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Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide for Parenting Beyond Belief Paperback – February 11, 2009
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“This unique resource will help parents looking for useful ideas and information on being a nonreligious family. Recommended for public libraries.” Library Journal
Praised by Newsweek as “a compelling read” and Library Journal as “accessible and down-to-earth,” Dale McGowan’s Parenting Beyond Belief offered freethinking parents everywhere a compassionate introduction to raising caring, ethical children without religious guidance. Now, for the more than 40 million people in the United States who identify themselves as nonreligious, Raising Freethinkers offers solutions to the unique challenges secular parents face and provides specific answers to common questions, as well as over 100 activities for both parents and their children. This book covers every important topic nonreligious parents need to know to help their children with their own moral and intellectual development, including advice on religious-extended-family issues, death and life, secular celebrations, wondering and questioning, and more.
Complete with reviews of books, DVDs, curricula, educational toys, and online resources relevant to each chapter topic, Raising Freethinkers helps parents raise their children with confidence.
More About the Author
In ATHEISM FOR DUMMIES and VOICES OF UNBELIEF, he explores the history and texture of religious disbelief, while IN FAITH AND IN DOUBT offers the first comprehensive look into relationships between religious believers and nonbelievers.
Dale lives with his wife and children near Atlanta, GA.
Top Customer Reviews
As a nonreligious parent among a largely religious extended family, I both appreciated the sense of community I felt (I'm not the only one!), but also the sense of respectfulness for religious folks evident in the book's tone. All the chapters come from a place of deep regard for children's capacity to learn and think for themselves, and highlight how exciting an adventure it can be to raise kids free from indoctrination. I love the ideas for encouraging scientific reasoning and critical thinking, as well as ethical living.
Since reading this book, we've modeled the scale of our solar system, read creation stories from around the world, found a way to support our daughter in her quandary with the Girl Scout pledge, discovered new ways to answer questions about death, found ways to handle interactions with religious family members, and uncovered a vast new list of kids' books we plan to read as a family. And this is just what I can remember off the top of my head. There are extensive resource lists and activity ideas at the end of each section.
Raising Freethinkers is simply fantastic, and unlike anything else I've found out there. I most strongly recommend it.
This and Parenting Beyond Belief will now be in every baby shower gift I buy for my nonreligious friends.
This book offers lots of parent questions, exercises, practical advice, and resources for fostering religious literacy, developing an ethical foundation not tied to religion, dealing with relatives and friends with traditional religious beliefs, and developing family rituals and frameworks for helping kids deal with the life passages and death outside of a conventional religious framework. It is not a dogmatic atheist book, and is more oriented around developing tolerance and curiousity regarding religion and spiritual issues, so I was very comfortable with most of it.
In addition to the topics already mentioned, I liked the first 'Inquiring Mind' chapter, which I think any parent should read, in order to more deeply consider the ramifications of feeding your kids your own answers to life questions, and how to best foster a sense of curiosity and 'freethinking' in them. I did have issues with some of the themes and exercises that seemed to equate freethinking automatically with rationality or current scientific thinking, as for me these too have their limitations, but I think the message on those can be tweaked.
So, if you are grappling with unconventional spiritual beliefs, and how to parent your child within those, and/or how to best prepare them for dealing with a religious society, this book is worth a look.
And it's much more than just a listing. The resources are buttressed by practical, thoughtful writing on navigating kids through a religious world with grace, humanity, kindness and respect. What's not to like?
I recommend it as highly as possible. Get it for yourself, get it for your local atheist grandma, get it for that lonesome nonreligious parent in a religious family, get it for your local humanist society! Just get it, you'll love it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
More a collection of stories and examples than an instruction guide. The stories and examples are interesting and relevant. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Chris C.
Really interesting, helpful book with lots of activities to share with children and good suggestions on how to talk about some difficult subjects. Read morePublished 1 month ago by carrieb.
This book is full of great resources for all those areas where religious vs non-religious perspectives differ. Read morePublished 2 months ago by John A. Gedeon
I will start with a confession. I really like Dale McGowan books. I like the resources and research that goes into them. I like the organization of the topics. Read morePublished 4 months ago by J. D.
There's such a wealth of knowledge in this book. Gives a lot of citations and sources and recommendations on activities. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Great. It took a respectful approach to dealing with an issue that is often perceived as us vs them. I thought it was excellent.Published 6 months ago by A. Binder
This book is excellent. In a world saturated with religion, it offers tips and suggestions for approaching parenting from a non-religious perspective. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Josh