Saturday, January 7, 2017

It's time to fly

Today I'm flying my daughters back to their Mother's. it was Christmas break for them, and this time of year is always a challenge since they're kids and believe in many magical things.  I love that they do, I feel it's part of being a kid. You can literally see the magic in their eyes when they wake up to find their Elf on the Shelf has moved overnight.  It really is fun to watch, but on the other hand, it's difficult to have any conversation about rational belief with them.

Not that I really want to, but when they come over from their Mom's, they always want to tell me how there is a God and that Christmas is Jesus's birthday and all. I remember one year they told me I would go to hell if I didn't believe in God.  I'm the adult, and I know I should just brush this off as harmless child banter, but my fear is this is how it begins.  I want to nip that in the butt at an early age. I never really even told them I did not believe in a god, that was their mom who felt it necessary to disclose that information.Their mom is a Christian, and later you'll read that she used to be a Mormon alongside me, but she no longer holds to that belief (thank goodness).

So, while I don't wish to hammer atheism to my children, I do want to talk openly about critical thinking. I want them to understand reality and the danger of believing in things without good evidence. Now is not the time to do that though, as they still believe in Santa and such. So I have a few years still I think, but in the meantime I teach them science, and we look into my telescope and talk about space. I try to teach them of the many other beliefs out there that are celebrated around the winter solstice. I teach them about evolution and where we as human originate. One of my favorite things to do is lay out on the trampoline at night with them and look at all the stars, and imagine some form of life on one of those distant planets that orbit the star we see, is looking back at our own star and pondering the same.

I don't fear the time when they no longer believe in fairies, santa, elves, and other magical beings, because at the end of the day there's plenty of magic in the natural world to still behold. It's just a matter of learning the difference between magic the verb, and magic the sensation.

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