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This is a subject that I am flabbergasted by.

You atheists would seriously just let your grown children stay in the house if they refused to get a job?

Where's the incentive for them to work then? lol

Telling your children, "I know you are 25 years old now, but since you are refusing to get a job, that's fine. I would never kick you out. You're too important to me." This hypothetical parent has just given his children a free license to mooch off of them forever.

How is that good?

 Imagine him telling his friends, "My dad isn't making me work and he's not kicking me out! I have such an awesome life!"

Compare that to a parent who says, "if you don't have a job by the time you're 25, you're out of here." This child would shape up real quick!

Golly.  You know, my atheist parents never kicked me out.  And there are a few reasons for that.

First of all, they loved me and respected me, and my well-being was paramount to them.

Secondly, they had instilled in me, from early childhood, a love of learning, and a love of accomplishment.  I grew up watching them enjoying their challenging careers, and I fantasized about the rewarding career I would have one day.  And then I pursued education and opportunities that led me to that rewarding career.  They also fulfilled my financial "needs" as a teenager.  But I always earned my fun money, working in the local mall.  And I always understood that my personal budget would some day include not only fun stuff, but my basic needs. 

And thirdly, I finished my undergrad in a different era.  I got a job that I loved within a couple of months of graduation.  And before that, I did some random jobs, and a little freelance journalism.  It was a sort of scary time.  For months, I didn't earn enough money to pay my basic bills, even though they were modest.  My parents helped me out a bit.  But I found a good job fairly quickly.

And years later, when I returned from three years of living and working with Central American refugees living in Mexico, I arrived in the US broke.  I moved in with mom and dad, and was lucky enough to get a job that paid fairly well.  Saved up, and started grad school.  And within a couple of years, the job that had started out as a part time gig while I was in grad school, turned into an opportunity for me to create and build a program for immigrants and refugees here in NYC.  And I'm still there. 

Today's young people graduate in a very different work environment.  Not many people graduate and find a job that will pay their bills within a couple of months.  A lot of young people graduate from college, and have no choice but to return to their parents' homes.

I hope my daughter comes of age in a different economy.  She is bright and driven, and has many innate skills.  I hope she gets a fabulous education, and I hope that she is able to settle into a career that she finds rewarding. 

But as an atheist mom, second generation, I hope to inspire my daughter to strive and accomplish.  I imagine her as an astrophysicist, but she could go into biology as well.  Or engineering.  Right now, at age 7, she says she wants to be an entomologist.  Or a chess teacher.  She loves her chess teacher. She has a strong scientific mind, but also a very artistic, creative mind.  I don't think that she will go into the human services, like I did.  I make sure she knows about the lives of the women she knows.  The architects and the lawyers and the waitresses and the professors and the data entry clerks and the retail employees.  What kinds of skills, education, personality, makes someone successful in their work?  Who loves their jobs?  Who is proud of their accomplishments?   Who is satisfied?  Who is frustrated?  And why?   

If I do my job as a parent well, I will not every have to "make her work."  I hope to inspire her to work.  As my parents inspired me.  To contribute to society. To create something.  To discover something.  To make a difference.  I want her to make a good living.  And I hope that she will never be greedy.  That she will never feel entitled.  That she will understand that none of us live in a silo, and that everything we do impacts on the world around us.  That she will take pride in her accomplishments, and that she will treat everyone around her with respect.   

I hope she pursues a career that she loves.  But if she decides to work as a night clerk at a parking garage so that she can use her free time to paint pictures of wild ducks, I will be thrilled that she is pursing her love of duck painting, and that she has created a life for herself in which that is possible.  I love her.  And I want her to be happy.   

But if she finds herself trying to enter a job market like the one that young people are facing today, and if she is struggling, then she is welcome in my home as long into adulthood as she needs to be here. 

That is just a small portrait of my atheist values.  Second generation atheist values. 

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