Tagged: Family

Christmas with children, without hassle

This was an article in a newsletter from 2008 by Sophie Lovejoy, who has two young children. It provides ideas for parents with limited budgets who’d like to keep their spending under control, yet still have a good time.

Xmas cookingChristmas is invariably a challenge with small children, particularly if you aren’t Christian. For the past few years, my halcyon days of totally ignoring Christmas have been entirely forgotten. I got away with not celebrating when Tess was one, but as she turned two, I couldn’t hold out any longer. Once Toby came along, I had no choice but to rethink how I’d manage over the festive season. I work very hard in the run up to Christmas to keep the kids focused on the people they love, and who love them. Part of this is making almost all our gifts and cards, and I try to make something for each of the children too. I occasionally let the kids buy something very small, but usually my response when they ask is “Do you have any money? No? Well we’ll have to make something then.”

The first UK Camp Quest – July 2009

If you have children aged between eight and seventeen, you may be interested in the first UK residential summer camp for the children of atheists, agnostics, humanists, freethinkers and all those who embrace a naturalistic rather than supernatural world view. The camp will be at Bath for the week 27th July – 31st July 2009, for an all inclusive £275. They are looking for volunteers to help. To find out more, go to the Camp Quest website. Speaking from experience, I can tell you that the kids will come home exhausted.

Season’s Greeting, again

Hello Friends,

Yes another cheap and pointless Xmas update email.

Can it be 12 months since we last sat down and wrote? YES it’s in the diary every year for heaven’s sake!

Well what a strange year; Betty is now 47 and Frank died in a hideous boating accident in Holland. It’s not easy getting a waterlogged body through customs at Heathrow.

“Devout Christians” no more likely to do the right thing than anyone else

From Suffolk Humansts & Secularists Chairman David Mitchell:

On this morning’s Andrew Marr Show, Carol Vorderman reviewed the papers and made a comment that I for one am pretty fed up with hearing.

She described the young parents of the recently born conjoined twins, who decided to take the pregnancy to full term despite knowing the children were conjoined, as “devout Christians”.

Below is a comment I sent to the show via the BBC website. As yet it hasn’t made it amongst the criticisms of Jackie Smith’s dire performance and given there’s far more evidence of the BBC being a Christian conspiracy than a Liberal one I doubt it’ll get aired.

Carol Vorderman’s description on today’s show of the young parents of the newly born conjoined twins who decided to take the pregnancy to full term as ‘devout Christians’ cannot go unchallenged. The clear implication of her throw away comment is that atheist or Humanist parents would  have chosen to terminate the pregnancy. Moral decisions, difficult decisions, ‘doing the right thing’ and generally being ‘good’ are human characteristics and nothing to do with medieval religious superstition. Tens of millions of people know you don’t need God to be Good so please stop equating good with Christianity. It’s rubbish.

Credit crunch Christmas

YuleIt’s a sign of growing older (and grumpier), but I despair of people’s lack of common sense sometimes. For weeks, the media has been full of stories about the economic situation. Now the retail trade is in a state, anticipating that most people will spend less this Christmas. Meanwhile, the Consumer Credit Counselling Service reports a high number of callers with worries about the strain of Christmas on family budgets. It’s as well it’s not me answering the phones. I’d tell them that Christmas isn’t compulsory, nor is spending money you can’t afford, so get a grip! You can still have a good time with your family, without getting into debt. Read what some Humanists have done. And if your kids expect lots of very expensive presents, maybe you haven’t trained them well? My advice to parents of very young children? Start as you mean to go on, and don’t assume that you’ll always be able to put everything on a credit card. Get them used to a modest midwinter celebration, where family activities, games and good food can be enjoyed, without worrying about how you’re going to clear your debts in time for next Christmas.

BBC Panorama: You can run… but can you hide? Collecting data on children

I tuned in to tonight’s BBC Panorama programme [27 October] late, just in time to hear reporter Simon Boazman explain how the government plans to collect information on children. He asked his own daughter some of the questions that are included in a questionaire to test something or other. Did she go to church? What religion was she? Did she believe in God? I’ll watch the programme again to check (you can see it online for the next week using the BBC’s i-player), but my mind was boggling.

International Women’s Day

IWD logoSaturday 8th March is International Women’s Day.

Click on the image to go to the IWD website and find out about International Women’s Day, and what events are happening in your area.

The Scouts’ promise – only for the religious

ScoutsUK scouts must be prepared to make the Scout Promise:

On My Honour, I promise that I will do my best
To do my duty to God and to the Queen,
To help other people
And to keep the Scout Law.

The Scout Association’s website claims that,

Scouting is open to all young people aged 6 to 25 of every faith and background. There are also plenty of opportunities for adults to become involved as Leaders, Assistants or Administrators.

However, what it doesn’t say is that scouting is not open to those who don’t have a faith. Since 65% of 12–19 year-olds aren’t religious, this policy effectively excludes a majority of young people.

On 24 January, Keith Porteous Wood of the National Secular Society and Hanne Stinson of the British Humanist Association met the Scouts’ Chief Executive, Derek Twine, together with Scout Company Executive David Shelmerdine and the Chairman of Trustees Mike Goodison. Keith and Hanne sought to persuade the Scouts to change its discriminatory policy and make the religious part of its promise optional. So far, the Scouts have refused to consider this.

Christmas with kids

This time of year is invariably a challenge with small children, particularly if you aren’t Christian. For the past few years, my halcyon days of totally ignoring Christmas have been entirely forgotten. I got away with not celebrating when my first child was one, but as she turned two I couldn’t hold out any longer. Once my second child came along, I had no choice but to rethink how I’d manage over the festive season.