We talk a lot about how to get minorities involved in our groups — but atheist parents of young children are a minority that often gets ignored.
A lot of local atheist/skeptic meetings take place in bars, but you can’t bring your children there. There may be conferences you want to attend, but you’d have to find a babysitter for the weekend. Even if your children came to a local meeting, they’d be bored during many of the lectures. All I’m saying is that it’s tough for an atheist parent to stay involved in the community. (On the other hand, churches make it *easy* for parents with children to remain active in the faith.)
We just don’t have many “atheist Sunday schools” (though a handful exist). There are some Parenting Beyond Belief groups across the country (and forums for discussion) but they’re not everywhere. The Richard Dawkins Foundation has pledged to support Camp Quest’s day-care services during major conferences, but the details of that haven’t been released yet.
In any case, it would be great for atheist parents to have more opportunities to attend gatherings and discuss relevant issues when it comes to raising children.
That’s what Jennifer Tweeton is trying to do with a group she started called Freethought Families of Chicago:
Freethought Families of Chicago represent a local group of parents and families in the Chicagoland area with secular worldviews, humanist mindsets, and value science-based education. Those who wish to join us can look forward to regular family-friendly (and freethought-friendly) events and meetups around the area. Freethought Families of Chicago is affiliated with and run by the Chicago Freethought Project.
It’s an awesome idea and I hope they can get something strong going in the area.
Not only that — let’s keep this going. If you start a group like this, let me know. I’d be happy to promote it.
(Thanks to Alex for the link!)