Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Oh Lordy

So over the weekend, we noticed that Conor has been singing a new song. It's to the tune of Frere Jacques, but we didn't recognize the words in either English or French. We were hoping it was Russian since one of his teachers is from Russia--we like the idea of Conor being exposed to many different languages.

Then on Sunday, Dave swore that the first words of the song sounded like "God the Father." I thought there's no way he would be learning a song starting with God the Father at school.

Apparently, there is a way. The internets told is that this is a traditional prayer/blessing:

God the Father
God the Father
Once again
Once again
We will ask your blessings
We will ask your blessings
A-men. A-men.

In case you're wondering, Conor does not go to a religious daycare.

Ok. So on the one hand, we say blessing every night before dinner and it's way more religious than that. Second, I sort of like that they say some sort of grace before meals; it's a nice ritual to be thankful for one's food.

On. The. Other. Hand. It's a little weird to have Conor learn a prayer outside of home or a religious institution. I read that prayer and don't think it's inherently bad, but I'm of the Christian flavor and I wonder what other faiths might feel about it. If we were atheists, it would bug the snot out of me. And if I really wanted to put my ultra feminista hat on, I'd point out that since God doesn't have a wee-wee, saying "God the Father" is just another example of the patriarchiacal oppression of some organized religions and it really should be something more along the lines of "God the Parent" or "God the Mother and Father." But that would be ultra me. Not the me who wants to "fit in."

Then, this morning after singing the song, Conor said "Thank you, Jesus, for this food."

I'm going to go out on a limb here and think that at least some of you are now staring bug eyed at your computer screen much like I did at Conor.

Here's a line. There, waaaaaaaay over the line, is the phrase "Thank you, Jesus, for this food."

While I was walking around the kitchen going "Did you hear that? Did you hear that?!?!?!", Dave slunk further into his paper trying to ignore his wife who was getting more and more worked up about something that's not supposed to be offensive. To us. But we both do think it's really not appropriate.

So I emailed the director today and said that although I really appreciate the idea of saying grace before meals, I'd much prefer a more ecumenical prayer.



monicaz said...

You had a Right to Life pin dropped in your lap, your child is saying Thank You Jesus. These are very bad signs of our times. It is time to say something to the school. Unfortunately most parents won't care. They are just happy to have someone taking care of their child during the day. Last week in gym there was a 2yo with a smelly diaper. I asked the mother to change her son. She said he doesn't mind and I don't feel like changing him. It's the same story - poo in the diaper - Jesus in regular day care. Please put a stop to the Jesus thing. Someone must take a stand.

fingerstothebone said...

I am of no flavor, Christian or otherwise. I don't find acknowledging god in an abstract sense offensive, but I agree, 'God the Father' and 'Jesus' definitely cross the line for a daycare that is not affiliated with a church or religious school. Living where I live, where there are 2 mosques within 1 mile of our house and at least 3 Buddhist temples in town, I'm sure you and I would find many who support our views. Not knowing what it's like where you live, it may be a more difficult battle, but definitely worth taking on. Good luck.

Carroll said...


My thought is "That's OUTRAGEOUS!"

No way, no how, no matter what your flavor or lack thereof is that appropriate for a mainstream day care or pre-school.

In your position, I'd have steam coming out of my ears.

Jennifer said...

When we lived in NC Robin went to two different church-run daycares, not because I wanted her to, but because they were the ones that had space when we were ready to send her somewhere.

Now we live in an officially Catholic country where prayer in school (and in the government and on the radio and at social gatherings and at quilt guild meetings and, and, and...) is simply a fact of life.

So while I (who believe in God but don't share a lot of the Christian particulars regarding God) would prefer not to have my kids taught standard Christian prayers, I don't get much say in it.

As a result, while I agree with your little freak-out on a personal level, I actually live in a world where it would be considered a pretty significant overreaction.

(My own objection to it would center primarily on the "God the father" bit, by the way.)

I have been considering sending a note to my girls' school on a kind of a similar issue though.

They go to a Montessori school that offers such a positive and nurturing environment that I think it must be either ignorance or oversight that has led the girls to learn the traditional version of The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe in their English class.

You know the old woman, right? The one who had so many children she didn't know what to do. So she gave them some broth and she gave them some bread, then spanked them all soundly and sent them to bed.

Piratewench said...

I'd be fuming too. To teach Conor anything religious, without your permission, is pretty darned presumptuous. I would wonder if the school, in general, is responsible for that or if some individual is just taking it upon themselves.

OneTiredEma said...

We send Miss M to a religious pre-school. Our religion and our flavor thereof. On purpose.

If she came home from a regular day-care program with any type of religious message I'd be pretty beside myself.

Anonymous said...

I would have been upset. Very upset. Now I'm feeling all paranoid about my daughter's Montessori preschool. Although, I'd be very surprised since it has a very diverse enrollment so I doubt they'd push Jesus (or even God(dess) ) there. *crosses fingers*


Mandy said...

I am staring bug eyed at the screen! I would also discuss it with the director. We moved our son from a church-sponsored daycare to a Montessori preschool for many reasons, one of which was precisely because I did not want to hear my son singing Christian songs one day. We are not particularly religious, and definitely not Christians, so I would freak right the f*ck out. I'm sure Conor's teacher meant no harm, but still. I live in Texas so I know how it is when people assume their brand of religion is the status quo. Religion is such a personal issue, and people forget that a sweet song isn't as innocuous as it sounds, and definitely "thank you Jesus" is hard to ignore. Our son's school is very diverse in terms of nationalities and religions, so something like this would be very offensive to some of the families.