So my 2nd grader looks at me very seriously the other day and says, "Mommy, practically everyone in my class believes in God!" To which I replied, "Wow, who says that public school has taken God out of the classroom!" Actually I didn't say that but I thought it. We talked about what Mommy believes in and what Daddy believes in and why we have given our children the choice to choose for themselves whether they want to believe in Gods or in something else. Thankfully our oldest child is thoughtful and rational and so explaining something as intangible as God is something she can process without too much frustration or confusion. After explaining that she could make her own choice about all the things I had explained to her she replied, "But Mommy, if everyone else believes in God I want to believe in God too, because I don't want to be the only one that is different." Hmmmm
I heard a story on my favorite news program, This American Life about the after effects of September 11, 2001 and what that experience was like for some Americans. It was a very touching program but the one that touched me the most was how Muslims in this country were singled out and forced to endure ridicule, tormenting and name calling and how the hardest hit were children in school. The program mixes interviews and narrative and they interviewed a young girl who was 8 years old at the time of the towers coming down and how afterward in the Midwest town she lived in she was tormented at school to the point where she stopped eating, got sleep disorders and had skin problems. The tormenting continued to the point where her parents were forced to withdraw her from school and keep her at home for her education. She is now 17 years old but she feels like her fellow Americans turned on her and rejected her and held her accountable for something she had no control over.
Lastly, my niece had a good playmate when she was 10 years old. She only has so many kids to play with in her town as she lives rurally and there is a 45 minute car ride to the nearest town or gas station. She really enjoyed the company of her friend and looked forward to play dates as any 10 year old girl would. And then one day the friend told her that her adoptive parents had told her that since the 10 year old took ballet lessons and dancing is a sin, that they didn't think she was a positive influence on their child and so the play dates should stop. My niece didn't realize that she was being asked to make a moral decision regarding her eternal salvation, to her it was just a choice between dancing or her best friend. Naturally she picked what any 10 year old girl would pick, she picked the play dates with her friend. When I asked her 4 years later why she gave up dancing she looked like she was going to cry and she said that she was pressured into it. She said the sad thing was that she was no longer best friends with that girl, and that made me want to cry too.
These three stories can be tied together or these stories can stand alone. Just 3 little (but very big) stories to take you into the weekend.