Dale McGowan

Two Items of Business for Secular Parents

By Wendy Thomas Russell | August 19, 2013

Okay, people, a couple of items of business on this fine Monday morning. 1. Mixed Marriages: If you happen to be in an “interfaithless” marriage — one partner is religious, the other isn’t — you’ll want to keep an eye out for Dale McGowan’s newest project, a book called “In Faith and In Doubt.” McGowan, who announced the book title on his blog last week, promises to show “how religious believers and nonbelievers can create strong marriages and happy families.” The book is slated for release around July 2014, but McGowan (author of Parenting Beyond Belief: Raising Ethical, […] Read more – ‘Two Items of Business for Secular Parents’.
Raising Critical Thinkers Means Letting Our Kids Criticize Us

By Wendy Thomas Russell | August 16, 2012

We’ve all heard the cliche about letting kids rule the roost. Countless books, TV shows, teachers (neighbors, in-laws, airplane passengers…) repeatedly instruct us to set strict rules, limitations and boundaries for our kids. They tell us this is the key to good parenting. They insist we demand courtesy and respect, and not allow them to display anger, disappointment or frustration “inappropriately.” Largely because of these influencers, we start putting our kids in time-outs for talking back, or being unkind. We become infuriated when they speak to us in voices dripping with sarcasm and defiance. We […] Read more – ‘Raising Critical Thinkers Means Letting Our Kids Criticize Us’.
Why Secular Parents Should Do the Santa Thing

By Wendy Thomas Russell | June 25, 2012

Does it seem a bit weird to talk about Santa in July? Probably. But that’s the chapter of my book I’m working on at the moment, so that’s the subject you’re getting today. My apologies in advance! I’m not sure how many of you have read Parenting Beyond Belief, edited (and partially written) by Dale McGowan, but it’s considered sort of a must-read in some nonreligious parenting circles. The essay-driven collection is a hodgepodge of ideas set forth by famous and not-so-famous atheist/agnostic parents on a whole range of topics. My favorite bit in the […] Read more – ‘Why Secular Parents Should Do the Santa Thing’.
Help Break New Ground! Participate in Survey of Nonreligious Parents

By Wendy Thomas Russell | January 23, 2012

I don’t want to make too big a deal about this, but DUDE! MY SURVEY FOR NONRELIGIOUS PARENTS IS READY TO GO! I can’t tell you how excited I am to see this survey come to fruition. Some of you may know that Parenting Beyond Belief author Dale McGowan conducted an excellent survey of nonreligious parents a couple of years ago — the first of its kind — and, in a way, my questionnaire begins where his left off. It delves into how we nonreligious parents make it work in our families and communities, how we’ve […] Read more – ‘Help Break New Ground! Participate in Survey of Nonreligious Parents’.
Thanksgiving ‘Prayers’ for Secular Families

By Wendy Thomas Russell | November 24, 2011

I recently became a member of a Facebook group called Mothers Beyond Belief, sort of an offshoot of Dale McGowan’s Parenting Beyond Belief community. It’s an online support group for secular moms. So last week the mother of a 5-year-old shared that her daughter wanted to say a “pray” before meals. The family doesn’t believe, and therefore doesn’t pray, so the mom was looking for other things the family could say instead. I loved the question, especially in light of this particular holiday. Thanksgiving dinner is one of those meals so extraordinary that it practically […] Read more – ‘Thanksgiving ‘Prayers’ for Secular Families’.
10 Commandments for Talking to Kids About Religion

By Wendy Thomas Russell | November 21, 2011

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: When you’re not religious, talking about religion with kids can be a serious challenge. The words don’t come naturally. Little things can freak you out. And, about the time your kids learn to ask questions, you begin to notice how much of our society is informed by religious faith, and how many people around us believe things we don’t. Panic has a way of setting in. Hopefully, you aren’t like me. Hopefully you’re less anxiety-prone, more level-headed. Good for you. But, for the rest of you: […] Read more – ‘10 Commandments for Talking to Kids About Religion’.
Church Is Fun! (Or Is It?)

By Wendy Thomas Russell | September 26, 2011

Several months ago, I interviewed Dale McGowan, an atheist dad and the author of two books, Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion, and its followup, Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide to Parenting Beyond Belief. Among other things, McGowan is an advocate for exposing children to a variety of religions first-hand so that they might feel free to draw their own conclusions. He told me that, over the years, he has schlepped his own three kids to a host of temples, mosques, churches and synagogues — all to help them understand what religion […] Read more – ‘Church Is Fun! (Or Is It?)’.

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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