'Science Stories' Column Garners Response by Jezebel

Jezebel, the deliciously snarky feminist blog, today wrote a response to my PBS NewsHour column ("Skip the fairy tales, and tell your daughter science bedtime stories.") The Jezebel response ("Should You Ditch FairyTales and Teach Your Daughter Science Instead?") was great. Mostly. The writer certainly agreed with the notion that we should be giving our daughters more exposure to science and mathematics, but then said:

"Where I disagree with Russell is on the idea that you have to 'skip the fairytales.' I think you can cultivate a spirit of independence in young girls without totally ditching fairytales, which are helpful in their own way. They are cultural artifacts, they exist in nearly every language in some form or another; they are cautionary tales, can be as gross and weird as spiders, and sometimes work as really good examples of what not to do."

The thing is, I never suggested that we trade in fairy tales for science stories. In fact, Maxine was a HUGE princess freak growing up — and still adores all fairy tales. She has a mountain of Barbies and a closet-full of pink dresses. Mine was never an either/or piece. I do see how the headline could have been seen as a tad misleading, but the folks who wrote it never meant that ALL fairy tales should be trashed or that ONLY science stories should be told at bedtime.

Still, a good essay — and there's no such thing as bad press, right?

'Science Stories' on the NewsHour

After the rather surprising (and surprisingly controversial) success of my last parenting column for the PBS NewsHour's website — which garnered more than 700,000 page views and and was featured briefly at the tail end of the TV broadcast (!!) — the NewsHour has been kind enough to publish another of my columns. This one is about the joys of watching Charlie give Maxine a true and abiding appreciation for science, the kind I never had myself as a child. I hope you'll check it out. Here's the link.

The Case for Having Only One Child

10906186_3481879759731_606457808_nParenting an only? If so, you've probably heard the litany of reasons to have more children. (Haven't we all?) But there are two sides to every story, and to provide a bit of balance (and humor) to the procreation debate, I've written an essay in defense of making your kid an only. It was published this morning over at the PBS NewsHour, and I'd be awfully grateful if you gave it read.

Undoing the Santa Lie

If you have a free moment — Hahahahaha, like anyone has those anymore — head over to the PBS NewsHour site and check out my column about lying to kids about Santa. Although I think there are perfectly good reasons for doing the Santa thing and for NOT doing the Santa thing, I've got some advice for those like myself who have entered Santa territory lightly but worry a bit about the fallout when the Truth prevails. In the end, I realized that what's important isn't how parents do the whole Santa thing with their kids, but in how they undo it.

NewsHour Twitter Chat

A big thank you to the PBS NewsHour for inviting me to join last week's Twitter Chat about what works and what doesn't when it comes to celebrating holidays in multicultural or interfaith homes. I joined two other authors and NewsHour data producer Laura Santhanam, and it was a lot of rapid-fire fun. I'm told a full article on the NewsHour website is forthcoming, and will keep you posted.

New Blog: Natural Wonderers

Pack your bags, folks. We're hittin' the road. As of this week, I'll be hosting a brand-spanking-new blog over on Patheos called Natural Wonderers: Raising Curious, Compassionate Kids in a Secular Family. The idea for the blog came from Dale McGowan, who is now a managing editor there and invited me to take on the project this summer. The timing is perfect, as I've just wrapped up my book (due for release in March) and will tasked with promoting it over the next six or eight months.

The archives from this blog have already been moved over to the new digs and, at some point, I'm told, you'll be automatically diverted there whenever you try to come here. (Kind of like being forced onto one of those parking lot trams at Disneyland. You won't really have a choice.) Also, I'll be sending subscriber updates from the new blog, so try not to freak out when that happens.

I think this is going to be a great change for two main reasons:

1. Secular Parenting will get more exposure. Patheos, if you've never heard of it, a humongous network of, like, 400 blogs on all kinds of different faiths (and non-faiths.) It's often called the "WebMD of religion and spirituality." So, basically, I'm a doctor now.

2. You'll get more voices. Although I'll be hosting and running the blog — and continuing on with the work I've started here — Natural Wonderers will have lots of guest contributors, as well.  In fact, I hope that many of you will offer to write for a regular segment I'm planning to call "Bragging Rights," in which nonreligious parents will tell about how they successfully tackled a challenging issue or question arising from their lack of belief. (Please e-mail me if you're interested!)

I'm exceedingly happy about the opportunity and can't thank you all enough for supporting me these last four years. Hope to see you on the other side.

xo WTR, MD

Relax, It's Just God: Last Call!

Big news! I finished my book!

Relax, It's Just God: How and Why to Talk to Your Kids About Religion When You're Not Religious is slated for release March 31, 2015 — just in time to not be given out as Christmas gifts. What timing! I'm super excited, and grateful to all of you who have stuck with me all this time. How did four years go by? Jesus Christ. My kid is old now.

I'll be updating you as regularly as I can, but in the meantime, let this serve as last call: If you'd like something specifically to be covered in the book — or have a particularly nagging question or concern — let me know that now! It's not too late, but will be soon.