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The Letter To The Family


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After reading a few posts on xians with kids, I've decided to post the letter that my fiancee and I wrote to our closest family members (about 15 people) about how we are going to raise our son. My hope is that this might help other people who are trying to figure out how to deal with their xian family members and their children. Of course, our son isn't born yet, but I can talk later on about the responses we received and about how it goes in the future.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Dear Family,

 

We are writing this letter to start a dialogue concerning the way that we are living our lives and raising our son. Our hope is that we can all find some common ground in order to avoid any conflict or hurt feelings. We feel that it is of the utmost importance that our child has a consistent environment in which to learn and grow so that he will develop a firm sense of identity and security within his family. Our views on the world may be different than yours, as is to be expected, and the way we will be raising our son will reflect that. We feel, however, that these differences are inconsequential, and that at the root of all of our beliefs lies a firm sense of morality, the importance of family, and the strength of love.

The differences in our beliefs and way of life may seem shocking at first, but please read this with an open mind and heart, and understand above all else that we are striving daily to be responsible citizens of the human race, living with compassion, humility, and loyalty. Though we are yet very young, we each have seen the other grow in astonishing ways over the past four years. In fact, that growth has become the most important part of our relationship. In exploring ourselves and our world as active free-thinkers, we have come to some conclusions that we feel very strongly about. Through careful observation, study of the Bible and associated literature, and deep introspection we have both come to adopt a view that is best described as Atheistic Humanism. What this means is that we accept the responsibility for our own lives, and realize that our choices affect all those around us. It is our belief also that we are responsible for each other, our neighbors both near and far, because we are all that we have. Though we do not believe in some "higher power" or consequently, the need for salvation, we live according to many of the principles of Christianity we were both taught as children, as well as teachings from various other religions. We hold the development of character in high regard, and the aquisition of knowledge and wisdom of utmost importance. We feel that rationalism is is our greatest human attribute. In light of this, we remain humble through the belief that we have come from the Earth and, in death, will return to it. We also feel very strongly about protecting our environment, taking care of our bodies, and encouraging creativity and learning. Our lives are brief and beautiful, and we have every intention of filling them with love and joy and family.

It is according to these values that we will raise our son. We have thought long and hard, and continue to daily, about the way to best go about bringing up this new life in our world. We realized early that our role as parents is a temporary one. Currie Alden Dail is his own person, and will eventually develop into a mature adult with his own ideas about the world. We see ourselves then as helpers, as guides in his life journey. It will never be our priority to protect our own authority, but to protect him. It is our responsibility, not to program him with our own ideas, but to make sure he can responsibly and wisely form his own ideas when he is ready. We will teach him as best we know how to evaluate the world around him in a rational and educated manner, ensuring that when the time comes, he can think for himself with clarity and insight. This doesn't mean we will form Alden into another Atheist, but it does necessitate that we teach him to think critically about the world's religions, including Christianity. We hope that by doing this, we will protect him from myths and dogmas. Our initial thought was that indocrinating an Atheist was just as bad as indoctrinating a Christian, but we soon realized that if we left religious discussion out all together, that Alden would be vulnerable and succeptable to dangerous cults. It is our hope that we can raise him to be an active free-thinker like his parents so that he may make his own educated decision about religious or non-religious beliefs. We will be teaching him other things that allign with our chosen lifestyle. As mentioned above, taking care of ourselves and our Earth is very important to us. We will be teaching him how to be healthy, including exercise and eating habits, and how not to be wasteful or greedy. It is important to us that everyone in his life uphold these teachings in his eyes. Creativity is also very important. We will do our best to avoid electronic toys including video games, instead encouraging outdoor activity. We ourselves do not have cable television and choose to spend as much time outside as possible. We hope that your involvement in his life can be along these same lines.

We also want to make clear our ideas about relgion in Alden's life. In order for Alden to be able to form his own opinions about this important aspect of life, it is paramount that he not be taught anything contrary to what we will be teaching him. Our greatest concern is that he be shown consistency. Telling him, "Jesus loves you," is going to accomplish nothing but confusion on his part and great difficulty on ours. We will have to work hard to explain why this is false, and how some people believe it to be true while we ourselves do not. We will not be taking him to church, and we don't want anyone else doing that either. In Jewish culture, the "age of accountability" is 13 years old. This also happens to be the age around which human brains develop the ability to understand and contemplate abstract ideas. At this point in Alden's life, he will have no doubt encountered many religious ideas from his interactions with his peers. Only at this point in his biological development can he possibly be able to comprehend religious philosophies.

He will inevitably have questions before this time which we will do our best to answer, but not until he is able will we introduce the more complex ideas for his consideration. We ask very ardently that you do the same for his benefit and for ours. We have a library of literature on the subject of religion and philosophy, including many Bibles. When he reaches the point in his life where his is interested in exploring his own beliefs, he will be encouraged in every way and afforded every opportunity for true discovery. We think it is very important to keep these kinds of ideas out of his mind early in his development. Again, they will only confuse him. It is important also to point out that we will not be using Santa to celebrate the winter holiday, and we will not introduce him to the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny. While it may sound like we're taking away all of his fun, we feel that it is important not to indulge our child in myths that cause him to believe anything apart from reality. We feel that we would be abusing his trust by doing otherwise. We will tell him stories of course. Some of these will be from Greek mythology, some may be American folk tales, and some may actually be Bible stories, but they will be presented as just that: stories. When he asks about gods we will tell him that people long ago thought that gods controlled intervened in human affairs, but now we know better. We ask that you, in your story telling, refrain from using these types of stories if possible, for we do not want you to have to compromise your own beliefs in order to fulfill our wishes. In addition to this, please do not give him gifts of religious children's books; he will not receive them. We want to encourage Alden to learn and to explore, but religious ideas should be saved for later.

We want this letter to be the beginning of an open dialog between us all. We will include our phone numbers and email addresses below. Please use them. Ask us questions, as we know that one letter is not nearly enough room to fully explain our thoughts and beliefs about our world and about how to raise our son in it. It is not our intention to alienate anyone; quite the opposite, we want to make sure that this doesn't happen. As mentioned before, family is one of our greatest assets and the love between family members is the best way to model to our son the way he should relate to others. We hope that you can understand and respect our views and expectations and work with us to make Alden's early years as bright and full of love as humanly possible. We think that all of our family has great and valuable experiences to share with him and that your influence on his life will be indispensable as it his on ours. We love you all and hope to see everyone soon.

 

With Love,

 

Joey and Karissa

(we included our email and phone numbers here in the real thing...)

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Thanks for sharing that... it was quite eloquent and gentle, but also bold! I don't know if I'd have the guts to tell my mother in law not to tell my future children that "Jesus loves you."

 

If we ever have kids, I think we might try the same strategy.

 

I am very curious as to how your family members responded... and please say what their beliefs and backgrounds are too. :)

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Wow. Very well-thought-out. I'm heartened to see that you guys have thought long and hard about how you want to raise your son, and that you're willing to be up front and firm about it. That's important, I think, especially if you have family members who might be overzealous about trying to proselytize him.

 

At any rate I hope it goes well. I'm also curious to find out how your family responds, if you're willing to post more about that later.

 

Good luck.

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:eek: Um...Do you LIKE having drama in your life?!? Because that is precisely what you're going to get now. I really wish you had waited to let us all chime in with our opinions before you sent that missive, but you didn't. Oh well. Life doesn't come with an eraser.

 

OK. Now I'm going to give you MY opinion on this letter. (You ARE seeking opinions, right? Otherwise, why make this post?) Or more accurately why you should NOT have written/sent it.

 

The quality of the letter was absolutely beautiful. You were eloquent, well-spoken and exceedingly clear as to what your intent is in raising your child. No harm there. What I question is WHY you thought you needed to express your intentions?

 

The phrase, "Methinks thou doth protest too much" keeps rolling around my empty skull. Sending this letter shows an absolute level of insecurity on your part. It's as if you already suspect that what you are doing is wrong, so you're already making excuses. IMHO.

 

We already discussed Parental Authority on this board, and the upshot is, as PARENTS you already HAVE the authority to do as you wish with your child. You have the NATURAL right as parents, and as a MARRIED couple, the STATE has granted you LEGAL rights to do as you please. (Within reason, of course.)

 

Why do you need to explain yourself in a letter? It's almost as if you're asking permission from these 15 close family members. I don't get it.

 

This is the most bizarre thing I've ever heard of. You never hear of religious people writing letters of intent to explain how THEY will raise their kids, do you? I've never heard of any racists getting permission or explaining themselves prior to raising their kids in the KKK. Have you?

 

Do you know why these people never write letters? Because they don't give a fuck what anyone else thinks about their beliefs. They're the parents. It's THEIR family. They'll do what they want. If anyone don't like it, then they can kiss the parents' ass.

 

That's how every NORMAL person does it. (Even me!)

 

I don't understand why YOU have felt the insecure need to write this "pre-emptive strike", as it were, to explain yourself. It's NONE of their business. You already have the right to do as you please. You two PARENTS aren't children. If anyone gives you grief, then give them the directions to the nearest beach, hand them a sledgehammer, and tell them to go pound sand up their asses.

 

But don't write a frigging letter!

 

Oh! Too late. You already did that.

 

I'm absolutely stunned. But hey! As I said before, this is YOUR life. Far be it from me to tell you how to live it. (See how that works?!? :grin: ) You NEVER need to explain yourself, or get permission. You're adults now. Live your life and tell any naysayers to fuck off. And stay away from the keyboard from now on.

 

That being said, I REALLY hope this works out in the end. But I fear you've just opened an unnecessary can of worms. :shrug:

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:eek: Um...Do you LIKE having drama in your life?!? Because that is precisely what you're going to get now. I really wish you had waited to let us all chime in with our opinions before you sent that missive, but you didn't. Oh well. Life doesn't come with an eraser.

 

OK. Now I'm going to give you MY opinion on this letter. (You ARE seeking opinions, right? Otherwise, why make this post?) Or more accurately why you should NOT have written/sent it.

 

The quality of the letter was absolutely beautiful. You were eloquent, well-spoken and exceedingly clear as to what your intent is in raising your child. No harm there. What I question is WHY you thought you needed to express your intentions?

 

The phrase, "Methinks thou doth protest too much" keeps rolling around my empty skull. Sending this letter shows an absolute level of insecurity on your part. It's as if you already suspect that what you are doing is wrong, so you're already making excuses. IMHO.

 

We already discussed Parental Authority on this board, and the upshot is, as PARENTS you already HAVE the authority to do as you wish with your child. You have the NATURAL right as parents, and as a MARRIED couple, the STATE has granted you LEGAL rights to do as you please. (Within reason, of course.)

 

Why do you need to explain yourself in a letter? It's almost as if you're asking permission from these 15 close family members. I don't get it.

 

This is the most bizarre thing I've ever heard of. You never hear of religious people writing letters of intent to explain how THEY will raise their kids, do you? I've never heard of any racists getting permission or explaining themselves prior to raising their kids in the KKK. Have you?

 

Do you know why these people never write letters? Because they don't give a fuck what anyone else thinks about their beliefs. They're the parents. It's THEIR family. They'll do what they want. If anyone don't like it, then they can kiss the parents' ass.

 

That's how every NORMAL person does it. (Even me!)

 

I don't understand why YOU have felt the insecure need to write this "pre-emptive strike", as it were, to explain yourself. It's NONE of their business. You already have the right to do as you please. You two PARENTS aren't children. If anyone gives you grief, then give them the directions to the nearest beach, hand them a sledgehammer, and tell them to go pound sand up their asses.

 

But don't write a frigging letter!

 

Oh! Too late. You already did that.

 

I'm absolutely stunned. But hey! As I said before, this is YOUR life. Far be it from me to tell you how to live it. (See how that works?!? :grin: ) You NEVER need to explain yourself, or get permission. You're adults now. Live your life and tell any naysayers to fuck off. And stay away from the keyboard from now on.

 

That being said, I REALLY hope this works out in the end. But I fear you've just opened an unnecessary can of worms. :shrug:

 

 

Glitch in the system linked me to Mr Grinch.

You must be the best judge of your actions. No doubt you had good reasons for sending your letter to your family. Hope it had the desired effect.

 

Regards

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