conversation after this. It was fun.

P.S. Occam, it’s nice to hear form you!

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Posted: 09 July 2008 07:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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George - 01 December 2006 09:59 AM

... My older son is now five, and he has been asking me questions about death since he was three. Before I had kids I thought this might happen, now I realize I wasn’t ready for it. First I told my son that after he dies, which will happen in a very looooooooooong time, he’ll become a flower. I know this is a lie, but there is little truth to it. And he was fine with it for some time. Then one day he told me that he didn’t want to be a flower, but he wanted to be him forever, after which I was speechless. My mother-in-law (who is religious) insisted telling him about “the possibility” of going to heaven. I didn’t agree. I told him the “truth”: after death there is nothing. I explained to him that I was equally afraid of it because I didn’t fully understand it. We talked about the importance of being alive and about achieving immortality through your children. He liked that, it made him feel special. He liked the idea of “helping” me (!) (trough his existence) to become immortal. He still asks me about it once in a while, but I can see that now he tries to look for the answer himself.

According to some predictions, those born after 2000 have a good possibility of living forever, short of accidents, some diseases, or excessive consumption of fatty foods. We may be able to repair DNA in the future, or we may have to wait for ‘gene spinners’ which can generate embryos with the desired characteristics. For myself, I find the idea of a finite life more believable than an infinite universe. My attitude is, deal with it.

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Posted: 09 July 2008 07:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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A Voice of Sanity - 09 July 2008 07:41 PM

According to some predictions, those born after 2000 have a good possibility of living forever, short of accidents, some diseases, or excessive consumption of fatty foods. We may be able to repair DNA in the future, or we may have to wait for ‘gene spinners’ which can generate embryos with the desired characteristics. For myself, I find the idea of a finite life more believable than an infinite universe. My attitude is, deal with it.

Interesting thoughts, but might be a little heavy for a five-year-old?

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Some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it’s a simple adventure story. Others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe.    - Lex Luthor

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Posted: 09 July 2008 08:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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Jules - 09 July 2008 07:55 PM

Interesting thoughts, but might be a little heavy for a five-year-old?

Isn’t the whole discussion?

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Posted: 09 July 2008 11:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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´╗┐While I agree that life extension is a possibility, problems such as accidents, murder, war, etc. are some likely reasons for limitation.  Other important ones are that there’d be no such thing as retirement at 65.  Instead, people would work as long as they were functional.  This means a large unemployed population.  World population is increasing rapidly, now.  If people don’t die off, it will increase even faster, putting more burdon on food supplies.  An increasing fraction of people would become poor, putting even more stress on society.  I don’t think these concepts and their ramifications can be handled or thoroughly understood by most adults, let alone a child.

Occam

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Posted: 10 July 2008 01:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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Occam - 09 July 2008 11:49 PM

´╗┐While I agree that life extension is a possibility, problems such as accidents, murder, war, etc. are some likely reasons for limitation.  Other important ones are that there’d be no such thing as retirement at 65.  Instead, people would work as long as they were functional.  This means a large unemployed population.  World population is increasing rapidly, now.  If people don’t die off, it will increase even faster, putting more burden on food supplies.  An increasing fraction of people would become poor, putting even more stress on society.  I don’t think these concepts and their ramifications can be handled or thoroughly understood by most adults, let alone a child.

Occam

“May you live in interesting times”—Old Irish curse.

I fear we may.

[ Edited: 22 July 2008 07:47 PM by A Voice of Sanity ]
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Posted: 22 July 2008 07:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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My family is lucky to live in a secular and liberal community.  I have been toying with the idea of a secular “Sunday” school for quite a while.  Every parent I have floated the idea to has loved it and claims they would like to participate.  The premise is to form a secular community group for children for education, charity and fun.  I am nervous to start, because, one, I am not a teacher nor have I ever organized anything like this.  My kids are 8 and 10, but what age groups would I include?  I can see teaching science concepts tied into current events, comparative religion, ethics, philopsophy, etc, all of which I am woefully unprepared to teach.  Further, we could take on community charity projects as well.  Local environmental cleanup.  It almost seems like it would be great to model it on Camp Inquiry, learning while having fun.  In brainstorming, the ideas seems limitless.  However, I have never been to Camp Inquiry, nor do I have prepared resources of my own.

I am afraid that this might be something the parents theoretically would like, but would the kids want to sit on the weekend and discuss science?  Everyone is so busy with their lives, sports, music. school and vacation, that again, the interest might be fleeting.

Does this idea strike a cord with anybody else?  Could you see this being of interest to you and/or your children?  I am looking for feed back and/or suggestions.

Thanks.

[ Edited: 22 July 2008 07:35 PM by redundant ]
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Posted: 22 July 2008 07:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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redundant - 22 July 2008 07:31 PM

I am afraid that this might be something the parents theoretically would like, but would the kids want to sit on the weekend and discuss science?  Everyone is so busy with their lives, sports, music. school and vacation, that again, the interest might be fleeting.

Does this idea strike a cord with anybody else?  Could you see this being of interest to you and/or your children?  I am looking for feed back and/or suggestions.

Thanks.

Why not games and activities? It’s easier and more economical to share them. Don’t overlook thrifts, Craig’s List and FreeCycle for stuff you can use and eBay can be a great source. A search there for (electronics,science) kit got a number of hits. Doing science can lead to discussing science.

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Posted: 22 July 2008 07:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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It’s a great idea - it’s just the organization and execution that seems daunting to you. Perhaps there is a solution. You could partner with a camp, after school club, or community center already in place, and find a teacher or counselor willing to join you in your project. Perhaps you could start small, as a specialty class within a program already in place. Depending on the success, it could become more frequent until it’s permanent. They could help with the logistics. It is very doable.

Something like this happened at my son’s summer day camp. Once a month, an animal handler would bring in pets and wildlife (turtles, bunnies, snake, etc.) from the nature center for an hour long class. It was so popular that this year, the camp invited the nature center staff to come once a week for “nature day” that now include hikes in the woods, looking for salamanders under rocks, learning different types of trees, etc. So that gave me the idea that you could start as a “specialty class” while gaining fans and support, and would give you time to work out the details.

Also, a “weird science” kids birthday party comes to mind. A friend hired a lady to perform fun interactive science experiments at the party. There was mix-it-yourself glow in the dark goop, Blacklight face painting (the five-year-olds went nuts when the blacklight came on and they all had hearts or stars on their faces), and the grand finale, a toy rocket launch in the backyard, complete with sparkler ignition. Oh, I found her website here it is Science Explorers New York

Anyhow, hope this gives you some fun ideas.  grin

[ Edited: 22 July 2008 07:57 PM by Jules ]
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Some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it’s a simple adventure story. Others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe.    - Lex Luthor

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Posted: 23 July 2008 09:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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redundant - 22 July 2008 07:31 PM

My family is lucky to live in a secular and liberal community.  I have been toying with the idea of a secular “Sunday” school for quite a while.  Every parent I have floated the idea to has loved it and claims they would like to participate.  The premise is to form a secular community group for children for education, charity and fun.  I am nervous to start, because, one, I am not a teacher nor have I ever organized anything like this.  My kids are 8 and 10, but what age groups would I include?  I can see teaching science concepts tied into current events, comparative religion, ethics, philopsophy, etc, all of which I am woefully unprepared to teach.  Further, we could take on community charity projects as well.  Local environmental cleanup.  It almost seems like it would be great to model it on Camp Inquiry, learning while having fun.  In brainstorming, the ideas seems limitless.  However, I have never been to Camp Inquiry, nor do I have prepared resources of my own.

I am afraid that this might be something the parents theoretically would like, but would the kids want to sit on the weekend and discuss science?  Everyone is so busy with their lives, sports, music. school and vacation, that again, the interest might be fleeting.

Does this idea strike a cord with anybody else?  Could you see this being of interest to you and/or your children?  I am looking for feed back and/or suggestions.

Thanks.

It’s very important that secularists find ways to do this. My suggestion is to include stories that emphaize secularist-Humanist values. We have a wealth of narratives to draw on, from non-fiction (Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Albert Schweitzer, many thousands of heroic stories to tell) to fiction (Hugo’s Les Miserables, for example). I also agree with you that science should be part of the story, from the big bang through evolution and the story of scientific discovery. We have more narratives to tell than we have time to tell in a lifetime - and they’re true!

I would like to see something like a Humanists’ liturgy. I have my own, and if enough people ever get excited about something like that I believe marvelous things will happen.

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I cannot in good conscience support CFI under the current leadership. I am here in dissent and in support of a Humanism that honors and respects everyone.

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Posted: 23 July 2008 09:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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Redundant, as I recall, one of the humanist groups was talking about children’s curricula a while ago.  You may want to send e-mails to the Center For Inquiry and the American Humanist Association asking if they have any information or suggestions.

Occam

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Posted: 23 July 2008 08:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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Thanks to all of you for your replys.  I think I will look for children’s curricula.  I sent a note to Center for Inquiry about this subject a while ago and was surprised not to hear back from them.  I suggested what they have learned from Camp Inquiry would be a great starting point for a children’s section of their site.  Their outreach seems to end at college, maybe high school.

My idea was that there had to be many people like myself who would like to meet with like minded family’s, children included.  I thought that the Center for Inquiry could act as a clearing house for submissions from different people.  I would think in no time at all, there could be projects, lessons, games, etc contributed for all to use.  It helps reduce the pressure of having to put together a talk on evolution, for example that would be informative but at the same time fun.  We could discuss what works and what doesn’t work, at least in our experiences.  I even think comparative religion would be good, so the kids would be exposed to all of the ideas, their commonalities and differences.  I want to be very careful not to indoctrinate my children, something I resent in religion.  If they learn to question and think for themselfs, they can come to their own conclusions.  Also, it is a place to reinforce morality and empathy.

I was also struck by what PLaClair had to say.  It is true that I think a Humanists’ liturgy is somewhat what I have in mind, without dogma of course.  My wife and I try very hard to instill humanist values in our children and to live for today, with joy.

Anyway, I will see what groups have what in this regard. Thanks again.

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Posted: 24 July 2008 05:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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Without dogma, but with content.

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I cannot in good conscience support CFI under the current leadership. I am here in dissent and in support of a Humanism that honors and respects everyone.

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