This post is old, so what you see here may not reflect my current opinion and mindset, certain information may be outdated, and links may be broken.
On my way home today, I ran into these two preschool-aged children and their father in front of this one local Christian church that caters towards mostly the African-American families who are affiliated with the military base. After I said my greetings and hugged one of the children, I continued my way home, and a scenario hit me in my head.
Most of you know I used to work with preschoolers. Now I work with middle school and high school students, but there are times when my job requires me to go work with the elementary school students and children who are in and below Kindergarten. Well, the scenario that came into my head sort of deals with my job. I imagined that a child comes up to me and asks, “Do you believe in God?“, and I wondered “How the heck do I answer that?!”
Luckily, when I worked with preschoolers, ranging from two to five years of age, ninety-nine percent of the time, they would not ask me that since the concept of religion is something most of them would not grasp. The middle school and high school students generally respect adult’s private life, so unless they happen to be one of those obnoxious individuals who don’t respect other people’s businesses, they won’t really ask me that question. Say that they do, I’ll answer them honestly and hope they respect my affiliation as I respect theirs.
However, let’s say a first to fifth grader (ages six to eleven) asked me that, then what would I say? I believe in being honest, and I think the safest answer would be “I believe in the human’s ability to think and act for themselves” might work. I could easily just say, “Oh, I don’t believe in God,” but then that will lead to more uncomfortable questions and explanations, and optional angry parents coming after my tail for teaching their children “an immoral subject”. Since I’m in the caregiver fields, they are pretty susceptible to a lot of accusations, I think.
Fortunately, I have yet to have a child under my care ask me that kind of question, and I hope they never do. I know I’ll want to answer honestly and simply say that I do not believe in the existence of a higher being, but at the same time, I do not want someone after my behind. I know my workforce probably has policies to protect me from a parent who might not be understanding, but then the work-force’s management might lecture me on how to keep my mouth shut about certain issues as well.
What would you do, if you were a teacher, a caregiver, or somebody who worked with children, and they asked you questions regarding sensitive issues, not necessarily about Atheism but other touchy topics? (Hopefully, they’ll never ask you questions about sex. Heck, I’d hate to give them the birds and the bees talk to any children above ten!)