A framework for humanist parenting


This group is all about them as beings. Children reach a point growing up where they begin to become aware of themselves as a being and it’s at this point that you need to have a discussion about what their ‘being’ entails. You will know they are ready particularly when they begin to understand the differences between playing and having fun (their spirit), learning (their mind) and looking after themselves physically (their body). The focus in the Being group is on ensuring they look at these circles on a daily basis and they understand how each of the three Circles interact with each other. Gently and with some guidance, encourage your children to separate out these three strands of activities to ensure they enjoy activities that support each of the Circles each day. Read on and learn about each of the Circles and some of the activities to promote and encourage…


  • It almost goes without saying that the Body is a fundamental Circle. Without it there are no other Circles. You may wish to emphasise its key role here and this may lead you into discussions about safety. Either way, it’s important at this point to ensure they understand clearly the role that a healthy body plays in their daily life. Encourage your kids to treat their bodies almost as a shrine and to keep it the best shape possible. Some of the themes to pursue at this point include but are not limited to:
    • Are they eating good food?
    • Are they exercising?
    • Are they regularly brushing their teeth?
    • Are they doing something each day that maintains and improves their fitness?
    • Are they practicing good hygiene habits
  • I ask my kids each day about what they have done for their bodies and they take me through their good choices with food, brushing their teeth, washing their hands, walks and run and cycles they’ve done and so on. I encourage them to be moderate. You don’t have to run 2387 miles in a day or never eat sugar but once I explain the good and bad of various options I let them make decisions around what’s good for their bodies and what they will occasionally tolerate. This is a daily requirement.


  • This is where I promote the concept of intelligence. Again, don’t push them. Take them through the importance of being intelligent the importance of learning, the importance of reading, writing and arithmetic. Again, moderation. What are you doing each day to become and stay smart and have a healthy mind. What activities promote intelligence? What non-fiction have you read? What times table practice, what mental exercises and puzzles can you do each day for as little as 30 minutes that can help here? When I ask my kids, I get all sorts of responses from reading about something in a magazine, to reading a book about flowers to doing their homework, to learning to use a calculator and so on. This is a daily requirement.


  • This is not about religion or faith. This is about happiness and seeking out things that keep your children’s spirits high. What are they doing each day to make themselves happy, from pursuing artistic ventures, watching or reading stuff that makes you feel good and happy. Playing outside, writing a short story, playing Club Penguin, anything that simply makes your children happy. I’ve introduced my boy to James Bond, Tintin, Asterix, Wallace & Grommit, Thunderbirds, Stingray, Scooby Doo and so on. He now knows these sources of fun play a big role in one’s life and has now pursued some of his own fun making stuff. Look for stuff that is uplifting and is designed to keep them upbeat, not soap operas or violence infected cartoons that exposes kids to very adult themes which are generally less upbeat. This pursuit of fun, of course, should not come at the expense of damaging other kid’s spirits so it’s important that children learn how to have good spirit time alone and with others thereby enhancing the experience.

4 thoughts on “Being”

  1. When reading this the word ‘nourish’ comes into my mind. Nourish the mind, body, and soul. Make sure that you are nourished enough to find the joy you need to stay spirited. When children are young, we as parents take on the responsibility to nourish our children, but for me another key parenting role is to teach them to nourish themselves. Teach them to not be afraid to explore and take themselves outside of their comfort zones. “Do something that scares you everyday” is a great way approach life and enables us to seek out different kinds of nourishment for the mind, body, and soul – or spirit as you put it.

  2. Good question Rachel Ireland!! However, there are some great ideas for questions to use when speaking to your children. Good topics of conversation for around the dinner table….love it! Well done Youie

  3. Rachel Ireland

    Your kids must be experiencing an incredible upbringing with access to this generous humanist approach. Are you a stay at home Dad to have time for all this education?

    1. I’d be lying if I said I was the perfect Dad. No, I’m not a stay at home Dad but I do my best when I do have time to reinforce some of these habits and try and have fun with them too.

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