Dale McGowan's Blog (36)

The white-bearded red herring...or YES, I'm talking to YOU, Lisa Miller

by Dale McGowan

Author/editor of Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion



pythongod340909 The world is full of ignorant nonsense, and that's okay. Well, it's not okay, but it seems to be part of the unavoidable deal, what with unequal access to education and a thousand other things. What I've had quite enough of is ignorant nonsense from people who really have no… Continue

Added by Dale McGowan on October 14, 2008 at 11:30am — 3 Comments

Name the Brazilians!

Most of the time, our family life is typical. But every so often, without warning, a Monty Python sketch breaks loose.



Connor (13) asked the other day why there are bad names for black people but not for others. At first I didn't understand what he meant. Then I realized he meant exactly what he had asked.



It's not the first time I've been made aware that he is growing up in a very different day-to-day environment than I did. I once asked him if middle school kids still… Continue

Added by Dale McGowan on October 13, 2008 at 11:42am — 2 Comments

The Devil Goes Down to Georgia

devil320991 I read to Delaney's first grade class yesterday. She had prepped me for my visit like a military operation, reminding me at least five times of the exact time and S.O.P.



"There's a chair you sit in, and I'll sit right by you," she said. "You have to bring three stories, but don't be sad if we don't get to all three."



I promised to hold it together.



She nodded, then ran upstairs to rummage through her books. Five minutes later she was downstairs,… Continue

Added by Dale McGowan on October 2, 2008 at 8:35am — 1 Comment

Drugs are bad...m'kay?

mkay329881 I had an unusual interview two weeks ago.



I sleep through most media interviews now, since the questions tend to be the same, and in about the same order: Tell me a little about your book, Why do nonreligious parents need their own separate resource, How do you deal with moral development, How can you help kids deal with death without an afterlife, Isn't it important to believe in something greater than ourselves, Before I know it, I'm being thanked for a… Continue

Added by Dale McGowan on September 25, 2008 at 12:17pm — 1 Comment

An Inconvenient Commandment

lie43092 One of the common worries I hear from religious commentators about nonreligious people is the absence of a solid, reliable, unchanging moral compass. Lacking that...why, folks could make up the rules as they go along.



I've written about this nonsense before ("The red herring of relativism," July 8, 2007), so I won't go too deep into the silly idea that moral relativism follows from the absence of religious… Continue

Added by Dale McGowan on September 14, 2008 at 3:00pm — 3 Comments

Best Practices 1: Feeling your pain

[First in a nine-part series on best practices for nonreligious parenting.]



"I feel your pain." --BILL CLINTON at a campaign rally in 1992

"We need to...pass along the value of empathy to our children. Not sympathy, but empathy – the ability to stand in somebody else’s shoes; to look at the world through their eyes."

--BARACK OBAMA in a speech on Father's Day 2008
In the Preface of… Continue

Added by Dale McGowan on September 12, 2008 at 9:45am — No Comments

Harvard honors the Sarah Palin of humanism

harvardhumanist2301

It's always interesting when someone unexpectedly breaks from the backfield and grabs a high-profile plum from more worthy contenders. Dan Quayle, Harriet Miers, and Clarence Thomas leap to mind. Shakespeare in Love beating Saving Private Ryan for Best Picture, or Art Carney (!) beating Dustin Hoffmann, Jack Nicholson, and Al Pacino for Best Actor.



Sarah Palin recently joined the ranks of those unexpectedly thrust to the front of the line,… Continue

Added by Dale McGowan on September 9, 2008 at 5:30am — 1 Comment

Dissent done right 2

[Back to Part 1]



I knew my kids would feel violated, angry, and afraid. Their own attitudes toward dissent are being tested and formed. So we did what we do. We talked it through.



I told them our sign had been taken from the yard. (At this point we hadn't found it again.) Erin's reaction was utter disbelief.



"Really?" she said. "Really?"



"Yes."



"Really? Cause… Continue

Added by Dale McGowan on September 5, 2008 at 7:59am — No Comments

Dissent done right 1

sign60509 More than just about any other single value, I want my kids to get the importance of dissent. I want them to be willing to voice a reasoned minority opinion and to encourage the same in others.



When we moved to the red-state South, I knew (blue to the core as we are) that at some point we'd end up taking our lumps from one majority or another. No big brous-haha so far, just some minor fish-out-of-water moments: Laney having the occasional… Continue

Added by Dale McGowan on August 31, 2008 at 11:00am — 2 Comments

First Annual Parenting Beyond Belief Column Competition

In the wee hours of my sleepless nights, I edit the Humanist Parenting site for the Institute for Humanist Studies. One of my IHS duties is to solicit and/or write a monthly parenting column for Humanist Network News, which also then appears on The Meming of Life.



In addition to my own… Continue

Added by Dale McGowan on August 28, 2008 at 2:00pm — No Comments

The iWord revisited

One last ripple to address from last week's posts...



In emails and comments, a few readers brought up another issue that cuts close to the bone for secular parents. In the conversation with my daughters, I described our condition after death as identical to our condition before birth. Some readers threw the flag at this point -- Indoctrination, 10 yards against the parent, second down and 20! -- because I did not say… Continue

Added by Dale McGowan on August 27, 2008 at 9:00am — No Comments

Finks ahoy!

by Dale McGowan, author/editor, Parenting Beyond Belief

--------------------------------

There's plenty of nonsensical meme creation on the Internet (just so you know). One of my least favorites is what I'll call the Fictional Narrative Cartoon (FNC, or 'Fink'). Follow these steps to write a Fink of your own:





1. Select a life stance you have never held nor attempted to… Continue

Added by Dale McGowan on August 25, 2008 at 9:30am — 1 Comment

Ahh...you never forget your first meme

(Two serious posts already this week! Who's up for some Friday blog candy?)

--------------------------

The first time my kids saw our family photo on the back of Parenting Beyond Belief in a bookstore, they were elated. “We’re famous!” Erin squealed.



"Yes," Laney replied, “but the quiet kind of famous.”



She had once said she wanted to be “one of those famous people on the magazine covers.” Becca replied that… Continue

Added by Dale McGowan on August 22, 2008 at 6:00am — 1 Comment

Where all roads lead (2)

by Dale McGowan, author/editor, Parenting Beyond Belief



[Back to Part 1]

laneybeach

We’d had the conversation before, but this time a new dawning crossed Laney’s face.



“Sweetie, what is it?” I asked.



She began the deep, aching cry that accompanies her saddest realizations, and… Continue

Added by Dale McGowan on August 20, 2008 at 10:30am — 4 Comments

Where all roads lead (1)

I have 22 posts jostling for attention at the moment, but a Saturday night conversation with my girls has sent all other topics back to the green room for a smoke.

girls4099

The three of us were laying on my bed, looking at the ceiling and talking about the day. "Dad, I have to tell you a thing. Promise you won’t get mad," said Delaney (6), giving me the blinky doe eyes. "Promise?"



"Oh jeez, Laney, so dramatic," said… Continue

Added by Dale McGowan on August 18, 2008 at 2:00pm — 21 Comments

the mix

You've got to be taught, before it's too late

Before you are six or seven or eight

To hate all the people your relatives hate

You've got to be carefully taught


____________________

From the musical South Pacific


Our three summer family reunions were terrific, especially for the kids, who have discovered or re-discovered no fewer than 50 cousins of various degrees of remove. Better yet, these cousins are good kids,… Continue

Added by Dale McGowan on August 14, 2008 at 8:02am — 3 Comments

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