I don't like some of my Facebook comments to get buried and lost, especially if I believe I've given a half-decent reponse. My friend asked the following:
The Question: how does one bring up a child/nephew/niece/student in 2017 with the right mental framework and education so that they are resilient to trauma of finding out that later in life that just like Santa, God is also a fictitious idea that was injected into their innocent brains as a way to control their behaviour?
I’ve lived in a homogenous culture where practically everyone believes in God, a specific God, as well as in Britain where there’s a good mix of believers and non-believers.
MY CONCLUSION: The truth is, there definitely is a God for some people and there definitely is no God for others. Whether this is true for you or not seems to be based on a mixture of upbringing and life experience.
For me, I definitely believe in a God but don’t think She comes with a certain religion so I’m happy to enter any place of worship and enjoy it for what it is, people trying to connect with their God. I actually like the base concept of religion but most people take it too far. My parents never used religion to control me, nor told me to accept their religion but they did introduce me to it.
I decided we humans are just WAY too basic and generally too primitive to be the highest order of things so there must be a supreme organiser of things.
I sometimes call my God, Mother Nature and I’ve at times reached a point where I just don’t feel in balance with life and calling upon my God has seen me through.
There are also times when I have literally felt the presence of God, notably when I came to the end of a natural labour and saw the result. I had spent 9 months telling myself “I was born to do this, I can do it without interventions, I can do it without medications, I can do it at home!” When I came to the end of those 11 hours of labour I definitely felt something supreme, I can’t even explain it to you.
Anyway, I’d never force my children to believe anything just as my parents didn’t force me but I’ll introduce them to God, spirituality, calling on their inner selves, all the values that exist on this earth and let them decide. They won’t have any trouble on this topic.
Everyone is a spiritual being and it’s that’s spirituality that is God, the supreme organiser of all things. Many numb it with drugs, alcohol, fanaticism of a topic be it movies or academics but everyone has a need to feel that something is bigger than them. Altruism itself is driven by a need to connect with the supreme organiser of all things, to feel the good that exists in the universe, for me, that’s all God.
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Okay, the names are in no particular order. First pick your favourite first name for a girl and then your fav for a boy...if you like something else entirely, make a comment!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FOR A FIRST NAME?
I grew up in a country where everything is everyone’s business!
All my adult life I’ve lived in a country where people generally mind their own business sometimes to the extreme.
Now, I’m writing about this experience because it hasn’t left me since it occurred three days ago:
The Good Husband and I were sat in a restaurant having a date night when I noticed a woman sitting behind me with her son in the pram.
“That kid’s about the same age as Chester,” I said to Harry for no specific reason. He nodded.
About 10 minutes later I hear the kid making sounds to get the mother’s attention, she didn’t even look at him. Her face was glued to the phone, she was furiously texting someone, maybe the baby daddy, perhaps he'd p*ssed her off.
Now, her son was my son’s age which meant he could probably walk and he could most certainly sit in a high chair and colour in or flip through a book.
The kid wasn’t free to move a limb at all: he was in a warm winter coat indoors, quite tightly strapped in his chair with a dummy stuck in his.
Ignoring the fact that the dummy should have been ditched at 12 months because it delays speech development beyond that point I was more frustrated by the fact that he was completely unstimulated but this is England, I thought, it’s none of my business.
30 minutes passed, then 40 minutes, we were coming up to an hour when the kid had been completely ignored despite several attempts to get mum's attention.
It was that time in the day when doting parents were serving dinner to their kids, bathing them, reading them a story and putting them to bed and this little boy was having none of that. In fact, he hadn’t received so much as a smile from his mother in the hour we'd been there.
I couldn’t stop myself.
My legs took on a life of their own before my head could take control of them; I turned to her and said, “You need to take care of your child!”
“I am taking care of him,” she argued.
“How old is he?" I asked.
“One and a half,” she scowled.
In a triumph of tact and diplomacy (because anyone who knows me knows I could have said much more) I looked her in the face and said, “He needs some kind of attention.”
“There’s nothing wrong with him,” she said, “he’s just being naughty.”
He wasn’t being naughty. I let that particular choice of wording slide as a language issue because English was obviously not her native tongue.
I turned back and sat in my chair and the Asian American lady sitting next to my table goes, “Oh my Gad, we were just talking about that.”
I should have said you and everyone else in eyeshot of her is probably talking about it but this is Britain, we make excuses for people so I simply said, “Maybe she never gets a night off" - as if that would be an acceptable excuse for neglect.
The lady and her baby didn’t stay long after that. Having lifted her head from her phone for the first time in an hour she suddenly realized she had been the centre of attention for a while and left. I worried about what punishment she'd mete out to her son for being "naughty".
That night as I tossed and turned The Good Husband woke up and asked what was wrong, “I’m still thinking about the little Chinese boy,” I answered.
I’m glad I said something.
This is Britain. We mind our own business but sometimes we shouldn’t especially when the people we’re speaking for cannot speak for themselves.
I know there are different forms of parenting out there and I do agree that most parents know what's best for their child. Indeed, some of the things I do would probably have helicopter parents and tiger mums around the globe tearing their hair out and I might feel the same about their practices. Ultimately we'd both fall into categories that are trying their best for their child. We're actively engaged in being parents of some form.
Nowadays people ignore bad things happening right next to them then they go home and write the now infamous "open letter" or Facebook post, a heartfelt note that will most likely never reach the intended audience - what's the point?
I can live with most parenting styles but neglect is definitely not something I can sit next to and watch…it’s not an acceptable form of parenting.