Secular Parenting

I’ve been in the Navy Reserves for 7 years now. I am a Seabee and have deployed once to Iraq which I am quite proud of. I am glad to have had the opportunity to serve in that capacity at least once in my life. No matter the different political outlook we all have. The things I did over there not only made our service members lives better but also local Iraqis.

Well, tonight I got some tragic news of one of the guys that I have served with. I learned that his daughter committed suicide at 18 years old. I hate to see one of my buddies go through such a thing. I can’t imagine. I can’t imagine losing one of my own children who are still very very young to such a thing. Especially over mothers day weekend. That shit sucks.  I feel so bad for their family.

Today I watched my oldest son ride his bike most of the day, even in the rain. Yesterday, on mothers day, was the first day that he rode his bike for the first time without training wheels. It is so awesome to see your own kids take next steps in life. In any way imaginable. Be it sports, education, learning mannerisms, etc. It is great to see them grow and learn. We all want the best for our children. We want them to grow to be successful in whatever area they chose to go in.

This weekend we had the in-laws over. Over our mothers day lunch conversation, they non-chelantly offered to keep our kids for a week in June. At first I was delighted as my wife and I might have some time together, but the way they brought it up made me suspicious. Sure enough, the motive came forth in the next sentence. They wanted to take the kids to Vacation Bible School. My thoughts immediately were disappointment and I wanted to say no. No way did I want my kids to be exposed and indoctrinated for a week of Jesus stuff. I figured my wife and I would talk about it later.

We did talk about it after they left and agreed we did not want our kids to be trapped for hours over a week being taught non-sense and lies. Her parents were saddened and disappointed of course. Our oldest son doesn’t even like going to church with them once a month, much less a whole week of that BS. Our younger daughter doesn’t know any better, but I just wouldn’t feel right exposing her to a week of stories and doctrines that aren’t true. The objective of these schools is to get the kids while their young. To get them to believe their myths before the are able to think and decide for themselves what they believe or don’t. I would feel horrible allowing my kids to be subjected to that kind of brainwashing.

I’m not sure how all this ties into the first part of this post other than I just want the best for my children. I want them to learn for themselves what is truth and with my guidance (I am their parent after all) what is best for them. I guess I just think about being a parent in general. I do my best every day. I can’t imagine losing one of mine to such tragedy. And I know what a tragedy it is to try to tell them what to think as opposed to how to think. And that is exactly what these “Vacation Bible Schools” do. No thanks.

A sad dinner

After several weeks of thinking on it and discussions, my wife and I have decided to put our dogs down. It’s sad but for the best.

Last night at dinner we decided to let the kids know and discuss it. It was quite emotional. Everyone was crying by the end of it as we talked about how the process is done and how we will miss them. We also talked about times that we had over the past ten years with them.

On into the evening, the kids wanted to share their beds, pillows and blankets with the dogs. It was very cute. They pet the dogs a little extra. And they talked about getting a hamster or a fish tank as replacement pets. I think in attempts to move past the saddness. We’ve decided against any more dogs in the future.

At bed time, my 5 year old daughter wanted to talk more about the dogs with my wife. She wished they didn’t have to get a shot and that they could live forever. We have believers in the family that still tell our kids about christianity and living eternally with god after we die. We aren’t the type of parents that tell our kids what they must believe or not. We allow them to discover things on their own, though we do let them know that we don’t believe and why.

My daughter asked my wife if they could pray for the dogs to live forever. And so she did that with her. She didn’t preach to our daughter in that moment that their probably is not a god there to listen. Didn’t tell her there was no point in praying. She let our daughter have her moment of coping how she wanted to and to have “the faith of a child.”

Its amazing being able to be open and honest with our kids about this stuff. We don’t have to pretend that the stories in the bible are true with them. We don’t have to worship a god that there is no evidence for. Yet, we can still let them make those determinations and decisions for themselves. I love talking to my kids about it.

Needless to say, our childs prayer for our dogs will be another one gone up in the air. We will still have a very sad day coming next month. This experience with my family is unique for us and one I wouldn’t trade for anything.

We finally made it through dinner all teary eyed. However we left the washing up for later and chose to go spend time with the dogs instead.