The post “Wondering and Questioning, Part 1” at Parenting Beyond Belief is a wonderful reminder of the childlike ability—lost by most adults—to inquire freely about the world:
My single greatest thrill as a secular parent is watching as my kids follow their wonder wherever it leads. My primary task in those moments is to run ahead down the corridor, flinging wide as many doors as possible—or much better yet, to just stay the hell out of the way.
I’m convinced that the ecstatic wondering and questioning I’ve marveled at in my kids owes a great deal to secular parenting. Religion, in addition to inspiring a certain degree and type of wonder, tends to also place real limits on the inquiring mind. Certain things are sacred, after all, or otherwise unquestionable, or at least inappropriate, or too complicated to explain, or beyond the poor grasp of our human minds, too unseemly, too shocking, too sad, too unthinkable. One can hear the barricades slamming into place, one by one.
There are no unthinkable thoughts in our home, no unaskable questions, no unbearable hypotheses. Not one. How can you decide whether something is right, I tell my kids, if you won’t even let yourself think it first? As a result of this simple policy, my children are growing up with minds that race through fields of possibility, unhindered by barricades erected by someone else’s fears.
I’d love to read the book, but the infinite wisdom of Borders has restricted their stock to 78 copies nationwide (Barnes & Noble has ordered a grand total of zero, claiming that “there’s no market” for the book).
They may not appreciate either the book or our purchases of it, but someone else will.