Today was my cousin’s 8th birthday. It’s hard to believe how old he is: I was a teenager when he was born, now I’m an adult and he’s going into 3rd grade. It’s been awhile since I was last here for his birthday. I live 9 hours away by car, so it’s hard to get down here.
The party was nerf themed. We ran around shooting each other with nerf guns for hours. And of course my cousin got many a nerf guns as presents. It reminded me of when I was a kid. I wasn’t allowed to play with weapons, and I was always jealous of those who were. My cousin also played COD while I was here, which I definitely wouldn’t have been allowed to play. I couldn’t help but wonder about children and violence. I don’t think that children should be sheltered from violence, but their parents should definitely talk about violence with them. Children should be told what is acceptable and what isn’t. I think nerf guns are fine for children. The violence isn’t realistic and neither is the way the guns operate. But I will not be allowing my 8 year olds to play COD. 14-16 year olds, fine, but not 8. That’s because I don’t want my children to become desensitized towards real violence.
This led me to think about different beliefs among parents. The different ways that people raise their children. When I have kids, I want to raise them to be secular critical thinkers. They will not be raised in a religion, but they will also not be hidden from religion. I intend to teach my children about different religions before they go to school. I want them to know that their classmates will have different beliefs from their own, and they should respect those differences and try to get to know their classmates as individuals. I will be allowing my children to attend different worship services that they are invited to, but only after I have researched where they will be going. And my partner and I will be telling our children what we believe and why. We will also tell our children that it is their job to decide what they believe, but not until they are old enough. We will also be teaching our children to appreciate science, history, and philosophy from a young age. We want our children to know how to think before they learn what to think. That way they will understand what they are told and they will be able to decide whether or not what they are told should be believed. These are the most important aspects of child-rearing to my partner and I (well, that and the health and happiness of our children).
What do you consider the most important aspects of child-rearing? What do you want to teach your children? Why?