Category: Parenting



My mother, my friend,

my love until the end.

Adulthood has set in,

but do you remember when…?

 

Wonder Woman Underoos,

little kisses when I bruise,

button-up flannel shirts?

 

Poineering in the cars,

singing like we were the Stars,

sorting out rock collections?

 

Froggy’s Pad on 55 TV,

arguing when we’d disagree,

burning fingers from the peppers?

 

Learning to drive a stick,

(the laughter and the tears flowed thick),

band practice that never ends?

 

You were…

 

My inspiration when you were down,

my reason to keep coming back around,

the only person I ever found

to know me.

 

A love no greater, impossible to beat,

and now the patter of younger feet,

for the cycle continues on.

 

But, remember when…?

 

 


My five-year old daughter is smart. She’s at the top of her kindergarten class, and she is being tested for the gifted and talented program at her elementary school. Part of this is due to the broad range of beliefs and philosophies that she is exposed to both in her home and from my adult friends. I raise her with the understanding that I want her to be able to choose what she wants to believe in life. I do not want her to accept something as “truth” just because an adult tells her it is so. As a parent, I am aware that I will be faced with many instances throughout my child’s life that make me cringe because of this parenting style. Her choice in music, clothing, interests…dating… her physical injuries as well as her emotional ones. And through each and every one of them, I will be there, championing her individuality while challenging her line of thinking; bandaging her wounds while explaining to her how important it is for her to try it again. I will be involved in all that makes up who she is, for as long as she will allow it. And as much as you think you have a grasp on who your child is, what influences they are being exposed to, and how they will react to those influences, there will still be times that catch you completely off guard as a parent. Today, I had one of those experiences.

Today, when I picked up my five-year old daughter from school, she excitedly informed me that “Jesus is the reason for the season.” I was slightly taken aback. I am not a Christian. We do not preach the Bible or the biblical beliefs in our home. While very spiritual and educated on the various religions practiced world-wide, we do not typically pass along many spiritual beliefs to our five-year old, letting her merely absorb any ideas being debated and discussed as they happen and answering any questions that may arise during the process.

“Where did you hear that “Jesus is the reason for the season”, Honey?”

“From my music teacher. She said baby Jesus died for us, and we are going to celebrate his birthday,” she informs me.

“You’re celebrating Jesus’ birthday at school?”

“Yep.”

Huh…? I thought I chose to place her in a public school because she wouldn’t be exposed to religious doctrine and belief systems that I didn’t necessarily agree with or believe in. I go on to discuss with my five-year old child how many people believe many different things about Christmas, as well as many other ideas in this world. I tried to explain to her that this idea of Jesus was what her music teacher believed. She, of course, asked me what I believed. I responded with how I thought that Christmastime was a magical time because people that didn’t normally care about their fellow human beings tended to give to others in need, but that I did not believe that Jesus was the reason for the season. She was confused.

“But Mommy, my teacher said Jesus is the reason for the season.”

She was confused. She wanted to trust me, but I wasn’t her teacher. I was her Mommy. Her teacher was the person I had told her to listen to, to learn from. How could I not believe the same thing her teacher did? I continued, trying again to explain to her that some people believe one thing, and others believe something else. I told her that she was free to choose whatever she wanted to believe, but that just because she chose to believe one way or the other didn’t mean she was “right” and someone else was wrong. At the end of the conversation, she was still confused. I told her that she didn’t have to believe anything right now if she didn’t want to because she still had plenty of time to continue learning about different ideas. This seemed to help her feel less inclined to make a decision on the spot.

Now, what, if anything, should I do?

Was it appropriate for this music teacher at a public elementary school to teach my kindergartner that Jesus is the reason for the season when there were no discussions about any other religious beliefs? Is it crossing the line for me to request a discussion with the teacher, the principal, or maybe even ask for an apology from the music teacher to my daughter for sharing views and values that she had no business in sharing? Or, am I over-reacting since the beliefs being discussed were not aligned with my own? Where is the line drawn on political correctness and freedom of speech?

Would reacting in a manner more than just conversing with my child make me one of those parents?