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What Would YOU Do?


Forum: Atheist and Agnostic Parenting

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  #1  
August 19th, 2010, 08:46 AM
no.absolutes's Avatar absolutelyNOT
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Ok, so Grayson started the More@4 program this year. It is a state funded program to help with school readiness. This is great and I am so excited for him to have this opportunity. Anyways - my nephew went last year and I have a few concerns.

1) The facility is in a church's daycare. I can deal with that.

2) I have been told they pray at meals, but with no mention of "God" - I can deal with that.

3) I think they do a Christmas play at the church on a Sunday around Christmas. Should I just suck it up and let Grayson participate, or should I ask that he not participate? To me, it is just a "fairy tale" with a bad ending...

4) When the kids "graduate" from More@4, their graduation ceremony (at least last year) was held on Sunday at the church and was held in between sermons, meaning you HAD to be at the church for the service to see the graduation. I am totally not cool with that...

... but are these things I should suck up and accept? I live in the South and I have a feeling that "God" is "everywhere"... but as a parent, do I have the right to withdraw my child because it is not within our beliefs?


This seems really silly... I mean, it is just More@4, but next year it will be Elementary School... and so on and so forth.
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  #2  
August 19th, 2010, 01:57 PM
K.A.T's Avatar Enjoying her Sticky Bun
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Hmmmm. Ya know maybe, the right thing to do for your son, is to suck it up and deal. Look at it from his perspective. Will he understand that you're pulling him out of the holiday play and graduation because you don't have that same belief system? Or will he just feel left out and different from the other children? No one knows your child better than you, so just try to imagine how he would feel if you didn't allow him to participate in either event. Then go from there.
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  #3  
August 19th, 2010, 03:28 PM
Wildfire37's Avatar Regular
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I'm not sure. I wouldn't like it either. But I don't think that it would have too much impact at his age. I'm not sure if I would do the play. But the graduation ceremony...maybe you could just see what time they'll have the graduation and ONLY come for that and then leave? That might work, so that he can still take part in the whole graduation experience but won't have to be at the service.
Then again, the play and the graduation might not even be a big deal to him. I guess just try to see how you think he'd feel about it.
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  #4  
August 19th, 2010, 04:54 PM
tiredmom's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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I think I'd do everything except the graduation. Graduations at this age are kind of silly anyhow.
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  #5  
August 19th, 2010, 08:55 PM
no.absolutes's Avatar absolutelyNOT
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Yeah, DH thinks I over react a little bit, but I was raised Jewish in the Bible Belt, so I know all about how crappy religious differences is.. That said, I'm not going to just convert to Christianity for that. Honestly, I think I feel more ok with the Graduation (it is broken up into two parts and the sermon is in the middle so I think we could leave and come back)... but the play... I don't think I will let him participate in that. I'm sure my thoughts will change as it comes closer, and DH will probably just want me to go with the flow and not be a pain in the butt... It is totally frustrating, though... thinking about it. I wish I lived somewhere more carefree.


Just wanted to add - this is a STATE funded program, are they even ALLOWED to do a Christmas play about Jesus and pray and and have graduation in a church.... I mean, I guess they can, the daycare is part of the church... blah.
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Last edited by no.absolutes; August 19th, 2010 at 08:58 PM.
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  #6  
August 19th, 2010, 09:06 PM
Zanahoria's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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What exactly is the play about? Is it a Santa Claus type thing, or the Nativity? I agree with K.A.T. How would this look from your son's perspective?

I'm SOOOOO glad I found a "non-sectarian" (as they put it) preschool because of issues like this (ironically, run by a Jewish Synagogue). They were literally the ONLY school in the area that I could find that wasn't run by a Christian church and/or clearly states that religious instruction is best left to the parents. The only religious requirement is that we not send pork or shellfish in our kids' snacks, which I don't mind one bit.

In talking with the members of my local atheist meetup group, it seems that finding nonreligious schools that also offer a decent education is one of the toughest problems that atheists in the bible belt face. It really is hard, and I feel like we REALLY lucked out with the synagogue right up the street. If it hadn't been for that one school, I don't know what I'd have done.
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  #7  
August 19th, 2010, 09:55 PM
no.absolutes's Avatar absolutelyNOT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zanahoria View Post
What exactly is the play about? Is it a Santa Claus type thing, or the Nativity? I agree with K.A.T. How would this look from your son's perspective?

In talking with the members of my local atheist meetup group, it seems that finding nonreligious schools that also offer a decent education is one of the toughest problems that atheists in the bible belt face.
From Grayson's perspective... I honestly don't think he cares. We actually took him to vacation bible school this year at a local church because his cousins went blah blah and we got pushed into it. He kicked and screamed about it the whole time... I honestly don't think he'll care. I think I may be more concerned with what everyone else thinks? Also - I think it is a Nativity play - I'm ok with Santa Claus and stuff... but the whole away in a manager crap... I'll pass.

Amen on the bible belt part.... I don't know if it's possible without either A) Lots of money or B) Moving lol
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  #8  
August 19th, 2010, 10:31 PM
Zanahoria's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by no.absolutes View Post
Amen on the bible belt part.... I don't know if it's possible without either A) Lots of money or B) Moving lol
Yeah, we pay $270 a month for his school, plus $175 in registration fees, and some other little fees here and there. It's A LOT. But well worth it IMO.
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  #9  
August 20th, 2010, 07:26 AM
no.absolutes's Avatar absolutelyNOT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zanahoria View Post
Yeah, we pay $270 a month for his school, plus $175 in registration fees, and some other little fees here and there. It's A LOT. But well worth it IMO.
Definitely worth it, and if we had it to pay, I definitely would... We, however, have the worst financial situation ever, so public schools it is.
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  #10  
August 20th, 2010, 08:54 AM
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I don't see a problem exposing your son to ideas that you may not agree with (politics, religion, etc.).

If I'm blessed with a child then I (along with society, his peers, etc.) will be exposing him to ideas that I may not necessarily agree with. My goal is to raise an open-minded child who thinks for themselves, not to indoctrinate him into seeing the world they way I do. I was indoctrinated as a child and I am still dealing with the effects of that indoctrination. I refuse to do that to any child of mine. The greatest influence on a child is their parents since the parents are the authority figure that the child trusts.

Quote:
I think I'd do everything except the graduation. Graduations at this age are kind of silly anyhow.
LOL That reminds me of the movie The Incredibles! I think Mr. Incredible had a valid point.
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  #11  
August 20th, 2010, 12:31 PM
no.absolutes's Avatar absolutelyNOT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IntotheSun View Post
I don't see a problem exposing your son to ideas that you may not agree with (politics, religion, etc.).
Right right, totally, we're all about acceptance and tolerance and making our own decisions, but parenting is still a role to be played and whether everyone admits it or not, we all have prejudices that will be passed onto our child (even subtle things, like which milk we drink or cartoon channel we watch). I would never hold Grayson back from doing something that he wants to do - when he is at the age that he can decide for himself. Like I said, he did VBS this year, and kicked and screamed and did not want to be there, did not sing the songs, whatever... Seems no different from a Nativity play, and I'd rather save him (and the school and myself) that stress. It's JUST preschool, not like a required elective for high school or something.

What is a good age to let him make his own decisions? I'd say when we decide that he is old enough to visit a school friend's house without mommy and daddy, then he can make up his mind about extracurricular activities. Besides, he gets lots of exposure from grandma and aunt/uncle without me making sure he is exposed. It's hard to be exposed to a variety of things when you live somewhere where there is only "one true way"
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  #12  
August 20th, 2010, 09:00 PM
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If the play is definitely centered around Jesus and nativity, I would have an issue with it. I'm not sure I would ban my kid from participating though... I would probably ask him/her if they wanted to participate- and if they said yes I would explain what the play will be about but also encourage them to question the story and think about it before blindly accepting it to be the truth.
The graduation I don't see a problem with as long as the graduation itself is not religious. I know you will be at the church and have to sit through the sermon (why not just show up a few minutes before the in between sermons though?) but I can see how that would be easier for the church to organize than an entire separate event.
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