Author Archives: Kama

Dale McGowan on He’s an Atheist, She’s a Christian…But What Are the Children?

Photo of Dale McGowan, author of In Faith and In DoubtThe following is a guest post from Dale McGowan, author of In Faith and In Doubt: How Religious Believers and Nonbelievers Can Create Strong Marriages and Loving Families.

After telling someone else about their religious differences, most mixed-belief couples know what’s coming next: “But then . . . what are the children?”

It’s a sensible question. For most of human history, a family’s religious identity has been assigned to the children of the family at birth. And because same-religion marriage has been the overwhelming norm—Catholics married Catholics, Hindus married Hindus, and so on—there’s been little reason to wonder about other options.

But more than twice as many new couples are mixed-belief today as in the 1950s, so the question of a child’s religious identity has come to the fore. Many of these couples choose to raise their children in one faith or the other, or to practice a kind of Star-of-David-atop-the-Christmas-tree hybrid. It’s challenging, but many couples make it work.

But what happens when one partner is nonreligious, as one in five Americans currently are? At least Jewish and Christian partners have God in common. Can you really bridge the gap between God and not-God—especially when it comes to the children?

For a growing number of secular/religious couples, the answer is yes. The key is realizing that a religious label is most meaningful when it is freely chosen. To help ensure that their children receive that gift of autonomy, secular/religious parents often preserve space around their children to breathe and think and explore ideas without wearing a label at all, religious or irreligious.

The idea of raising a child with no specific worldview label is as confusing to some people as raising a child without a name. But it shouldn’t be. Referring to a child as “a Catholic child” or “an atheist child” should sound as silly to us as saying “a Marxist child” or “a Republican child.” All of these labels represent complex perspectives that they cannot yet claim to have examined and chosen freely. Until they can, there’s no need to force the issue.

This doesn’t mean our kids shouldn’t engage in religious practices or belief. It means the exact opposite. Erecting a wall between the child and all religious experience isn’t necessary or good. In fact, closing children off from these experiences can violate their autonomy just as much as restricting them to a single fragment of religious opinion. This issue is about resisting the urge to place a complex worldview label on a child before she is ready for it. She can go to church or Sunday school, read the Bible, and pray without being called a Christian, Muslim, or Jew, just as she can challenge religious ideas, debate religious friends, and read The God Delusion without being an atheist.

A child with one religious and one nonreligious parent is in a uniquely lucky position to do all of these things–learn religious concepts and challenge them, engage in religious practices and wonder if they are meaningful, pray and question whether her prayers are heard.

Some kids raised this way end up choosing a religious identity; others choose a nonreligious one. In both cases, the individual receives the gift of genuine autonomy in a major life decision. And in neither case does the child have to go through the guilty turmoil of deciding whether to accept or reject a label placed on him by his loving parents.

Secular/nonreligious partners are in the ideal situation to facilitate this open process. Both parents can and should wear their own identities proudly, even as they point to each other for alternate points of view. Both should share the experience of their perspective, then say, “Here’s what I believe with all my heart, it’s very important to me and I think it’s true, but these are things each person has to decide for herself, and I want you to talk to people who have different beliefs so you can make up your own mind. You can change your mind a thousand times. There’s no penalty for getting it wrong, and I will love you no less if you end up believing differently from me.”

Jacket image, In Faith and In Doubt by Dale McGowanImagine kids growing up with that invitation to engage the most profound questions of all freely and without fear. Well a growing number of parents, including many who are partnered across the widest belief gap of all, don’t have to imagine it—they’re doing it today.

Dale McGowan is the author of Parenting Beyond Belief, Raising Freethinkers, and Atheism for Dummies. He is also founding Executive Director of Foundation Beyond Belief, an organization that facilitates charitable giving and volunteering in the nonreligious community. In 2008, Dale was named Harvard Humanist of the Year for his work in nonreligious parenting. He lives with his wife and kids near Atlanta.

 

 

Podcast: Paul Brown on Owning Your Future

Photo of Paul Brown, author of Own Your FutureVersatile and always learning from their mistakes, entrepreneurs can adapt to the toughest economy. Paul Brown, author of Own Your Future: How to Thrive Like an Entrepreneur and Thrive in an Unpredictable Economy  talks about ways employees can use an entrepreneurial mindset to update their skills and stay relevant in the changing workplace  with the AMA Edgewise team on a recent podcast.

 Paul B Brown, author of Own Your Future: How to Think Like an Entrepreneur and Thrive in an Unpredictable Economy, published by AMACOM, argues that in order to be successful in any business one must think like an entrepreneur. You don’t have to quit your job and start a new business, but you do have to start thinking of owning your own future—become more entrepreneurial in your thoughts and actions. Brown stresses that these actions must be in the form of small steps, like a birdhouse builder selling at a local craft fair on the weekends before considering opening up a store. You learn from it, build upon it, and then repeat again. This way, Brown assures, you’ll be able to control your future.

Jacket image, Own Your Future by Paul BrownListen to Paul Brown on the AMA Edgewise Podcast.

Paul Brown is a long-time contributor to the New York Times and a former writer and editor for BusinessWeek.

Listen to more interviews with AMACOM authors on the AMA Edgewise Podcast.

A Day in the Life of a Publicity & Social Media Manager – Part 2

Read Part 1 here.

1:30 p.m.
My colleagues in the Publicity Department have been monitoring our social media accounts throughout the day, so I haven’t been stressed about not getting on until now. As I eat soup and salad at my desk, I roll through Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn, checking to see if we have any questions, comments, likes, +1s, or favorites. I look through our streams and newsfeeds to see what others are talking about in business and publishing. Everything seems under control, and I don’t see any hashtags to participate in today. I’m a little disappointed because those can be a lot of fun.

2 p.m.
I reopen that galley letter from earlier, and read through it again. I make some tweaks and then close it. I’ll give it another read tomorrow before printing copies.

2:30 p.m.
I begin building a list of editors at monthly magazines and publishing trades to send bound galleys to.

3:15 p.m.
I open up another media list in our database for a book that is publishing in about four months. It’s time to do some follow-up to the magazines I sent bound galleys to. I craft individualized emails to the editors and writers, highlighting angles and information that would be especially relevant to their audience. I opt to call two writers I have especially strong relationships with, but get voice mail.

4 p.m.
An editor emails a response to my pitch, and says she wants to schedule an interview with the author next week! I quickly coordinate with the author and schedule the interview.

4:30 p.m.
It’s back to my inbox. Though I monitor it all day for media requests, I try to limit the time I spend responding to all other emails to a couple of chunks of time each day. Right now I answer some emails from authors and outside publicists. I see that a media update has been sent by a publicist an author hired to supplement AMACOM’s efforts. I note that since last week several radio programs have been scheduled, two blogs have requested and received a guest post, and an interview has been lined up with a writer at Forbes.com. I incorporate this information in to the overall publicity update for the book I’ll later send to marketing, sales, and editorial.

5 p.m.
After a long day, I’m happy to head out the door to go home.

7 p.m.
A publicist’s job doesn’t end when she leaves the office. Lately I’ve been watching a lot of Al Jazeera America, and want to watch more Real Money with Ali Velshi to get a better sense of the program’s focus and audience. I watch for about 10 minutes, but then dinner is ready and I decide to record the rest of the show to watch later.

9 p.m.
Now that dinner clean up is done, and I’ve enjoyed some down time, I turn on the DVR to watch the rest of Real Money.

9:30 p.m.
I turn off the TV, and my work day is officially over!

Related Posts:
Introducing AMACOM…Kama
How to Make Your Book Publicist Love You

 

A Day in the Life of a Publicity & Social Media Manager – Part 1

6 a.m.
Well before my alarm rings, my eyes are wide open. I tend to be an earlier riser, which can be helpful if your job includes being on top of the news of the day. Over a cup of coffee, I turn on my Nexus tablet and begin scanning headlines on The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times apps.

6:15 a.m.
By now my laptop is powered up, and I’ve switched over to a browser there to look through my Feedly account. I scan through publishing, social media marketing, SEO, journalism, and some business blogs. I find several articles that would be of interest to AMACOM’s Twitter followers, and schedule posts through Hootsuite. I also find a couple articles I’d like to post to my own Twitter account, and schedule those through Buffer.

6:45 a.m.
I’ve switched over to my personal email and am scanning top stories from the previous day from a number of publicity, social media, and media focused blogs I’ve opted to get daily emails from. I meant to read these yesterday, but didn’t get to it.

7:00 a.m.
My clock radio turns on, and I listen to NPR’s Morning Edition as I look at a weather app on my phone before deciding what to wear.

7:25 a.m.
I look at my work iPhone to check email and see if there’s anything that will need my immediate attention at the office. Today there’s nothing urgent, just the usual requests for books, a routine question from an author about his website, and a few newsletters I did not sign-up for. I keep the newsletters to mark as spam when I get in to the office.

7:45 a.m.
Breakfast is waffles slathered with peanut butter and honey drizzled on top and a mango. I turn off the radio and turn on the TV to watch (or rather, listen) to a bit of morning TV before I head in to the office. Though my preference is to listen to radio in the mornings, as a publicist I need to be familiar with the different network and cable channel programs. Today CBS This Morning wins.

Photo of New York City subway station.

Platforms are never this empty during rush hour. Photo credit: Edward Blake on Flickr.

8:15 a.m. I’m out the door to catch a bus to the train. If I’m lucky enough to get a seat on the bus, I’ll read a book for the 15 minute bus ride. Nuts! It’s packed to the gills today. Why? School is out for the summer! I spend 15 minutes clinging to a pole and standing uncomfortably close to other bus riders. Rinse and repeat as I transfer to the subway.

9:10 a.m.
I’m at the office and log on to Facebook. I’m prompted to change to a new design for AMACOM’s Facebook page. I see that we’ll be switched over automatically in another two weeks, so I figure why not? Immediately after switching it’s clear the cover photo our Creative Director just made for the new season no longer works. I send an email asking for a redesign of the cover photo.

9:30 a.m.
I head in to the monthly production meeting. We go over all the titles currently in production, and I keep an eye out to make sure I’m clear on when galleys are expected in, when books will be done at the printer, and see if anything has slipped. Everything seems on schedule.

10:30 a.m.
I tackle my inbox. I reply to some author questions, mark those spammy emails, and get back to a magazine editor about an excerpt.

11 a.m.
I pull out a galley that arrived a day earlier. I read through the Author Questionnaire, sales kit, author website, and catalog copy before taking a dive in to the book. After that, I spend about 30 minutes writing and revising a letter to magazine editors.

12:15 p.m.
Lunch is the gym. For the next 45 minutes I’m all about compound exercises as I squat, crunch, curl, and press my way to a stronger body.

Come back tomorrow, to read the exciting conclusion to A Day in the Life of a Publicity & Social Media Manager!

Related Posts:
Introducing AMACOM…Kama
How to Make Your Book Publicist Love You

 

Sneak Peek: AMACOM’s Fall 2014 Catalog

Image of AMACOM Books Fall 2014 Catalog CoverIn these lazy days of summer, it’s hard to imagine that the leaves will soon be turning, and snow isn’t too far off after that. But, with a new fall/winter catalog online full of great AMACOM Books coming out in only a few months, can’t help but be excited for the change of seasons.

Here are some of the  fall and winter books we can’t wait to get in stores and on your shelves:

Lead with Humility: 12 Leadership Lessons from Pope Francis by Jeffrey A. Krames

Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead by Rob-Jan de Jong

Home for Dinner: Mixing Food, Fun, and Conversation for a Happier Family and Healthier Kids by Dr. Anne K. Fishel

Fail Fast or Win Big: The Start-Up Plan for Starting Now by Bernhard Schroeder

The Brian Tracy Success Library: Creativity & Problem-Solving and Sales Success
Tell us what you think in the comments!

Jacket image, Lead with Humility by Jeffrey A. Krames

Jacket image, Anticipate by Rob-Jan De JongJacket image, Home for Dinner by Anne K. Fishel

Jacket image, Fail Fast or Win Big by Bernhard SchroederJacket image, Brian Tracy Success Library, Sales Success

Jacket image, Brian Tracy Success Library, Creativity & Problem Solving