The truth — there is only one. What is it? A lot of people seem to have the answer to that question. I feel like I’m one of them, maybe. The truth about the prejudices of the world and just of people’s minds.
How would you break it to your kid? I’m spiritual/New Agey in belief with a strong support for science and my bf is a scientific mind through and through. Atheist/Physicist.
The “God” idea, we’ve tackled, would be offered purely as an idea from a young age (i.e. “mommy where does the world come from?” “well people have been trying to figure that out for a really long time, but they think [paraphrase big bang].” and eventually break it to them “some people think [paraphrase the definition of a god], and there are different people who think he looks like this and thinks we should act this way, etc” and end with it hasn’t been proven and it is impossible to prove right now, but some people will try to make you agree with them but the little guy should just be like “that’s what you think, and that’s an idea, but we can’t prove that right or wrong with our science”.
What about the hatred of the world? That being an adult =/= being right? And in fact to question everything? How do you tell a small child with questions? Or, even harder, how would you teach a child with NO questions to be prepared for the world?
@heedthem, Great thread. I think it is SO important that we start telling our kids the truth from day one. How do we expect them to thrive in the real world if we shield them from it? It’s not like we have to be blunt and terrify them; but I think it’s important not to tell them flat out lies like many parents do.
In today’s society kids are lied to straight out of the womb. I get that Santa is fun and the Easter Bunny is fun, but they are complete lies, stemming from religion, to shield these tiny human beings from the hard truth. And kids catch on pretty fast. So, starting from birth, people are being lied to by their (often) only close relationship. I really believe this example, and general mindset, has helped catalyze the shitstorm of a world we’re experiencing now. No one trusts anyone.
The most important thing my parents ever taught me was to question everything, even them. It was the best gift I could have ever asked for.
Maybe to counterbalance the seeming futility of identifying “the correct way,” we could consider some stigmas that surround our idea of truth. Truth may not be “right,” and truth may not be the answer or what will help a situation. The environment a kid grows up in is fundamentally and necessarily different than the outside reality because the reality we make is so baseless in the terms a kid gives importance to. I think demonizing the alternatives to giving it to them straight is cutting out so many opportunities for our kids to see bigger (albeit practically inapplicable) solutions to the problems we have made. Keeping the adult social awareness off of their shoulders for the sake of allowing imaginative development of ethics is based in giving them abstractions of the truth. Especially because any idea can be rationalized into a truth when surrounded by the appropriate arguments and still not be “right” even though it’s “true.”
This is definitely a great and socially relevant discussion you brought up!
I was talking about this to with my ex a few months ago. We have 2 kids together and her mother (Now called Nanny) is a Christian. So Nanny takes my kids to church sometimes and my ex wants to stop this as she is finding that my children are getting confused about some things. My daughter is getting into trouble asking too many questions and the “teachers/brainwasher” are getting annoyed at her.
She asked me what to do… As we tell our children that we do not believe in a God.
So I sat down and explained it in this way.
You know when you was little you believed that Father Christmas knew when you was naughty? And that he would bring you presents at night? Well your friends told you that it was not real right? Well God is like Father Christmas but many Adults believe he is real. Some people believe that if they are good they get a BIG present. They follow rules that they think are good and believe fairy tales about how the world was made in 6 days.
Nanny believes this. Me and mummy do not.
My daughter (The oldest) is studying Ancient Egypt. She said “is it like that? People believed all these amazing stories?”. I said yes…. I said maybe one day humans will study Christianity in the same way.
My daughter reads a lot of my Science magazines so I told her that if she ever thinks that a religion or a science story may not be true she should find out for herself. Look into it. Never just believe anything because someone tells you to believe it.
My son collects rocks. He loves looking at them under a microscope. He reads about them close to every day. He caused a big storm once with Nanny when she tried telling him the earth was 5000 years old. He tried showing her things to disprove her… But in the end she decided taking him to church would solve this problem… It just made it worse.
Anyway, sorry for the long story.
@tabletop99, Yeah I mean, I kind of half agree with you there. The full truth may not be appropriate for a certain situation, but a flat-out lie can only harm them. That’s what I believe anyways.
For example, I’m not a religious person, or even a person who believes in God. But if one day when I have a child, they came up to me and asked who God is, I wouldn’t tell them it’s a fictitious man that people created and they’re all full of shit. Because that’s simply not true. Just because I have a certain belief doesn’t mean that I think I have the correct belief, or that I’m smarter (or dumber) than anyone else. I would tell them that it’s a valid theory, and explain some other theories to them. Most importantly, I would ask them what they thought.
@heedthem, Very interesting! I think you have the right sort of idea, or at least similar to how I would raise my children. However, when you say “that’s what you think, and that’s an idea, but we can’t prove that right or wrong with our science”, it kind of doesn’t leave the choice open to them. This renders your children agnostic, no? Which is fine, nothing wrong with that. I’m just wondering if you’ve realized this, or intend to leave the choice solely up to them?
As far as everything goes really, I’d rather not tell my child too much about the world. On the first day of kindergarten, I’m going to kick him/her out and say, “ask why and always wear a helmet.”
On another note, have you ever thought of the effect moving has on a child? Many parents tend to shy away from it, in my experience. Personally, I think it’s very beneficial.
I’d worry less about the truth and more about how to equip the child with dealing with how the world functions. Less theory, more practice. As long as you know how to provide food and shelter without destroying the planet and each other. As long as you know how to get along with people. Isn’t it more important to learn how to love than to hate what you don’t understand. Instead of bringing up kids to say “this is right and this is wrong”, bring them up to be openminded. It’s all about the attitude towards our surroundings. Respecting others for their choices, whilst being free to have our own.
Growing up I was taught that being a Christian is being a good person. Through adolescence I’ve had to deal with tons of prejudices in all directions. I’ve felt so torn between my parents and my friends. At one point my dad said one of my friends were a bad person because she didn’t behave the way he had been taught to behave. Watching a film, my dad would point out certain things as bad. “Don’t watch it, it’s horrible. It’s blasphemous.” he’d say. This of course made me want to take a closer look. Now I see it’s all fear, because he himself had grown up to fear that which he didn’t know. My parents have been less equipped to trust their own judgement. They have suffered due to their involuntary and voluntary ignorance. It takes a lot of work to unlearn – not what your parents tell you, but what they actually do, their behaviour patterns. So much fear for the unknown. So utterly useless.
When I have a kid, if I ever find myself equipped enough to be a parent, I’ll teach him/her to think with his/her own brain, and don’t take the truth for granted, for people live by many “truths”. The most important qualities I can think of in a child is curiosity, kindness and respect. And it should be allowed to bloom. Let children play with other children, climb trees, fall down. I think it’s vital not to be over-protective, but simply let the children have their own experience. Get in touch with nature and animals. Travel. My first time flying was the first time my dad was on a plane. I was around 18. The journey was 45 mins to another part of the country. Anyways. Just saying playing it safe isn’t safe. Shielding them from experience because of one’s own views is crippling them.
@heedthem, I might want to let them discover this kind of stuff on their own. Atheism, at least to me, seems pretty depressing even though it seems like the most likely answer. It’s like finding out there’s no Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, or Santa, times a million because it means too bad, so sad, no eternal life, no eternal consciousness. It’s a drag. I wouldn’t push it on anyone. In fact I wish I’d never even told my parents I was highly skeptical of God’s existence and more atheistic than not, because I think they were really hurt by it. I was just frustrated with the whole idea of pissing your one and only life away in a job, and I said (angrily) that this is all we get and if it sucks it sucks. You only get one shot at happiness, one shot at life.
That being said I would not force God or religion on anyone either. I’d just let people come up with their own beliefs. It seems that we are happiest as children, before the adult institutions of school, religion, and eventually work are forced on us.
I think this is a good idea for a thread and I appreciate the situation parents are in. If I have children one day, foremost I would focus on teaching them to recognise that love and compassion in their hearts, that it is the basis for their identity, it is who they are.
Then I would instruct them on embracing that love they have in their hearts, to interpret all information with it as a filter, to have it ever present as a compass. To be able to recognise what is contrary to love, things that create fear, anger or resentment in them or others is a plain and simple sign for them to be very cautious of the potential for hatred.
To explain how wisdom is not vast knowledge, it is simply knowing to keep that love in heart and mind, to interpret knowledge and reflect that love in ones deeds.
That these lessons do not just exist automatically, that it takes work to keep your love strong, that if you get lazy or complacent then like gravity, it is easy to fall down into the pit of hatred.
That all the people who you may see as being mean to others have simply either forgotten the lessons or they were not lucky enough to be granted the lessons to begin with.
There is no need to feel anger for such people, as they have not been fortunate enough to know and/or keep love strong in their lives.
What truth are you talking about? The truth that the only reason we have kids is to promote our identity as a parent, an owner, an teacher, a nurturer, a master, a slaveholder? At what age should we tell them the truth that we recognize they do not need us? (They know what they need and know how to get it and have known this from the moment of conception.) The question of “should I tell my kids the truth” implies that I still claim to have rights to interfere in the life of MY kids. Truth is needed here, but it is not the kids that need it; it is the parents. Truth: you failed your kids when you decided to have them. Truth: your kids do not need you. Truth: you only interfere in your kids lives to promote your own identity. Truth: you are attempting to suck the life out of your kids.
@trek79, Before deciding to have kids know why you are having them. Start with the word “having” and what that implies. Kids are no different than anything else we attempt to have: we have it to satisfy our needs. What needs are we satisfying, and what makes us think it is right to make another a slave to meet those needs?
@heedthem, It is also important for them to know that it is rare that everything is black and white, life is an exercise in the grey area, but that is why we seek out knowledge and further wisdom to shed light on any situation that may arise.
The love in your heart serves well as a compass to know north from south, but knowledge behaves like a map that compliments the compass; to have the map with no compass, it is easy to get everything up side down, while filling in the map as much as you can can give you direction and for knowing where you are headed and what is over the rise.
We seek this happiness, to enjoy life, do our best where we can and make the most of what we have, but our personal pursuits need to be carefully balanced with the world around us and those in it. An inconsiderate person not only creates adversary for others, but by those behaviors they create obstacles against their own smooth functioning existence.
It is important for them to know that these lessons are NOT altruistic in nature, they are done for their own benefit, internally and externally, a psychological peace of mind and interactive success greatly depend on each other; to have all you desire requires great work to create the environment that permits it, just as appropriate behavior is vital to your own conscience.
@HowardHolmes, When I say if I have kids, I did not mean it as possessing kids, I literally meant the act of procreation. Giving birth is commonly known as having a kid where I am from.
EDIT: Being a parent means you try to impart some of your knowledge onto them, indeed they can choose to accept it or reject it, they have that right, but love asks you try to give them the advantages you possess.
@trek79, Kids are not chosen. Kids come forth from the earth. At least that is the way it has been for all living things except for humans fairly recently. The ability to “choose” to procreate is something new. Since we have this choice, then human kids increasingly only come from choice. Now that we have it, what are we going to do with it? Lie about the reason, or be honest?
I can’t tell you what you should tell your kids, but I can tell you what you probably shouldn’t…
You shouldn’t tell them What to think.
You should tell them How to think.
And let them know that their parents may or may not differ in their own journey’s through philosophy and spirituality.
@HowardHolmes, You are too way out there for me man.
I can start a relationship with a woman or not, I can choose to have sex or I can choose not to, but in a way you are right; if the woman falls pregnant or not is out of my hands, it’ll either happen, or no matter how hard we try it wont.
@trek79, You’re too smart for that BS. You and your mate know how to have a baby and how to not have a baby. We humans have delinked the process from sex. Babies for all other animals happen because animals like having sex. They don’t have sex to have babies. They don’t even want babies. No animal would have a baby given a choice. UNLESS, they are human animals (who do have the choice) AND have identities to support. The identity of PARENT is the most lauded identity on the planet….hence we have kids. But there is no way a human can bring into the world another being for the purpose of his own identity without doing that being harm.
I’ve learnt that my kids do learn from me and others that are in their lives. But they do not blindly follow these things. They question EVERYTHING. I am always amazed at them. They teach me every time I see them. I learn about myself from them.
I can only teach them what I know. I try to never lie to them. But I won’t let them learn from what I see is a evil book like the Bible. I see no positive things that can come from religion. I only see what I’ve read which a child should never learn. Not even a adult should.