Addressing ‘God’ in Secular Families: When is the Right Time?
By Wendy Thomas Russell | September 16, 2013
- When my daughter was 2, and barely out of diapers, she had her first Potty Emergency. We’d been having lunch when suddenly she rose and sprinted to the bathroom with the speed and determination of a hunted deer. I’d been hopeful she made it in time, but when I arrived several seconds later, she was standing in front of the toilet, fully clothed, staring down at a puddle on the floor. Her little shoulders had fallen. Without looking up at me, she shook her little head and said exactly what I would have said in […] Read more – ‘Addressing ‘God’ in Secular Families: When is the Right Time?’.
Can the Bible Help Kids Think Critically?
By Wendy Thomas Russell | August 26, 2013
- Once upon a time, I would have choked on my own vomit at the idea of buying a children’s Bible for my daughter. The way I saw it, the Bible was an indoctrination tool. I no more wanted to crack that book open than I wanted to get her baptized or plan her Bat Mitzvah or teach her to pray toward Mecca five times a day. It was all the same to me. In my mind, only religious people read the Bible. But, times have changed. Today, I don’t equate the Bible to religion; I equate […] Read more – ‘Can the Bible Help Kids Think Critically?’.
‘Golden Rule’ — Beautiful, Universal and Very, Very Old
By Wendy Thomas Russell | July 15, 2013
- It is a common misconception that the Golden Rule began with Jesus. In fact, it’s part of the reason some Christians think of their religion as synonymous with morality. After all, to treat others the way you want to be treated is the essence of moral conduct. And it was Luke 6:31 in the New Testament that quotes Jesus as saying: “As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” (Matthew 7:1-5 also addresses the topic.) But Jesus didn’t invent the ethic of reciprocity anymore than did Muhammad, who said: […] Read more – ‘‘Golden Rule’ — Beautiful, Universal and Very, Very Old’.
‘Jesus Gosh!’: Explaining Religious Sensitivity to a 4-Year-Old
By Wendy Thomas Russell | June 24, 2013
- When exactly is the right time to broach the subject of religion with children? It’s a common question not easily answered. Kids are so different. The brain develops at different speeds and in different ways. What interests children at any given age runs the gamut of possibilities and is constantly in flux. So parents like me, we look for openings. We keep our ears open for conversation starters, and signs that our little ones might be ready to think a bit deeper about life and people and beliefs. We want them to be old enough […] Read more – ‘‘Jesus Gosh!’: Explaining Religious Sensitivity to a 4-Year-Old’.
Daddy, Daughter Discuss God (Again); More Cuteness Ensues
By Wendy Thomas Russell | May 13, 2013
- My husband and 7-year-old daughter had another totally awesome conversation about God a few days ago. They used to do that from time to time, but it’s been a while since the subject has come up in much detail. I sure love it when it does. The talks are always fun, insightful, thought-provoking and, frankly, cute as hell. They also present Charlie with golden opportunities to teach Maxine about honesty, diversity and the importance of kindness. Anyway, this one’s particularly good, so I wanted to share: Maxine: Where do you think God is? Like, which house or school… […] Read more – ‘Daddy, Daughter Discuss God (Again); More Cuteness Ensues’.
Kids Leaving Parents’ Religion Certainly Gets People Talking
By Wendy Thomas Russell | March 7, 2013
- I’m hella busy today, but wanted to link to a few recent news posts about children leaving the faiths into which they were born. The first is informative, the second is instructive, and the third — well, the third is just trash. But watch it for the comedic value. Study: Religious Parents’ Divorce May Cause Children to Leave the Church The Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion released a study Tuesday finding that children who have two religious parents are twice as likely to lose that religion if the parents divorce. The journal does […] Read more – ‘Kids Leaving Parents’ Religion Certainly Gets People Talking’.
Research Shows Baby Jesus Crazy Popular
By Wendy Thomas Russell | November 26, 2012
- For the last few weeks, I’ve been prepping for the first edition of Relax, It’s Just God’s Shopping Guide, which, if all goes according to plan, will appear here on Thursday — just in time for the Christian and Jewish month of giving. (See how I timed that? Aren’t I clever?) The guide will give reviews and buying information about my favorite “props” — including toys, books, movies and music — all of which are intended to help parents talk to kids about religion without confusing them, scaring them or boring them to tears. Feel free to let […] Read more – ‘Research Shows Baby Jesus Crazy Popular’.
75 Reasons to Share the Bible with Kids (Even if You Don’t Believe Any of It)
By Wendy Thomas Russell | November 19, 2012
- If we want our children to be religiously literate — and who among us doesn’t, honestly? — then it behooves us to talk about the Bible in respectful terms, even if we don’t think much of it is true. When parents call the Bible “a book of fairy tales” (direct quote from my survey for nonreligious parents), it makes the whole thing seem silly and unimportant. And not just unimportant in a religious way, but unimportant in a universal way. I grew up with parents who talked about William Shakespeare like he was THE MAN (with […] Read more – ‘75 Reasons to Share the Bible with Kids (Even if You Don’t Believe Any of It)’.
Taking the ‘Myth’ out of the Bible
By Wendy Thomas Russell | November 15, 2012
- Oh, Bible. You do confound us so. You are so very dense, complicated and repetitive, not to mention confusing, contradictory, outrageous and far too long-winded to actually read. And yet you are so wise, textured and powerful. You are surprising and exciting and flush with cultural references. In fact, you make it almost impossible for any of us to understand who we are as a civilization without at least getting your Cliffs Notes. As author E.D. Hirsch Jr. tells children in The First Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: The Bible is by far the best-known book […] Read more – ‘Taking the ‘Myth’ out of the Bible’.
‘The God Talk’ Makes Prime Time
By Wendy Thomas Russell | October 4, 2012
- Any Parenthood watchers out there? A couple of weeks ago, the NBC series aired an episode involving a nonreligious couple who discovers their young son praying at his bedside, which leads them to confront the issue for the first time — not only with their son, but also with Grandma (who has, of course, inspired the prayer) and with each other. The story arc rings very true, and I was thrilled to see the discussion come up on Prime Time. If you’re interested, you can stream the episode on Netflix. The story line starts in […] Read more – ‘‘The God Talk’ Makes Prime Time’.