Thursday, December 20, 2007

A year later...

A year ago, today, the essay was written. I thought that this would be the perfect time to revisit the essay and contemplate the ripples it created.

1. The essay post generated 200+ comments.
2. I know of at least twenty people who took the time to write, over the course of the year, and share how the essay led them to atheism or, at the very least, made them scrutinize their behavior toward and stereotypes of atheism. That, in itself, is probably the greatest gift. My daughter has been taught that she has the power to affect change. That power has given her immeasurable confidence. For that, I owe thanks to the community that has supported her here.
3. It's been shared on too many sites to count AND has inspired a few youtube videos.
4. It made me get more involved with this blog and the atheist community in general. It also led Jack Jackyl to our family and we spawned the podcast.

So, in honor of the anniversary of its anniversary...I'd like to ask if it affected you? If so, please share your story.


Poodles said...

That letter and your blog were one of the things that motivated me to start my own blog and introduced me to such a wonderful, caring and motivating community.

Ron Murphy said...

Very inspiring, and a fine example. Weren't those Baptists weird though. I'd be interested to know what P1 made of them - does she read your blog?

Nice P3 post too. Ahhhh, boyhood crushes. I'm 54 and remember a crush from when I was 5-6 very vividly, except for the girl's face - remember the place, the occasion, even her dress. I don't think of it often, but, as with many deep rooted feelings it is a clear memory - though perhaps it's the feeling that's the lasting memory and not the girl herself.

I can only imagine that religious types have similar deeply embedded feelings for Christ, or whoever, created by all the positive hype and threats of damnation that some churches instill in kids; and that that makes it so difficult to give up the faith and the 'love', against all reason. Especially if it's re-enforced every Sunday. I was Church of England, so it wasn't too strong an indoctrination, but I had a Catholic female cousin of a similar age to me and I remember when we were about 12 she used to admonish me for my evolving doubt and wonder how a couldn't 'love' Christ. I swear she had a crush on him.

Berlzebub said...

Also posted on my blog:

How did Possum #1's essay affect me? The short version is that it gave me courage. I'd been an atheist for a time, before reading the essay. Reading it touched me, and gave me the courage to let others know of my non-belief. It still took some time, but I eventually was able to tell my wife of my atheism.

After reading that essay, I began following P-Momma's blog more closely. I watched the drama with He Who Shall Not Be Named unfold, and sadly shook my head when some showed their disbelief that a seventh grader could write so well. I laughed out loud at "don't bait the baptist."

Of course, P-Momma's wasn't the only blog I followed, but her daughter's essay is the first that really made me think about what I do believe. It's because of that essay that I became much more introspective about my morallity. Before I could tell others of my non-belief, I needed to better understand it myself. Ironically, it was what the teacher said to Possum #1, after her essay, that made me realize that I needed to do that.

Yes, Possum #1's essay gave me courage to examine myself, and then courage to tell the person who matters most to me of my non-belief. However, more importantly, it gave me a much more subtle gift. Through the courage she gave me, I gained something that I never actually had during my time as a believer. I'm now comfortable with who and what I am.

aimee said...

Are those you tube videos positive or are they counter active? I'm not much of a you tube surfer, so I'm a little curious, are they still up?

Her essay was actually what led me to your site and have been hooked ever since. It is just nice to see someone so young be able to get her opinion out there so intelligently. Some adults cant even do that.

Katie said...

Your daughter's essay helped me, like possibly so many others, to be more open about my atheism. It also made me more aware as an educator about pushing for more secular programs and lessons done during the month of December as well as making my co-workers aware.
I still live in an area where being an out atheist could make my life very difficult but your blog and daughter's essay have made it much easier to feel accepted and less stressful about it at least online.

Ginny said...

I've been an Atheist for awhile, so it didn't really affect me. I did thoroughly enjoy reading a young girls thought and made me feel a bit better about it being ok to raise my kids this way. Ok maybe it did affect me a bit, lol.

Joe said...

I too have been an Atheist for quite a while, as long as I can remember. What struck me about the essay was how well written it was. I was a sharp kid but not as sharp as P1.

Old Father Yule said...

Great stuff - keep up the good work. And a very merry solstice to you all!

doctorgoo said...


Several times this past year I've gone back and re-read these series of letters, including the follow-up with ofWilliam and "the incident".

It really is very inspirational... not just your daughter's essay, but your constant reponses fully of empathy and compassion in the face of rude questionings and behavior.

If you have the chance, could you write an essay (or even a book!) summarizing things looking back with one year's perspective under your belt?

I love this story in its entirety. I just find it unfortunate that your wonderful story is spread out over many blog entries, with many of the most important parts hidden deep within massive comment threads.

So how about it... ya got time to blog *and* write a book (or dare I say... a screenplay? Dakota Fanning might make for a great possum!)

But seriously... I think it would be wonderful if someone could cut/paste the appropriate posts and comments in a single, easily accessible location. (...and if such a place already exists, please point it out to me...)

But if you ever *do* decide to write a book about this saga, I promise to buy at least 2 for myself (one to read over and over again until the cover falls off, and one for my bookshelf) and several others to give out as gifts.

Anonymous said...

I think I could do that, doctorgoo. :)

I've been toying with writing a book anyway. That seems like as good a place to start as any. I do, however, need to research publishers and the process.

Anonymous said...

I, too, was atheist before having read your blog or your daugher's essay. However, her essay is definitely a shining beacon in a sea of religious crud that America seems to have become (my kids count the In God We Trust license plates around us in traffic just to depress me).

I'm going to print it out and have my kids read it. They don't believe in the myth of christianity, but her essay is well worth a read (for anyone) because not only is it a technically well-written piece, but it is also imbued with thoughtfulness and kindness that is heart-warming.

Silvia said...

Count me as another atheist (homeschooling) mom. Can you post what the youtube videos are? I'd like to see them. I found you through Lynn at Bore Me to Tears.