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Author Topic:   Teaching Children Both Sides
Dragoness
Member (Idle past 4176 days)
Posts: 51
From: SLT, CA
Joined: 06-21-2007


Message 16 of 62 (414299)
08-03-2007 6:36 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by sidelined
08-03-2007 6:26 PM


quote:
Well You could have some great fun by telling her Dad put the baby in there and then tell her to ask him how.

I do love this idea... but knowing my husband it would likely backfire on me.

Edited by Dragoness, : No reason given.


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anastasia
Member (Idle past 4062 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006


Message 17 of 62 (414333)
08-03-2007 8:30 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Dragoness
08-03-2007 3:08 PM


Dragoness writes:

4. Who is God?
I gave her a short answer about many people believed that God is the creater of all life, she asked if I believed that. I explained that I beleive in evolution and daddy believes in creation/God.

This is my short answer for now, and I guess it is similar to what RAZD said.

I do not think it is necessary to make God and evolution antagonists. Evolution happens in 'real life' and speaking from experience, it is perhaps not better to make a child feel it is something akin to polytheism or the 'belief system' of another people.
The take it or leave it approach caused me to delay any serious education in the matter.

Conversely, finding a spouse and 'having' a parent are different forms of love. I am scared to death of indoctrinating my kids, but I feel that a secure foundation is vital to children.


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 3405
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 8.6


Message 18 of 62 (414336)
08-03-2007 8:49 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Dragoness
08-03-2007 3:08 PM


4. Who is God?
I gave her a short answer about many people believed that God is the creater of all life, she asked if I believed that. I explained that I beleive in evolution and daddy believes in creation/God.

I don't feel good about that response, because it reinforces the false creationist teaching that it's either creation/God or evolution/no-God. As NemGen stated, there are lots of "sides" to this question, not just the creationist false dichotomy that you just perpetuated.

True, this does not pertain directly to her question, but rather to the question that you had raised in the process: Does evolution mean that God doesn't exist? I would have prefered to have let her know that there are a lot of different views regarding that question. Some people (the most vocal ones) believe that creation and evolution are totally incompatible and mutually exclusive, such that only one but not both could be true and that if evolution is true then that means that God does not exist. Others believe that the two are compatible, in that evolution is just part of the suite of natural processes that God had used to Create. And whatever other combinations you can think of.

Deciding whether or not any of the gods exist is not a part of science, nor can science be used to disprove the existence of any god. The absolute most that science could do in this area would be to show that one does not need to invoke the supernatural to explain observable phenomena -- eg, neither Thor nor Zeus nor YHWH throws lightning bolts.

Can anyone here tell me if they have faced this delima? How did you handle it?

In our case, I had been an atheist for a couple decades already and my wife did not consider herself an atheist, yet was strongly anti-Christian, whereas I was more sympathetic to individual Christians, and even had and still have several friends and acquaintances who are Fundamentalists. Our boys only saw the inside of a church for family weddings, until we joined a Unitarian Universalist church when our older boy was about 10.

When our genius older son was about 8 or so (I guess; he just turned 26) we were watching Fantasia on the Disney Channel, in particular the Pastoral Symphony where Zeus was hurling lightning bolts down at the Bacchian revellers. As an aside, I explained to him that before they understand science, people used to think that the gods did all those things, but now we know how those things really work. He thought for a moment and asked, "Same thing with God." "Yeah, pretty much." And that was it.

Then a few weeks later at the extended family Sunday dinner, my mother-in-law used some kind of "thank God" expression and our son declared adamantly, "God doesn't exist!" They all turned to me accusingly with looks of "just what are you teaching your son?" and I said, "I didn't do it! He arrived at that himself!"

Be careful what you say to a kid.


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Doddy
Member (Idle past 4019 days)
Posts: 563
From: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 01-04-2007


Message 19 of 62 (414340)
08-03-2007 9:05 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Dragoness
08-03-2007 3:08 PM


While I was searching around for evolution books for my PNT (Mode of the Debate: Targeting Children).

I came across this book: Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion

There is an excerpt (or similar) on the secular web: http://www.secweb.org/index.aspx?action=viewAsset&id=758

You might be interested to read that excerpt. I found it interesting that their advocated method involved just allowing the child to make up their own mind, and teaching them ALL the alternatives (that is, greek myths, hindu creation stories etc).

Edited by Doddy, : punctuation

Edited by Doddy, : clarify


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This message is a reply to:
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Dragoness
Member (Idle past 4176 days)
Posts: 51
From: SLT, CA
Joined: 06-21-2007


Message 20 of 62 (414345)
08-03-2007 9:22 PM
Reply to: Message 18 by dwise1
08-03-2007 8:49 PM


I think the problem is that you assume since I stated "I believe in evolution" means I mean I don't believe in God. That is not the case, I simply don't believe God created Adam and Eve who in creation are the first humans.

Since when is teaching our children what we choose to teach them wrong anyway?

I never asked "Do you think I am teaching my children what I should?"
I DID ask how others have handled it.


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NosyNed
Member
Posts: 8842
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003
Member Rating: 7.5


Message 21 of 62 (414348)
08-03-2007 9:31 PM
Reply to: Message 20 by Dragoness
08-03-2007 9:22 PM


Teaching them to think
I'd say that rather than tell them what people conclude it may be possible help them think it through themselves (even though they are young).

Discussing the history of the ideas might be a helpful way to go. Give them facts and gently help them to come to their own conclusions. They are too young to take in a lot of details but the big picture might help.

(btw; we gave our kids books on human sexuality at about 5 years old and read them with them -- they had cartoon but anatomically correct pictures and, suitable for their level, details) They grew up adding to what they wanted to know as they went along. Since it had always been a topic of discussion (though it came up rarely) it wasn't a big deal. (Even when my, then 12 year old asked what oral sex was :) ).

My son has always been much, much more shy than his sister so there has been less frank discussion there.)


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anastasia
Member (Idle past 4062 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006


Message 22 of 62 (414424)
08-04-2007 2:48 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by NosyNed
08-03-2007 9:31 PM


Re: Teaching them to think
Nosy, I never thought I would see the day, but I do think I agree with teaching sexuality AS IT IS, when the child is curious.

Saves from the oddity of my situation, being the eldest of 5, and having the ability to actually comprehend the books my sister gleaned from the library. As any young girl might be, she was obsessed with parenting/play, and concocted this notion from her own 'studies' that sperm could mingle with urine in the toilet, or that my younger brother could also use the toilet to make a baby. Good Lord, I could not watch my kids do that.


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anglagard
Member
Posts: 2185
From: Socorro, New Mexico USA
Joined: 03-18-2006


Message 23 of 62 (414464)
08-04-2007 10:42 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Dragoness
08-03-2007 3:08 PM


My Opinion
While the desktop and the connection work, which is getting more iffy with time.

We just answered all questions as factually as we could as my daughter asked.

My daughter saw the movie Heavy Metal at 3 so she had some idea that males and females do something called sex. Around kindergarten, I sat down with her with a copy of Campbell's Biology and told her the whole deal. As it turned out she found the text so fascinating, we went through the entire book from the chemistry of DNA to ecosystems.

As for religion, my wife is a severely lapsed Catholic and I am a Spinoza Pantheist so no church. When her friend got my daughter to attend a nearby Baptist church, she did so with my blessing. After three years she stopped, largely due to being turned off by the fire and brimstone psychological manipulation and anti-science crap that even as a prepubescent, my daughter could easily see through. Although this church drove her away from a belief in God, I still remind her that the self-righteously misguided are not a decent example of what is best in religion.

I want my daughter to gain enough knowledge so that she has the chance to achieve wisdom. For me that means no holding back on any answers, along with the qualifiers necessary for critical thinking, ever.

Edited by anglagard, : clarity


Read not to contradict and confute, not to believe and take for granted, not to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider - Francis Bacon

The more we understand particular things, the more we understand God - Spinoza


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Ben!
Member (Idle past 1731 days)
Posts: 1154
From: San Diego, CA
Joined: 10-14-2004


Message 24 of 62 (414471)
08-04-2007 11:20 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Dragoness
08-03-2007 3:08 PM


Can anyone here tell me if they have faced this delima? How did you handle it?

* WARNING WARNING I DO NOT HAVE KIDS! * What I write below is what I've thought based on my experiences, my siblings experiences, people I know, and other educational materials like books and documentaries. It in no way reflects an actual experience with raising kids.

So my husband and I have decided to start teaching both sides and let her choose her own path.

Can anyone offer tips on how to teach both sides impartially?

I think you're missing the point. There is no "teaching" "both sides" "impartially"! Your very notion of teaching and impartiality are dripping with your own world view. And there is no "teaching" religion--it's belief-based; kids don't choose their own path for that kind of stuff.

You two need to make the decision yourselves. There's a reason that kids aren't allowed to make decisions for themselves--they're not able to choose at this high level for themselves. It's the parents duty to figure this out. By the time the kid is old enough to "choose", the choice has already been made. Either the kid has a want and desire for God, or the kid does not.

Yes, it's possible for people to revisit this later in life, and to choose another path later on, but that is later--after the choice made by the parents has been lived.

In my eyes, pushing this responsibility onto a kid to "decide" is a cop-out and reeks of a scientific world view.

... and with all that said, I really enjoyed all your answers to your daughter and it's a real pleasure to see such caring and thoughtful parents. When I'm ready to have kids, I hope I can meet people such as yourself to help guide me in my decision-making.

Edited by Ben, : No reason given.


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Dragoness
Member (Idle past 4176 days)
Posts: 51
From: SLT, CA
Joined: 06-21-2007


Message 25 of 62 (414815)
08-06-2007 2:22 PM


Great answers! I would like to go into this further, but alas time will not allow today :)

I do like that I got two totally opposite answers saying the same thing... in a way. Both "sides" so-to-speak.


    
Taz
Member (Idle past 1401 days)
Posts: 5069
From: Zerus
Joined: 07-18-2006


Message 26 of 62 (414832)
08-06-2007 3:19 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Dragoness
08-03-2007 3:08 PM


I think the best answer you can give to your child is the often hated "I don't know". Let's admit to ourselves that we are not experts in many of the areas that they ask. Children believe everything you say, and it's not going to do them any good if you give them an answer that is wrong because you don't know any better or (goodness forbids) you made up the answer just to keep up the delusion that you are all-knowing.

For now, I tell my nephews and neices (when they ask questions I know I don't have the authority to speak on) that they'll get their answer when they are older.

I know people get riled up when it comes to educating/indoctrinating their children. The American tradition is the parent can teach his children anything he wants. I say it's time we abandon this tradition and face the ugly truth: that we should keep our mouths shut when it comes to stuff we don't know enough about.


Disclaimer:

Occasionally, owing to the deficiency of the English language, I have used he/him/his meaning he or she/him or her/his or her in order to avoid awkwardness of style.

He, him, and his are not intended as exclusively masculine pronouns. They may refer to either sex or to both sexes!


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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sketches
Junior Member (Idle past 4188 days)
Posts: 1
From: Ireland
Joined: 08-06-2007


Message 27 of 62 (414836)
08-06-2007 3:36 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Dragoness
08-03-2007 3:08 PM


congrat!
Congratulations on having a seriously intelligent kid.(5? i could barely talk by then!)To be honest the best thing yuo could teach her is that she should questione everything she hears. Including what you say. because i would beta sizable sum that shes going to be confused why her parents differ on opinion. And she will inevitably think she has to take sides now.
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Doddy
Member (Idle past 4019 days)
Posts: 563
From: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 01-04-2007


Message 28 of 62 (416513)
08-16-2007 8:18 AM
Reply to: Message 26 by Taz
08-06-2007 3:19 PM


Tazmanian Devil writes:

I think the best answer you can give to your child is the often hated "I don't know". Let's admit to ourselves that we are not experts in many of the areas that they ask.

Yes, and it's good to show children the steps in finding out. Get them to look it up online, or ultimately (for some questions, like "Does fire need to breathe air?"), for you to help them work out a way to test it.


Help to inform the public - contribute to the EvoWiki today!

We seek contributors with a knowledge of Intelligent design to expand and review our page on this topic.

Registration not needed for editing most pages (the ID page is an exception), but you can register here!


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Taz
Member (Idle past 1401 days)
Posts: 5069
From: Zerus
Joined: 07-18-2006


Message 29 of 62 (416543)
08-16-2007 3:22 PM
Reply to: Message 28 by Doddy
08-16-2007 8:18 AM


Doddy writes:

Yes, and it's good to show children the steps in finding out. Get them to look it up online, or ultimately (for some questions, like "Does fire need to breathe air?"), for you to help them work out a way to test it.


I agree.

My attitude to this issue came from the fact that I was spoon fed bullshit by my parents all through childhood. If it wasn't "goddunit", it was something that I later found out to be totally made-up.

Sometimes, I wonder how much of my intellectual and moral development were retarded by the way I was brought up.


Disclaimer:

Occasionally, owing to the deficiency of the English language, I have used he/him/his meaning he or she/him or her/his or her in order to avoid awkwardness of style.

He, him, and his are not intended as exclusively masculine pronouns. They may refer to either sex or to both sexes!


This message is a reply to:
 Message 28 by Doddy, posted 08-16-2007 8:18 AM Doddy has not yet responded

  
Dragoness
Member (Idle past 4176 days)
Posts: 51
From: SLT, CA
Joined: 06-21-2007


Message 30 of 62 (416548)
08-16-2007 3:49 PM


Update
Just a little update on the situation.

IN the past weeks my daughter has mentioned more than once that she firmly believes in evolution (today in a discussion about spiders.)And specifically that she does not believe in God. Now I DID tell her that i would prefer she learn more about everything involved before deciding that. I want her to understand more. And she said, and I quote "Mommy, I don't believe in God or magic, maybe if I see something to make me believe, but right now I just don't"
I even tried to show her some great "magic" tricks to see what she would say... "Its a trick mom, I'm not stupid"
To be honest I did not think she would have such a strong opinion, but she has her reasons that SHE decided on.

However, I will continue to teach both sides. I can't help but think my opinions have somehow biased her because I spend so much time with her, where my husband works a lot and has not taught her anything of God as of yet. In fact I have taught her what I can of God, read children's Bible stories etc. Still, to her they are stories like any other she might read.

I am sure there are people here who might say I tried to influence her, but I have not. In fact up until now I have told her I belive in God, just not the Bible. To be honest I have questioned even that lately and no longer I feel I believe in God. This is my CHOICE. Not a loss of faith or anything else. Just a decision made through a lot of studies and through, and for lack of a better tem "soul-searching." But I have NEVER let my child know this, my child is never privy to my religous or lack of thereof conversations with anyone. Yet she has come to this conclusion that she may or may not keep through life. I was the opposite and began life with nothing, developed a relationship with God and religon. All the while questioning and doubting, but I did it because I enjoyed church and youth group, camping with my grandparents and all that came with it. As the years passed and I moved away from my grandparents I was free to explore my own opinions without hurting grandma and grandpa which is something I never would want to do.

OK I am rambling. Bottom line, my daughter is choosing science and evolution and has shown a true interst and learning about it. I plan to order a planetary science homeschool set as soon as her reading skills improve enough to allow us to work together. She will be 6 next month, first grade. I hope by the end of the school year we can start reading the homeschool work (in addition to public school.) In the meantime my husband is welcome to begin his religous studies with her any time that he chooses.


Replies to this message:
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