Arian Foster is a terrific running back for the Houston Texans of the National Football League (American football for you Ausländers). Last week he wrote a column for Yahoo Shine! called “Six things I’ll try to teach my daughter.”
At 23, and apparently unexpectedly, he found himself a father, and feeling clueless about how to raise his new daughter Zeniah. The article compiles six life lessons he decided to impart to her.
The first five things are somewhat conventional: how to find happiness in a tough world, the value of a dollar, the importance of loving one’s work, the importance of being kind, and what qualities to look for in a man (I presume he doesn’t think she’ll be gay). Those are bromides, but worthwhile nonetheless.
But it’s advice #6 that’s the kicker:
6. The flying spaghetti monster. There are billions of people on Earth with hundreds of religions and sects that trickle off each other. I will never tell her what to believe in. I know parents are very influential on kids’ spiritual beliefs and that can be a positive or negative thing. I can give her a basic understanding of religions when she starts showing interest and asking questions. But I will remain silent otherwise. How can I make a young mind believe this is the truth for them when they don’t yet have the capacity nor the cognitive desire to delve into something like this? If she shows interest I would advise her to fully investigate a religion and see if it fits her. And if she chooses none of the above, I’ll be fine with that as well. The values I instill in her should guide her to her decision. What’s most important, I believe, is to support her decision no matter what.
People think of football players as dim-witted but valuable pieces of meat, but Foster has far more sense than 95% of his fellow Americans. This sentence alone should be engraved on the mind of every parent:
“How can I make a young mind believe this is the truth for them when they don’t yet have the capacity nor the cognitive desire to delve into something like this?”