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  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dale McGowan View Post
    One of the researchers said “[The life satisfaction boost] is almost entirely about the social aspect of religion, rather than theology. People are more satisfied with their lives when they go to church IF they build a social network within their congregation and gather on a regular basis for activities that are meaningful to the group. The sense of belonging seems to be the key to the relationship between church attendance and life satisfaction.”

    There’s that word: Belonging.
    This is what keeps me thinking. The Lim and Putnam study (I assume this is who you are quoting above), as well as the work of Buttoner of the Blue Zones books, and the famous Roseto effect all talk about community and the impact on health and longevity.

    To be honest I never thought much about it before I had a child. I spent too much time moving around for school and work. Now I am settling down and am finding the disconnect with much of the community that I now live. While we are finding some other people, I am wondering if I am doing my son a disservice by not creating connecting with the larger community.
    Last edited by Mariam; 03-09-2016 at 09:11 AM.
    A mama who teaches college writing, as well as help her 11-year-old in
    choosing his own life adventure. Using Global Village School to support our desire to develop a sense of social justice and global awareness.

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  3. #22

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    Dale, thank you SO much for PBB. That book was recommended on this site by a member. I immediately read it and was so grateful you took the time to write it. I took time to build a small circle of solid, homeschool friends. Slowly, one by one they have been either moving or the latest (I mentioned in different post) is putting her kid in school. It has been devastating. So, I have made an effort to do things like bring them early to swim club where they have formed friendships that are outside of hs...I tried the same with tennis but, I couldn't stand most of the parents last year. We'll see how that shakes out this year. I do try to involve them within the community via volunteering for various things. I am getting the sense lately that they definitely feel connected to the community even though they've never been to church.

    Growing up I was raised super religously (church 3x a week for hours at time). At 8, I was kicked out of Sunday school for asking too many questions. I had to sit with the adults from then on. That was the year, I decided that I would quit church as soon as I could. In my mind even at 8, I knew the answers to the questions that got me in deep sh--. So, I was "done". I went through the motions for years (I had to stay awake through tent revivals that lasted through 3am with people speaking in tongues and others "translating" for them--crazy crap) because my Mom scared me. But, I would just listen off and on and mainly watch everything as one big show full of lies. I'd sing if I thought something was pretty. My husband was, creepily enough, raised just like me in a town not far from me. And, he took the exact same path starting at about 9. Here we are now, parenting beyond belief. We do tell the kids to be gracious to those that believe. One of their friends confided in dd that he does not believe what his Mom is teaching him about the God, etc. But, he doesn't want to hurt her feelings, so, he goes through the motions to make her happy. It will be interesting to see if this is indeed the truly enlightened generation.
    Dale, thank you for all your suggestions on belonging--it is something some kids need more than others and I need to be cognizant of that since my kids are more social than me. Carol, thank you for throwing in the fact that we already live independent lives--a very good thing for staying true to yourself. I think being able to be in your own skin, to be able to be alone, is almost a necessity for survival since one will not always feel a sense of belonging through different stages in life (moving, college, changing careers, etc.)

  4. #23

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    Luv2HS, thank you for that! I'm in the unfun, detailed part of the final weeks of work on the 10th anniversary edition of PBB. This puts the wind in my sails :-)

  5. #24
    Senior Member Arrived TFZ's Avatar
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    Such an interesting conversation. I also loved Parenting Beyond Belief. Muddylilly was the one who got me into it, I think. My atheist guru, ahahahaha.

    With kids so young (4, 2, 0) I forget how a sense of belonging is so important to older kids. I remember feeling very lost for the first time after college, having moved with my then boyfriend, later husband. It's so easy to make friends (I felt) in school because you're surrounded by peers all the time. It took me a while to find people after I'd left the institutions. But I had work and I'm interested in hobbies, a joiner, and just generally extroverted - which I've found is kinda rare in these parts.

    I hope my kids can make some connections through groups and activities. It seems it's all dependent on us until they can drive. I'm not anti-religious-people, but we talked here before about how religious people can be anti-atheist. Especially the evangelical type. "Where do you go to church?" That's usually the deal breaker.
    I'm a work-at-home mom to three, homeschool enthusiast, and avid planner fueled by lattes and Florida sunshine. My oldest is 6 and is a fircond grader (that's somewhere between first and second, naturally), my preschooler just told me she wants to learn how to read, and my toddler is a force of nature.

    I gather all kinds of secular homeschool resources and share them at TheHomeschoolResourceRoom.com.

  6. #25
    firefly77
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    Well, thank you for this very interesting discussion! I have not read PBB and I'm not sure what exactly parenting beyond belief entails, but I'm pretty sure we're doing that to some degree by default. I'd love to read your book!

    I was raised without religion, as were my parents, so I don't really feel any lack of belonging in terms of a church culture. On the other hand, I was raised to be a freethinking person and I have always felt different and worked to find a place where I could fit in without pretending to be someone I'm not. As I'm growing older I feel connected to the world through my family, a close circle of friendships, and work/volunteer activities in my community. I don't think it's tied to my lack of religiosity, but I can honestly say that I've felt a tension between going my own way and being aware of not really fitting in. Our decision to homeschool doesn't do anything really to resolve the tension.

    Perhaps the secret for many of us is not finding a herd, but to find our sense of belonging with just a very few people. I have a best friend who homeschools her kids and lives ten minutes away. We see eye to eye on most things and it's a powerful bond for which I'm exceedingly grateful. We have a few other close friendships with like-minded families and for now that's more than enough. Things will inevitably change, I'm sure; they always do.


    I really like Carol's reminder that when we are homeschooling and parenting without religion and attempting to raise freethinking kids, our kids might not always 'fit in.' I'm no expert on cool or fitting in, but I can honestly say that none of my favorite people enjoyed high school. College is a different story, or at least it can be easier to find a niche.

  7. #26

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    This really is an interesting and varied group. I'm enjoying the chat.

    Firefly77's comment about being raised without religion reminded me of something I wanted to mention: I'm gathering quotes from kids and adults who have been/are being raised without religion for the new edition of PBB, and I'd like to invite your children (and you, if it applies) to submit 10-200 words about what it's been like to be raised in a nonreligious family.

    Each contributor can answer any of the following: What was good about the experience? What do you wish had been done differently? What was especially hard? What would you recommend other parents do (or not do)?

    Each should include a first name and age. I will select a small number for the book and will edit down as needed without changing the substance. If you or your kids are interested, please send to me at [email protected] by March 25, and feel free to spread the word. I'll let you know if yours is selected.
    Last edited by Dale McGowan; 03-11-2016 at 07:27 AM.

  8. #27
    Senior Member Arrived skrink's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dale McGowan View Post
    There are all sorts of fundamentalist bubbles, geographic and otherwise, and from inside the bubbles, it can look hopeless. But the upcoming generation has two well-confirmed trends going: They are the least religious generation by every measure (by far), and a much greater % of those who remain religious are progressive. The future is very promising.
    We're in one of those bubbles. It's very discouraging sometimes, and very limiting. Before moving to this area I actually never thought much about other people's religious beliefs, and my own personal sense of belonging came from my marriage, a few neighbors, and my work relationships. I am also a hard core introvert, and it was more than enough for me.

    Now, living and homeschooling an extroverted, proud atheist, Aspie teen in a heavily fundamentalist area, I scramble to find ways to meet that need for belonging. We joined an atheist slanted UU fellowship and it has helped somewhat. The people are lovely and accepting, but older. Although dd has lots of adopted grandparents, she has few peer friendships and certainly no group. This bothers her a lot. We have yet to figure out a workable solution.
    Skrink - mama to my 14 yo wild woman

  9. #28

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    Dale I wanted to ask you about religious literacy. (And anyone else, please feel free to jump in too )

    Being homeschoolers on a secular site, we have had the discussion more than once of whether or not it is important to include a "Childrens Bible" among our reference books, when our kids are young. Not for moral instruction, but similar to having history or science encyclopedias on the shelf. Some of the arguments in support of doing so have been to support religious literacy. Taking it further, that the bible specifically has so many influences on our cultural life in America, that it might be important to have them read it.

    Arguments against doing so have been of the variety that the "Disneyfied" version of such books just aren't an honest representation of it's true content. Better to wait until they are older and offer the real deal if they are interested.

    A lot of where the discussion swirls around, is similar in tone to the section in your book, PBB, that is written by Rev. Dr. Roberta Nelson. The concept, that she states "Regardless of whether we call ourselves religious, we are our children's first and primary religious educators." This is especially true for homeschooling families. Just look at the movement of heavily religious families that teach at home purely to control content. But absolutely, our forum members here are quite open-minded and we are not sheltering our children from people with beliefs different from our own.

    Then there is the question of, what about other religious texts? Why not have them lying around too?

    Personally, for my boys, when they ask questions I answer to the best of my ability, or we find the answer together. I just make it clear that asking questions is VERY encouraged. It's the desire to understand others beliefs that I want to nurture in them. Cultural references pop up now and then that are met with a blank stare from them, but I chalk it up to learning gaps that might happen in other subjects like history or geography as well. I was public schooled, but raised without religion and to be sure I could have made some "Trumpesque" mistakes, like his "Two Corinthians" gaffe at Liberty University! LOL!!

    Since you have older children than most of us here, and even though yours were not homeschooled, as a parent did you specifically include any sort of religious instruction for your kids, for religious literacy sake? If you didn't, and now with hindsight, do you wish you had?
    Last edited by muddylilly; 03-11-2016 at 01:47 PM.
    Homeschooling two sons (14 and 16) from day one. Atheist.
    Eclectic, Slackschooler covering 8th and 10th grades this year.

  10. #29
    firefly77
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    We don't have any religious books in our reference collection. If there was interest I might consider it if it included a reasonable treatment of diverse philosophies, including humanism. I am sure religion will come up more and more next year as we begin to learn about world history. But I don't think I would include a kids' bible in our collection unless it were presented alongside other belief systems. My MIL gave my kids "Jesus books" at Christmastime last year and they went straight to the basement. The text was very preachy and dogmatic.

    I answer questions as they come up. There have been lots of questions, to be sure. I use phrases such as "Some people believe" or "[Insert religion here] believe that." When my kids ask me what I think I answer honestly, although at this point I feel like they are mostly collecting information.

    It is my responsibility to teach my children how to be responsible, caring, questioning, responsible people. I am willing to address religion as it comes up in our conversations, experiences, or studies. I am not opposed to my kids experiencing religious stories, I guess, as long as they are presented as the fiction that they are. We read legends and folktales from all over the world, after all.

  11. #30
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    "...not opposed to my kids experiencing religious stories, I guess, as long as they are presented as the fiction that they are. We read legends and folktales from all over the world, after all."

    Yes this is how I feel about it, too. We don't have any religious books, but if we do I imagine they will share the shelf with the myths from around the world. I seriously doubt I'll ever own a bible.

    Yesterday I said, "Oh my Lord!" And DS4 goes, "Who's Malord?" Back to the secular swear words thread.
    I'm a work-at-home mom to three, homeschool enthusiast, and avid planner fueled by lattes and Florida sunshine. My oldest is 6 and is a fircond grader (that's somewhere between first and second, naturally), my preschooler just told me she wants to learn how to read, and my toddler is a force of nature.

    I gather all kinds of secular homeschool resources and share them at TheHomeschoolResourceRoom.com.

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