Ponderings on Raising Freethinkers

The boys are going to Mother’s Day Out this summer. Then, if it goes well, they’ll go in the fall while I take more classes at the college.

I’m a little nervous about it. For one thing, they’ve never been away from home with any regularity, and usually if Luke and/or I haven’t been with them, their Grandparents have been there. For another, I’m afraid Aiden will hit someone and get kicked out. Do they kick kids out of Mother’s Day Out?
Also, I hate driving and I will have to drive to drop them off and pick them up.
But more than that, I am nervous because it is a church Mother’s Day out. What if they try to manipulate kids into belief by teaching them about Hell? Luke says this is unlikely.
But even if teachings about Hell are unlikely, they’ll certainly be getting some religious teachings.

To help me know how to deal with this, I have purchased Raising Freethinkers – edited and partially written by Dale McGowan. It gets excellent reviews and I’m really excited to read it.
I also ordered Bang!: How We Came to Be – the story of the Big Bang and evolution, written for children. Based on the calendar for Mother’s Day Out, I’m pretty sure that they’ll be getting the creation story from Genesis on one day of class. This counter-story, based on science, will give them something else to think about. For all my worries though, we should be fine with MDO. It doesn’t sound like there is much organized teaching time in the daily schedule.

I don’t mind them hearing Bible Stories, in fact, I think that in our culture, it’s important that children grow up Bible-literate. I just don’t want them being manipulated into making any decisions or believing anything.

I’m not so much concerned with raising atheists as I am with raising freethinkers. I want my kids to think for themselves and come to their own well-informed conclusions.

I’m so glad I don’t have to fear for my children’s souls – I can let my children have freedom without worrying they’ll go to Hell if they make the wrong decision. Of course, I still worry that they’ll get hung up in a religion that controls them, and that they’ll be hurt – no parent wants their child hurt. But I am free to let them have that journey, if that’s the path they choose. Still, I don’t want them indoctrinated at a young age, before they have the tools to question the world.

This is going to be a tough thing to navigate, this question of how to live in the Bible Belt and have a life with friends and family without letting our boys be indoctrinated.
I’m glad to have freethinker friends and blogs to read to help me figure it out.

I’m still collecting resources for parenting, and will hopefully post more about it soon, but for now I really like to read Love, Joy, Feminism’s blog posts about parenting, and I’ve poked around Dale McGowan’s blog and his links. This video from FreeOK 2013 of Dale McGowan giving a speech on Raising Actual Freethinkers was helpful and inspiring.

If you have any good books, sites, videos, or articles to recommend, please let me know in the comments!


3 thoughts on “Ponderings on Raising Freethinkers

  1. theagnosticswife

    I’ve struggled with this as well. I like Dale McGowan’s advice. I have listened to a pod cast with him and scanned the site briefly. I don’t want to raise atheist either, just freethinkers. I try to instill in them that questions are ok. Using your brain is ok.

  2. Lana

    Even though I am a Christian, I would be nervous about sending my kids to any evangelical camps, VBS, SS, etc, for those same reasons. But I doubt MDO will be an issue, though, and you an monitor it and pull them out if it does become an issue.

  3. Debbie Janzen

    Hello fellow free thinker. ..finding your writings helpful! Thank you! Living amongst my beautiful faith filled extended family…raising 4 Sons as free thinkers too- who are learning to quietly probe thoughts in family gatherings without creating divisions. Interesting 😊


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