In the Beginning: Sharing Creation Stories With My Kids

Over the last few months, my daughters and I have snuggled up together under blankets to read our latest bedtime stories from an anthology called “In the Beginning: Creation Stories from Around the World.”

5375620635_8bca6b05af_oLike a good humanist Mom, I wanted to make sure my girls knew all about various religious traditions rather than being indoctrinated into a specific viewpoint. I wanted to make sure all religious myths were given equal footing in their lives rather than hearing only stories from Genesis. I wanted to make sure they saw the rich tapestry of beliefs that make up the cultures of our world rather than think one particular story was “divine.” I wanted a cozy yet educational experience with lots of reflection and deep thinking.

What I got instead? Two young girls doubled up laughing!

It started with the very first story, the very first page. “The Pea Pod Man” is an Eskimo myth about a trickster raven god. Here is how it went.

Me (reading): “Time was, there were no people on Earth. The first man still lay inside the pea pod.”

8 year old (giggling): WHAT? Like, inside a bean??

Me: Yuimagep!

And it continued through the second story, “Quat the Creator,” a myth about a sun god who creates humans from wooden puppets.

Me (reading): “The brothers were all named Tangaro, but–”

6 year old (interrupting): They all had the same name?!

[Pause for 10 minutes of laughing.]

Me (reading, a bit later when Tangaro the Fool had created, buried, then forgotten his own wooden puppets): “What he found there had rotted. He was forced to leave his puppets buried, they smelled so bad.”

Girls: Hahahahahahaha!!

At this point, I admit I was chuckling along with them and by the time we got to Tawis-karong beating up his brother with a bag full of corn and beans in “The Woman Who Fell From the Sky,” we were just howling at all the ludicrous things in these stories!

Should I discourage the laughing? Maybe. Am I worried that they’ll laugh when they hear others share their Judeo-Christian creation stories? A little. But frankly, I’m glad they recognize the ridiculousness and rather relieved they aren’t prone to falling for the fiction. At least not yet. And we have some time to work on polite but truthful responses to religious traditions that won’t offend. Or won’t offend as much.

 

Source:

Hamilton, V., & Moser, B. (1988). In the beginning: Creation stories from around the world. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Photo Credit:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/horrigans

Corrina

Corrina

Corrina is a wife, mom, teacher, and humanist. She lives in Central New York with her writer husband and their two young daughters. She is the current President of the CNY Humanist Association (www.cnyhumanists.org) and Coordinator of the CNY Coalition of Reason. She also writes for Secular Voices. In her off time, she loves to read, play Scrabble, crochet, and binge-watch shows on Netflix.

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  • Colleen Shelley Markham

    I read the same book with my girls for the same reasons when they were younger. Similarly, we also chuckled at the crazy, supernatural creation myths. My children are older now, and they don’t laugh when others profess belief in supernatural creation stories; but, thanks in part to experiences like reading about many different cultures’ supernatural myths, they are able to view all of them with an educated, enlightened viewpoint. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Humanist, atheist people like us are in the minority, and it’s good for me and my girls to read about others who live and think similarly.

    • Corrina Allen

      Hi Colleen – an educated, enlightened viewpoint is exactly what I’m hoping for with my daughters. Since your kids are older, do you have any other book recommendations that we should check out?

      • Colleen Shelley Markham

        Yes, here’s a link to children’s books about evolution and Charles Darwin for kids of all ages and stages, even adults. It’s a comprehensive listing with book summaries and reviews. We’ve enjoyed a lot of these. Happy reading! http://www.charliesplayhouse.com/downloads/books-on-evolution.pdf