Herbietown - The South After 10 Days

The South After 10 Days

A lot of people have asked me for my general impression of living in the South so far. After 10 days, I can’t say that I have anything too exciting to report.  People are super nice and welcoming, the traffic isn’t as bad as I feared, and money goes a lot further.

But there are some trouble spots for me. The most acute ones are around guns and religion. They got ’em, I don’t. No one has pushed it on me too strongly but it’s subtly woven into the culture.

Take yesterday, for instance. It was Charlie’s 4th birthday. We took him to Legoland with his cousins. Legoland is like an interactive museum for kids, with rides, games, workshops and a 4D movie theater. It’s perfect for young children. Well, almost perfect.


When you first walk in to Legoland, you can go right or left. To the right is a miniature representation of famous landmarks in Atlanta, entirely built out of Legos. It is really cool and definitely worth seeing.

legolandgunsTo the left is a ride. I expected something like the ‘It’s a Small World’ ride at Disney world. You know, you lean back and listen to some cheesy kid’s music and marvel at stuff made out of Legos.

But no, this is Georgia. In Georgia, it’s a first person shooter game. No joke. 4 and 5 year old kids load up in a little car, grab their laser guns, and try to shoot as many things as possible. Every thing you see is a target, and the more stuff you shoot, the more points you get.

I got 6,250 points. Greta got 6,900 points. My boys got about 250 points each. Losing to my wife was embarrassing enough, until I saw the father/son combo behind us. The father got over 30,000 points and the son, who was maybe 6 years old, got over 12,000. They saw their scores, high-fived each other and got back in the line to do it again. Yee-haw!

Shooting stuff is definitely fun, but in the age of mass killings in schools, I’m not sure I want my children playing with guns at Legoland.

Cartoon JesusI also don’t want them learning fairy tales about Jesus in preschool. Most of the preschools are connected to churches down here. I find it bizarre, though obviously I see the benefit for the churches. Get ’em while they’re young and all that.  I also see the benefit for religious parents.  They want to instill the same beliefs and values in their children.

I’m totally fine with that, I just wish there were more choices for us non-religious parents.

I want my children to learn about all religions, eventually, when they are old enough to make up their minds for themselves. Teaching them about one religion at such an early age seems like it would be counterproductive and confusing.

Though I had a different reaction when I heard about a Jewish preschool in the area. Greta told me about it and I immediately got excited. For some reason, I think I’m OK with a Jewish preschool. I don’t worry about an overdose of religious teachings. How’s that for hypocrisy?

I think we’re going to like it here.  Just need to find our niche.