This family-oriented group is gathering to create a secular humanist community in which to raise our children. Our focus is to discuss parenting issues pertaining to humanist values and participate in multi-family activities to create bonds within our community. In May 2013 we launched our own Meet-up page sponsored by the Humanists of MN to reach a larger demographic.
Currently our group,Raising Freethinkers, meets on the second Saturday every other month. Please contact the event host if you have a topic of interest for the group.
Join Twin Cities Freethinking Families for the annual Christmas program at the Brooklyn Park Historic Farm, also called the Eidem Homestead. There will be lots of activities for young children and a visit from St. Nicolas. For details on this program, click here.
Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for children 4-12, and free for children 3 and under. Meet at the gate just outside the entrance building at 1:00 PM. Hosted by Lewis Campbell.
Raising Freethinkers: Rites of Passage Commemorating events as we grow older is an important function of life. Join us as we discuss rites of passage common in our society and which ones are important to raising freethinkers.
Childcare will be provided. Please indicate when you RSVP how many children will accompany you and their ages so we can plan accordingly. If a large number of children are present, we may need volunteers to help out.
Raising Freethinkers: Religion Join us as we discuss the challenges of teaching our children about religion. How do we teach them to be tolerant, but skeptical. Knowledge of other world religions and the subtle differences between denominations is crucial in becoming a world citizen. This is an excellent opportunity for those who have already raised freethinkers to pass on their experiences with the rest of the group.
As always, children are welcome to attend. Activities will be provided for the kids while the parents engage in discussion.
1:00 to 1:30: Setup and group social
1:30 to 3:30: Group Discussion
3:30 to 4:00: Wrap Up
During the summer months, the MN freethought community holds a monthly picnic open to anyone who wants to hang out! Join us: humanists, agnostics, atheists, freethought families, and the U of MN campus freethought group. This is an all-ages event! There will be lots of friendly people, a play area for the kids, lively discussions for the adults, and plenty of room to play frisbee etc. Bring games, instruments etc.
These are potluck picnics so bring some picnic food to share. The shelter area has electricity and a sink. Don’t forget to bring your own beverage, plate and utensils.
The August picnic is is sponsored by Minnesota Atheists.
We are raising our children in a freethinking family, but what does that mean? Join us as we discuss general education topics such as teaching our kids ethics, learning about religion, exploring science, and any other topics of interest. Bring materials/resources that you use to share with participants. This is an excellent opportunity for experienced freethinkers to pass on resources to new parents! Discussion groups are generally aimed for adults however, children are welcome to attend. The room is fairly large so areas can be set up for activities and tables are available. There will be some activities provided. Feel free to bring food or beverage items as they are allowed in the community room.
Welcome to Twin Cities Freethinking Families. This event will be held in conjunction with the first of the three freethought picnics held each summer within the larger Twin Cities secular community. Join us at Columbia Park for the picnic sponsored by CASH (Campus Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists). This picnic is a potluck so bring food to share with others. Don’t forget to bring your own beverage, plate and utensils. After lunch, we will gather at the playground equipment near the rented picnic shelter. Feel free to bring activities to share with the kids either at the shelter or the playground.
We are back to the ever-popular Edinborough Park for another family outing. We can meet at Adventure Peak which is a 44-by-44-by-37 foot high climbing, low crawling, slip sliding Northwoods adventure. Climb into the 30-foot tall oak tree, slide down one of the four giant tube slides or wash down the triple wave slide. Climb across a canyon, scale the climbing wall and venture to the 30 foot lookout to spy around the Park. From the lookout, slide down the very popular and very fast new super slide.
Adventure Peak also features great areas for toddlers to explore. The Tot Area includes climbing, crawling, sliding and even bouncing in an inflatable air bounce geared just for them! There is also another area across from Adventure Peak where the kids can run around, play ball, and roll around on play scooters.
Admission is $7 per child. Adults are admitted to the play park free with a paid child's admission. Children younger than Age 1 are also free. Don't forget your socks! Even though Adventure Peak is shoeless, socks are required for all guests - even mom and dad!
Join us at Edinborough Park for an exciting family outing. We can meet at Adventure Peak which is a 44-by-44-by-37 foot high climbing, low crawling, slip sliding Northwoods adventure. Climb into the 30-foot tall oak tree, slide down one of the four giant tube slides or wash down the triple wave slide. Climb across a canyon, scale the climbing wall and venture to the 30 foot lookout to spy around the Park. From the lookout, slide down the very popular and very fast new super slide. Adventure Peak also features great areas for toddlers to explore. The Tot Area includes climbing, crawling, sliding and even bouncing in an inflatable air bounce geared just for them! The entire padded, netted and enclosed structure has over 45 events to keep kids challenged and entertained for hours.
Centuries ago in northern Europe, the Midwinter season was commonly known as “Yule.” Most freethinkers know that this ancient holiday was usurped by the Christians, but we too often still let religion define and characterize modern-day celebrations. At this gathering, we will consider what aspects of the older traditions can provide a more authentic and deeper meaning to the season. We will learn some songs, listen to stories and read kid’s poetry together that all focus on the natural world and the joys and challenges of winter. There’ll be activities and crafts to try and ideas to share on how we as secularists can make this season our own in a way that represents our values and worldview. Facilitated by Audrey Kingstrom, Community Coordinator for the Humanists of MN.
We’re back at the library! Join us in a discussion regarding our own mortality as inspired by the next chapter in Parenting Beyond Belief. Chapter Six: Death and Consolation takes us into the ever difficult topic of how to talk about death to our children. Don’t worry if you haven’t read previous chapters (or even this chapter) as the discussion is not entirely focused on the book. Hope to see you there! We are also continuing our small program for children ages preschool to elementary age. At approximately three o’clock any children at the meeting will be invited to join in reading selected stories from “Love Your Neighbor-Stories of Values and Virtues” and other stories while the parents continue their discussion for about thirty minutes.
We are heading outside once again for a family centered gathering. Join us as we gather at the Richfield Wood Lake Nature Center. This Nature Center is a 150-acre natural area dedicated to environmental education, wildlife observation, and outdoor recreation.
Meet at the Interpretive Center which will offer us a chance to learn more about plants, animals and the environment. Then we will stroll along some of the three miles of trails and boardwalks that wind through the park.
This meeting of the Secular Parenting Group we will continue our discussion of Dale McGowan’s book Parenting Beyond Belief. Chapter Four is titled “On Being and Doing Good”. Join us as we discuss the moral development of children and the advantages we have as secular parents to be able to do this. Don’t worry if you actually haven’t read the chapter as the discussion is uses the book for inspiration and not necessarily a reiteration of what was written. We are also continuing our small program for children ages preschool to elementary age. At approximately three o’clock any children at the meeting will be invited to join in reading selected stories from “Love Your Neighbor-Stories of Values and Virtues” and other stories while the parents continue their discussion for about thirty minutes.
Let’s pick some apples! The Secular Parenting Group is having a fun filled family outing at Minnetonka Orchards. Join us for some Sunday afternoon fun with hayrides, petting barn, and other activities. We will also have the opportunity to make fresh apple cider as they celebrate Cider Fest. Children under 3 are free.
Are you looking for a group of parents to spend time with? Then look no further than the Secular Parenting Group! This meeting we will discuss chapter three of Dale McGowan’s book Parenting Beyond Belief. In “Holidays and Celebrations” we will discuss the role of holidays and celebrations in our families. Join us as we discuss humanist celebrations and whether or not to incorporate Santa Claus and the Easter bunny into our holidays. This meeting we are kicking off a small program for children ages preschool to elementary age. At approximately three o’clock any children at the meeting will be invited to join in reading selected stories from “Love Your Neighbor-Stories of Values and Virtues” and other stories while the parents continue their discussion for about thirty minutes.
Bring the whole family to celebrate the fall season with a short intergenerational program. Through kids poetry, interactive music and our own shared reflections of autumn, we will take stock of the changing seasons, hone our observational skills of the natural world and consider how best to enjoy the coming fall.
After the program, the children can play at the playground, check out the adjacent nature center or go on a hike with selected adults. The remaining parents will exchange ideas about fun fall family outings and plan a social fall event for our secular humanist parenting group.
We will meet come rain or shine in the park shelter. We can retreat to the nature center for indoor activity if the weather doesn’t cooperate for extended outdoor activities. Bring lawn or camp chairs for easier discussion set-up.
This meeting we are continuing our discussion of Dale McGowan’s book Parenting Beyond Belief. We will focus on Chapter Two “Living With Religion”. Join us as we discuss the essays contained within this chapter which include Dr. Roberta Nelson’s “On Being Religiously Literate” and Margaret Downey’s “Teaching Children to Stand on Principle-Even When the Going Gets Tough”.
Our discussion topic will be family rhythms. Families involved in organized religions often have some structure built into their schedules: prayers at this time of day, gatherings on this day of the week, and observances at this time of the year. Secular families have the opportunity – and challenge – of deliberately building their family’s rhythms from scratch.
Let’s share the things we routinely do as a family every day, week, month, or season that set the tempo of our households. How do we intentionally place values that are important to us into everyday life, whether it’s nightly reading time, a weekly visit to someone special, or annual excursions to the apple orchard?
*Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids" by Kim John Payne has an interesting section on family rhythm and how he believes it impacts our kids.
Join us for the next Humanist Parenting Group! This meeting we are going to focus on labels we use to identify ourselves. Do you identify yourself as a humanist, atheist, skeptic, all the above, or none at all? How we label ourselves affects how our children see us and how they identify themselves. Should we use labels or will the possible negative connotations outweigh the positive? Is it advantageous for the religious to be able to use a label for themselves? Wendy Thomas Russell recently wrote about this issue on her blog.
This meeting is going to be located at the North Mississippi Regional Park. Meet us by the play area. If you wish to come early, the park is having a “Bugs under the microscope” activity for kids at the Carl Kroening Interpretive Center starting at 1:00. It’s free! It is recommended to bring chairs as this makes for an easier time to gather for a discussion.
We are excited to announce the start of a series where we will discuss Dale McGowan’s book Parenting Beyond Belief. Once a month, we will read a chapter in this book and discuss the subjects that were presented. For our first meeting we will start with (surprise!) chapter one “Personal Reflections”. Join our discussion which will include Julia Sweeney’s “Navigating Around the Dinner Table”, Richard Dawkins’ “Good and Bad Reasons for Believing”, and Penn Jillette’s “Passing Down the Joy of Not Collecting Stamps”.
The Humanist Parenting Group meets twice a month on the second and fourth Sunday. Children are welcome, but bring along something for them to do. If you have any topics you would like discussed, if you have any ideas for the Humanist Parenting Group, or are looking for a way to get more involved, feel free to contact Kevin (assistant organizer) through Meetup.
In two recent posts on Parents Beyond Belief, Larry Mathys discussed a few situations he encountered and offered a set of suggestions for secular families that may have children going to school with religious bullies. Although school bullying is usually the focus of most news reports, where else should we be concerned about it? How should we handle it?
Join us at Mueller Park in Uptown. Bring chairs if you like to make it easier to gather around for discussion. Children are welcome. Playground equipment is available.
Join us for the next Humanist Parenting Group! This meeting will be held in conjunction with the June Picnic sponsored by CASH (Campus Atheists, Skeptics & Humanists at the UofMN) for the entire local freethought community--including the Humanists of MN and MN Atheists. If time permits, this occasion is a perfect opportunity to discuss what roles families have in a Humanist community and how to expand our influence.
The following links will serve as primers for the discussion. The first is the podcast with Greg Epstein discussing the Humanist Community Project at Harvard on the Humanist Hour, the second is his website for this project.
Note the earlier start time at noon. These are potluck picnics so bring some picnic food to share. The shelter area has electricity and a sink. (Bring your own beverage, plate and utensils.) There is a play area nearby.
The warm weather is upon us so we are heading to the parks for our upcoming gatherings. This week we will be at Newell Park in St. Paul—just 4 blocks west of Hamline University. Bring the children along; this park has suitable play areas for toddlers as well as the “older” kids.
Seating for adults is available right next to the playground, but bring along camp or lawn chair for greater flexibility if you wish. Here’s a good chance to get better acquainted with humanist parents as we make plans for future summer outings.
Parking available. Look for us near the playground.
We will honor our mothers and the mothers in our midst at this Mother’s Day gathering by considering the attributes we ascribe to “mother.” Is there a unique relationship each of us has to our mothers and that mothers have to their children? Are there special characteristics embodied in the role of “mother.” Are these attributes solely relegated to women? Should men and fathers also aspire to these character traits? Or, on this day, do we simply celebrate the relationship of mother to child?
Historically mothers have been largely responsible for raising children. In the 21st century we expect fathers to be actively engaged in that task as well. But do we as humanist parents accept responsibility for creating the kind of world in which they can grow and flourish? The history of Mother’s Day stems from the humanist ideals of 19th century activist women, Anna Reeves Jarvis and Julia Ward Howe. These women were advocates for peace and human rights to ensure the welfare of every mother’s child. For a brief overview of that history check out the following links.
Come share your ideas and insights, your hopes and aspirations in raising your children. Get better acquainted with other humanist and freethinking parents. There will be a short story time for the kids, along with free play, and refreshments for everyone.
At this meeting, we will focus on creating a literacy-rich home environment. We will begin by sharing our favorite books from childhood. Then we’ll learn about some recently published notable books from freethinking mom, librarian and blogger, Mindy Rhiger. Our discussion will also explore family rituals related to books and literacy.
Bring along your children, if you'd like. We’ll have a short story-time on springtime observations for them. Here’s an opportunity for free-thinking kids to share with each other and get better acquainted. Of course, there will be plenty of time for free play, so do bring along some quiet activities for them to do by themselves or with the other children.