Thursday, October 28, 2010

Secular Thursday

I recently had a friend ask me - with true interest, not in a judging way - what sources we use for inspiration and guidance if we do not follow the teachings of religion. She was wondering where my children will turn for support and comfort if they do not have a religious leader or god.

There are so many ways to answer this question - it felt overwhelming. I took the easy way out and gave a generic answer about "many sources" - not that it's not a truthful answer. Just easy.

It made me wonder if other secular homeschoolers are faced with the same or similar question. And it made me even more curious to their answers - do they take the simple, easy way and give a short-and-sweet answer? Do they delve into it, siting examples and providing quotations? Or do they land somewhere in between? Is it situation dependent?

So humor me and share, if you will! =)


  1. Well, my kids go to a Unitarian church in our neighborhood where my husband is also active and I occasionally attend. But in answer to this question, I feel like if my kids ask the big questions, we turn to books. Not like, "Inspiration: A Q&A for Kids!" but stories and poems. The good stuff that can make you think. There's other places and people we look to as well, but that's my number one thought. However, would I get into that with a casual friend who doesn't know much about homeschooling or living a (mostly) secular life? No. I'd say what you said.

  2. I think it would depend on the individual asking and the circumstances surrounding the asking. If this is a new friendship you might not want to get into it to deeply. But she sounds like she might be open minded enough to actually discuss the topic and do it justice.

    I find that on sensitive issues, if I prepare ahead of time a few key points that I want to address and how I want to address it, then I can present my case better. My rule is 3-5 FACTS. Perhaps 2-3 non-personal, fact-based points you want to make, and 1-2 personal notes, like how it makes you feel, and how it effects your family.

    Maybe this sounds awkward to pre-plan the conversation, but I feel like we are all ambassadors for homeschooling, and our unique lifestyles. The better we present our case the better we, and those who follow us, will be received.

    Very thought-provoking post; thanks!!

  3. I agree that it would depend on the person and situation. I had a similar topic today, and I tend to look at it from the opposite point of view - how can you not find inspiration in the everyday? The sunrise, the children themselves - there is inspiration to be had all over the place. One need not attend church or look to religious texts to find it.

    As for guidance, I'm guided by and I teach my children to be guided by what they feel, the facts surrounding the situation; to gather information and make the decision that feels right to them. We talk a lot about how that feels in our hearts - good/bad, happy/sad - and let that be a compass. Children are born with an innate sense of justice; one does not need to look or try very hard to find that. I want my kids to seek out mentors and people who are more experienced to learn from, too. I would never want them to follow any one source's line on the right path. There are such wide and varied paths, and the course you take is heavily influenced by so many factors - no one can dictate what is right for another person.