Friday, March 22, 2013

nails and thieves

warning:  this post will be about the dreaded topic of religion.
proceed at your own risk. 

the bean has been going to a church preschool since she was 2.  down here in the south, unless you shell out the big dough for montessori preschool, then church it is.  back then, she went 1 morning a week.  last year was 3 mornings & this year is 4.

The Mr. and i are not religious.  and i personally have struggled with the concept of religion and what i believe (or not) since i was in college.  when we had the bean, we decided we would forgo our comfortableness & one day bring her to church.  we understand that we live in a religious area.  99% of her friends growing up will definitely be believers.  many of them will be avid.
we want her to have an understanding about the world she lives in.

but more importantly, we want her to be accepting of the world she lives in.  accepting of everyone.  religious or not.  ultimately, we want her to be a compassionate & good person.  and i have seen first hand in some of my "very faithfully catholic" family that religion is not a guarantee of that.

all this to set up this upcoming holiday around the religious preschool she attends.
i understand that obviously, she will learn about God & Jesus.  and this kid seriously asks us some deep huge questions (already!).  we are glad that she knows about them, and "loves" them in her capacity.
incidentally, growing up, i remember listening to 2 albums-- Music Machine & Bullfrogs 'n Butterflies.  i bought these for the bean last year, and she plays them most times during her rest time.  she loves them! (as did i!...... quite catchy, those tunes-godlike and all.)

i understand that easter is 90% about Jesus.  i've said before that christmas can be important both because of jesus, and the spirit of the season.  but with easter, i've always been confused.

i have no problems with the bean learning about Jesus and his birth, and even his death- as long as it is all done appropriately.  but i see no reason in bringing in some of the gory details when it does nothing to serve a 3 or 4 year old in their understanding/accepting of Jesus' love.  (which, is kinda the point at this age, right?  an introduction in this belief, and an openness to becoming christian as she gets older)

last year, i was pretty confused as to how her school handled some of the easter story.
i wasn't offended.  but honestly confused.  one day, out of the blue, she asked me what "thieves" were.  i explained it to her and realized that in telling the story about Jesus' death, they mentioned the 2 others on the crosses next to him.  in fact, she came home with a "craft" that was nothing more than gluing 3 crosses on a paper.  (in itself was pointless) and explained to me the other crosses were for the thieves.
which, what??   what does that have to do with the reason for the holiday?  a simple "Jesus loved us and died for our sins" mantra would have sufficed for a 3 year old. right?

well, this year it got better.  she brought home a paper with a few tidbits of information, which she put some christian-y stickers on.  (again- pointless).  and on that paper is the short story of the reason for easter.  not forgetting that "Jesus wore a crown of thorns and the soldiers used nails to hang him on the cross to die"
really??  was that the best word choice?  you couldn't just get to the whole "Jesus loved us and died for our sins and three days later rose again"??
you had to be gory? 
which, in my opinion can hold value for christians.  to learn of the suffering and humiliation involved. so people can grasp the severity of the situation.  and realize the scope of his love.  i can understand that.  (don't people still suffer and get humiliated?  it's relatable) but i can understand that as a child gets older.  maybe around 8.  where in the catholic church, teachings get more involved as they prepare for first communion. (which you need to understand in order to get the full effect of the catholic communion).
8 year olds have a certain maturity to them. (here is another take on an 8 year old in the Mormon/LDS church)
and if that's not the magic age.... i beg to differ that four is it.

so many concerns and questions i have in regards to religion and raising our daughter.
it is something The Mr. and i discuss.  and of course- it's personal and different for everyone.
so please understand it's not the underlying issue i have issue with.  it's the details that i just think have been shared a little too needlessly to the too young.

and rant is now over.

1 comment:

Pregnantly Plump said...

Oh, I completely understand your issue. That's way too much for a 4-year-old! Don't they worry about nightmares? I know some kids are very impressionable, and get them. And I get the deep questions from Little Elvis. I had to try to explain souls the other day. Bob NEVER gets these, just me. I also get asked about how tall God is. Is 8 a good age? I'm nervous about those questions. Not so much about our answers, but about Little Elvis going and telling our thoughts to others. Our area is probably very similar to yours.