Images of Faith (and Non-faith)

By Wendy Thomas Russell | June 11, 2012

It’s funny what you see when you start paying attention. I don’t consider my city particularly religious, but there was a two-day period recently when religion seemed to pop up everywhere I looked. Maybe it was because I had been thinking about religious imagery through the eyes of children — about all they must see in the world around them that they don’t understand. I took all three of these pictures after randomly happening upon them. I wonder how many of you could take similar pictures in your neighborhoods — or if you already have. […] Read more – ‘Images of Faith (and Non-faith)’.

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How to Tell if Your Child is ‘Ready’ to Talk about God

By Wendy Thomas Russell | June 7, 2012

I wish there hard-and-fast rules about when to have the “tough talks” with our kids. Like how preschool teachers do Kindergarten-readiness tests and then let parents know when their kids are ready to advance. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone could give us a sign when the time for these conversations is right? “Yes, Mrs. Russell, feel free to discuss the 9/11 attacks; your daughter is mature enough to handle that level of evil.” “No, Mrs. Russell, she needs a more few months before she hears about the difference between vaginal and anal sex.” It’s […] Read more – ‘How to Tell if Your Child is ‘Ready’ to Talk about God’.

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Is a Lack of Vomit the Best We Can Offer?

By Wendy Thomas Russell | June 4, 2012

Did I ever  tell you about the time my husband told me hated the word tolerance? I was sure I’d misheard him. I was all, like, what? Huh? You can’t hate the word tolerance! Everybody LOVES the word tolerance. Simon Wiesenthal and the Museum of Tolerance and all that. Remember? Yes, he assured me, he did remember. But he still hated it. See, in my husband’s view, tolerance was a word used to relate something bad, not good. A guy ate a piece of rancid beef but was able to tolerate it; that is, he was […] Read more – ‘Is a Lack of Vomit the Best We Can Offer?’.

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You Don’t Have to Be Religious to Sing about God

By Wendy Thomas Russell | May 31, 2012

A couple of weeks ago, as you may recall, my daughter cut me off midway through a sentence to inform me that we wouldn’t be talking about religion anymore. Her justification: “Religion is boring.” The statement stopped me in my tracks, mostly because I’d been under the impression she enjoyed our little talks. Since then, I’ve realized that what we had there was a failure to communicate. As it turns out, Maxine doesn’t find religion boring in the least. She’s still as fascinated with God and heaven and faith as she was nearly two years ago, […] Read more – ‘You Don’t Have to Be Religious to Sing about God’.

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Where’s an Omniscient Policeman When You Need One?

By Wendy Thomas Russell | May 24, 2012

Whenever my daughter starts talking about God, I try really hard to treat it like any other ordinary subject. But, inside, you can be sure I’m doing one of those Napoleon Dynamite “yesss” fist pumps — because, chances are, if one of our God conversations lasts more than a few seconds, I’ve got myself a blog post. You know where I’m going with this. On Friday, Maxine had a playdate with a good friend of hers (who I love dearly and whose mother happens to be a good friend of mine). Both girls are in […] Read more – ‘Where’s an Omniscient Policeman When You Need One?’.

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O We of Little Faith: Highlights from Nonreligious Survey

By Wendy Thomas Russell | May 21, 2012

My Survey of Nonreligious Parents parents concludes this week, and I want to, once more, thank everyone who was involved in the project. I managed to get close to 1,100 responses, and the results have been fascinating. I’m most grateful for all of those who took the time to explain their answers. I learned so much more when I let you tell me about your experiences in your own words. First, the basics: Most of the respondents (about 75 percent) were women and between the ages of 26 and 45, and most had children under […] Read more – ‘O We of Little Faith: Highlights from Nonreligious Survey’.

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Teachable Moment Goes Up in Flames

By Wendy Thomas Russell | May 17, 2012

So I’m setting up my daughter’s dollhouse with her last night when she holds up a mouse and a bunny. “Which one should be the mommy?” she asks. “The bunny,” I say. “But the daddy’s a mouse,” she says. “That’s okay,” I say. “A bunny can marry a mouse.” Then the lightbulb: This here is what they call a teachable moment! “You know, Maxine,” I say, already feeling pretty proud of myself, “you don’t have to look alike to get married. You know how black people marry white people, or tall people marry short people, […] Read more – ‘Teachable Moment Goes Up in Flames’.

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Religious Parent, Secular Child: The New Culture Clash

By Wendy Thomas Russell | May 14, 2012

I was quoted in the New York Times Magazine’s Sixth Floor Blog a couple of weeks ago, which, admittedly, is not the same as being quoted in the New York Times — or even the New York Times Magazine — but, hey, I’ll take it where I can get it. The writer singled me out because she liked my term “first-generation secular,” which she read in the Psychology Today piece I told you about here. The NYTMSFB’s mention has me thinking about that term — “first-generation secular” — and what makes it so appealing. I think it’s because so many of us […] Read more – ‘Religious Parent, Secular Child: The New Culture Clash’.

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Changing Minds Is More Fun When It’s Your Own

By Wendy Thomas Russell | May 10, 2012

Yesterday I was helping a friend put together a digital photo book for her daughter. She had arranged all the pictures herself, and I was going through the book adding text and repositioning things. In looking through the photos she had discarded, I found some great shots. I mean, really great shots. Some of them were the sort of unstaged, unscripted family shots that tell a real story. Others were just adorable pictures of her daughter that I couldn’t believe she’d overlooked. I really wanted to make the book as good as it could be, […] Read more – ‘Changing Minds Is More Fun When It’s Your Own’.

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My Kid is Ignorant — Isn’t That Hilarious?

By Wendy Thomas Russell | May 7, 2012

After I wrote my blog last week about cute conversations nonreligous parents have with their kids, a reader sent me a link to a post on the Friendly Atheist website about actress Julia Sweeney. Run by a guy named Hermant Mehta, the Friendly Atheist is a great site — mostly because of its Ask Richard segment — but isn’t always very “friendly,” if you ask me. The post told of a recent experience Sweeney (Letting Go of God) had while introducing her 9-year-old daughter, Mulan, to the movie Jesus Christ Superstar. Sweeney wrote: I thought maybe it was a good way for […] Read more – ‘My Kid is Ignorant — Isn’t That Hilarious?’.

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Relax, It’s Just God

A Blog for Secular Parents
For parents who aren’t religious, the task of talking to children about religion can be daunting. So daunting, in fact, that the entire subject often gets glossed over or ignored completely. Relax, It’s Just God is a blog (and soon a book) intended to help parents break their silence without breaking a sweat.
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