Everything You Need to Survive the Tightrope Walk of Parenting

Parenting can be a tightrope walk.

We’re always in search of a middle ground. We want our kids to eat healthy, but we don’t want to deny them sweets.  We want to guide them to good decisions, but we don’t want to make decisions for them.  It isn’t always clear at first where the middle is, so we are always readjusting our sense of balance.  At least, I am.

I think that the most delicate and debated issue that requires nearly constant readjustment is that of religion–or in my case, lack thereof.  I’ve written of my desire to let my daughter make her own choices about her beliefs as she gets older.  But that’s easy to type.  In practice, it gets a bit murky.  How do you answer your child’s questions about the world without indoctrinating them?  Is that even possible?!  Sometimes I wonder.  Writer Wendy Thomas Russell delves into the murkiness of the non-religious parenting on her blog Relax, It’s Just God.

All that never far from my mind, I was eager to read the teen novel Everything You Need to Survive the Apocalypse by Lucas Klauss.  Yes, it’s a novel published for teens.  But I am recommending it to parents.  Non-religious parents, in particular, may relate to the father, described as an “enthusiastic atheist,” as they read the teen’s story of exploring religion.

I couldn’t help but wonder if my daughter would feel like she needed to hide her interest in beliefs that differ from mine like Phillip does.  Or if I would forbid her from it like Phillip’s dad does.  I don’t think that I would, but sometimes we act more emotionally than rationally, especially when it is about the people we love the most. The book isn’t about religion being true or not true or good or bad.  It’s about the way religion affects people and the choices we make as we decide how we will let it affect us.  It’s about family.

Recommended to parents of all sorts, but especially those wondering how to approach the balancing act that is allowing our kids to explore beliefs that are different from our own.


For more about secular family life, see my Secular Thursday page or check out the Books for Secular Families Amazon Book Shop.  A portion of purchases made from Amazon.com links on this site benefit Proper Noun Blog.  Thanks for your support! (Book was reviewed from a library copy.)

Take a Book, Leave a Book

For most of my life Saturdays were spent in service.  It was part of my family’s values to give our time to our church whenever we could.  As kids, this meant that Saturday mornings weren’t for sleeping in and watching cartoons.  They were for the volunteer ministry.

It seems that old habits find a way.  My religious beliefs have changed, but I still value service, volunteering, and generosity.  Without noticing I was doing it, I started a new Saturday morning routine that involves a walk or bike ride with my daughter down to one or more Little Free Libraries to leave a book or two.  Sometimes we take a book, but we always leave at least one.

It’s a simple way of giving back that suits our current values and situation.  Not to mention, it speaks to the librarian in me. :)

I love Ladybug’s excitement about sharing her own books even though there are rarely children’s books for her to take home.

How do you engage your kids in service/volunteering?

For more about secular family life, see my Secular Thursday page or check out the Books for Secular Families Amazon Book Shop.  A portion of purchases made from Amazon.com links on this site benefit Proper Noun Blog.  Thanks for your support!