Kids

Quick! What the Hell is Diwali?

By Wendy Thomas Russell | November 1, 2013

Here’s the Diwali installment of Relax, It’s Just God’s beloved* Holiday Cheat Sheet, a series offering parents the quick and dirty run-down on major religious holidays, so that they might come across as intelligent beings to their kids. I’m sure you guys remember all this stuff from last year, but rest assured, Diwali is just as cool and fun as it has always been. Why? (C’mon, you don’t remember this?) Let me count the ways: 1. Fireworks 2. Bollywood music 3. Poker 4. Cool back story 5. Curry 6. Candles 7. Shopping  * too strong? Holiday: Diwali Pronounced: Di-VAH-li […] Read more – ‘Quick! What the Hell is Diwali?’.
12 Simple Differences Between Catholics and Protestants

By Wendy Thomas Russell | June 10, 2013

The rapid rise of the “Nones” — those unaffiliated with religious groups — was back in the news this week, when the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released its most recent study on American religiosity. Here’s what Pew had to say: The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling… Their ranks now include more than 13 million self-described […] Read more – ‘12 Simple Differences Between Catholics and Protestants’.
3 Must-Reads for Secular Parents

By Wendy Thomas Russell | January 14, 2013

The last month has produced an incredible little selection of articles relating to secular parenting, and I wanted to make sure you didn’t miss them. The pieces are, in turn, educational, insightful, funny and heartwarming. And all of them are written by women — which seems significant because the secular community is, we are told, still dominated by menfolk. [To read the articles, just click on the titles below.] 1. Why My 7-Year-old is an Atheist (And Why I’m Okay With That) by Carolyn Castiglia Castiglia, a comedian, writes about her daughter’s “conversion” to atheism, despite […] Read more – ‘3 Must-Reads for Secular Parents’.
Discussing Death with Little Ones (Whose Deaths We Fear So Much)

By Wendy Thomas Russell | December 17, 2012

Not since 9/11 has a tragedy so deeply affected our nation as the massacre of 20 first-graders and six school administrators in Connecticut on Friday. It seems to me, words were not meant to communicate this level of horror. Our capacity for emotional pain is so much deeper than our capacity to verbalize what has happened. Sometimes silence and tears are our only option. But when it comes to children, we have a duty to discuss death and dying. It is an important part of parenting, and we mustn’t shy away from it. Yes, it’s […] Read more – ‘Discussing Death with Little Ones (Whose Deaths We Fear So Much)’.
BlogHer Spotlights Religious Charm Bracelet

By Wendy Thomas Russell | October 2, 2012

BlogHer Spotlight featured one of my posts today — the one on religious charm bracelets, and they called the idea “brilliant.” So, you know, I love them now. You can check out the BlogHer bit here, but this is what they wrote: All Religions In One Charm Bracelet Reflecting on her own childhood fascination with her mother’s jangly charm bracelet, Wendy hatched a brilliant plan — create a sparkly, shiny charm bracelet featuring a variety of religious symbols as a teaching tool for her daughter: “I’d like for Maxine to recognize religious symbols and have some sense […] Read more – ‘BlogHer Spotlights Religious Charm Bracelet’.
God Saves! (But For Real This Time)

By Wendy Thomas Russell | August 27, 2012

OUT in the Cold is a great little independent documentary about homeless gay kids funded by the Mathew Shepard Foundation. The short film, released in 2002, features youth who either were forced onto the streets or who ran away because their home lives were so unbearable. I mention it this blog because one of the featured youth was a dark-haired, kind-eyed, faith-filled kid named Rob Malone, whose home life was turned upside down when he came out as gay. Until then, Rob said, he’d enjoyed a normal, loving relationship with his parents and felt deeply connected to his […] Read more – ‘God Saves! (But For Real This Time)’.
‘My Friend Said If You Don’t Believe in God, You Go Into Fire’

By Wendy Thomas Russell | August 23, 2012

My daughter was sitting next to me on the couch earlier this week, playing a game on the iPad, when she stopped and looked up. She’d remembered something that a friend had told her at summer school. “She said if you don’t believe in God, you go into fire,” Maxine told me. “She did?” I asked.”Oh. Well, she’s talking about hell. Have you heard of hell?” “No.” “Some people believe you go there if you don’t believe in God,” I added with as much neutrality as I could muster. “Do you believe that?” she asked. […] Read more – ‘‘My Friend Said If You Don’t Believe in God, You Go Into Fire’’.
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?’.
The ‘G’ Word: An Excerpt from My Book (And My Life)

By Wendy Thomas Russell | September 5, 2011

When my daughter, Maxine, was born, I knew religion would be a tricky topic. I thought about what I would say and wouldn’t say. I decided I’d teach her that different people believed different things, and try to answer her questions honestly. I’d neither bash religion nor sing its praises. And, of course, I’d tell her about the wonders of science. Sounds pretty good, right? But somehow, all these general plans just didn’t add up to a well-packed suitcase. Maxine was barely 5 years old when, driving home from preschool one day, she piped up […] Read more – ‘The ‘G’ Word: An Excerpt from My Book (And My Life)’.

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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