Today I went to Victoria, BC to do some shopping. I always end up wandering into book stores. I don’t know why. I almost never buy anything. I usually see if the store has Moleskine notebooks. If they don’t, I mentally grade them a C. Munro’s Books on Government Street gets an A+ for sure. They had probably every Moleskine notebook in existence, and ones I had never seen in person, only on the Moleskine website. I wanted to buy every one of them, but alas I left with the knowledge that I’ve probably got enough for the next few months…
I then went into the mall and wandered into another bookstore. Owned by Chapters…Here is what I found in the kids section…
These books weren’t on edge along with the rest of the kids books, showing just their spines. They took up their own display spots showing the covers.
I was a bit in shock. The Berenstain Bears? My oldest son watched a lot of them as a pre-schooler. The show seemed fine. But now I am questioning whether the Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission(CRTC) did a little censoring and we only saw the tame episodes.
I feel like I need to be a little mad at somebody. But who? The book store for blatantly displaying the books in such an obvious way to sell Christian books, or the author of the Berenstain Bears books themselves? Why be a little angry?
Because I believe that we should be a society of choice. I believe in the freedom of religion, free speech, pro-choice. I don’t believe at all that a child could possibly be a Christian child, a Muslim child, etc…Kids are just kids that have been fed the beliefs by their parents.They haven’t yet found their belief systems.
So, even though it is a religious holiday this weekend, and I am fine with Christians celebrating(do they celebrate this one?), I am firmly against forcing these beliefs on kids through books like the ones above.
Though I am devoutly atheist, I will let my kids make their own decisions when they are old enough to weed through it all. My oldest has told me he doesn’t believe in a god. I’ve told him I’m OK with that, but that it is also OK for him to change his mind later on. He is an individual. If he asks me what I think or believe about something, I tell him what I believe, and why I came to that conclusion, but that there are many people that feel different, and their opinions are just as valid.
The big difference with declaring to my son that I am an atheist is that unlike many religions, I won’t force him to go to a weekly atheist meeting in a big stained glass building, say atheist prayers every night before being allowed to eat dinner, make him read atheist leaning kids books with characters he sees on Treehouse, and I will respect his opinion to question everything. In fact, that is what I hope he achieves. I hope the same level of scepticism for my other kids. To question everything, and come to their own conclusions.
Don’t force kids to believe something they are too young to understand.Let them make up their minds.
Funny enough, I didn’t buy a book at the bookstore today…And if I did, it would have been a blank notebook for them to create their own identity…
- An Atheist Celebrates Easter (dangeroustalk.net)
- What Your Favorite Kids Book Then Says About You Now (huffingtonpost.com)
- Why I Love Moleskine City Notebooks (italylogue.com)