Christmas in the Public Schools
What to do with the Christmas Songs?
We are hearing a lot more about how public schools are no longer allowed to sing "Christmas Songs". It seems ridiculous that Christmas would be taken away and some generic "holiday" put in its place. What does "holiday" teach our children? It's covert, almost like lying. Let's all party for the "holidays", but don't talk about what you "REALLY" do.
I think we all would like to believe that school is a place for education. Instead of turning away from important topics, it would benefit the children to add to them instead. A holiday program could contain education about all the holidays. Just imagine the beauty of a Winter Solstice Party with children celebrating all of the traditions. Everyone would learn something and knowledge is power. What is being learned from shoveling stuff under a rug and playing "holiday" music?
How can we truly support tolerance for others if we pretend those beliefs don't exist? Nixing the Christmas songs because little Johnny is Jewish doesn't seem right. But what if Johnny could sing a Christmas song, and Suzy Christmas could help light a Menorah and George Muslim help light the Kinara, and everyone drink some Yule Wassail?
Each of us sharing in each other's belief's doesn't mean we have to convert to them, we are only recognizing them as something that is important to our fellow students/Americans/neighbors. I believe that would create a feeling of unity much better than the "Don't ask don't tell" mentality that is currently prevalent.
Our children would benefit much better if they had a project of each representing their own traditions, instead of having to hush them up. Their own tradition is an important part of who they are and that deserves value. "This is what our family Does" could be a beautiful way to help a child feel good about their own path, teach others about it, and everyone could feel it's okay to follow their individual pursuit of spiritual connection.
It's our right as Americans to pursue freedom of religion. How are we currently celebrating that freedom when we make it a huge secret that you aren't allowed to talk about or publicly celebrate?
All of the traditions are about honoring a connection to something bigger than ourself. Some people don't believe in anything, and that's okay too. They don't have to feel left out. They might say, "We'll respect you for your beliefs and join in on some celebrating just for the fun of it, if you respect us for our non-belief." An atheist may state, "Lighting the Menorah is pointless", but they may enjoy the ceremony and beauty of it and decide it's not an issue if you find a point to it. Isn't that what true tolerance is all about?
Is there anyone out there that can explain to me how teaching a child about traditions, reverance, and honoring something you believe in is wrong? So what if Sally honors Kwanzaa and Johnny honors Hanukka, Suzie honors Yule, and Alex honors Christmas? I really believe it's okay to talk about it and discover the beauty and the common denominators behind each belief. Remember, United we Stand, it doesn't say "United as long as you keep your faith like it's a dirty secret."
Now, come on, I'll grab a Yule Log and warm you up while you sing a nice Kwanzaa song for me. Anyone else want to set up the nativity or serve the Wassail and latkes?
Non Alcoholic Wassail
2 Quarts Apple Cider
1 Cup Orange Juice
1 Cup Lemon Juice
1 Cup Pineapple Juice
3 Sticks Cinnamon
2 tsp. Whole Cloves
2/3 Cup Sugar
Heat for one hour and serve warm.
Easy Latke Recipe
Two Pounds Peel and finely grated Potatoes
Two Large Eggs
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Oil for frying
Rinse, and squeeze drain the potatoes. Beat the eggs lightly with salt and pepper and stir into potatoes. Heat oil in large frying pan and add 1/4 cup of potatoes. Flatten a bit and brown on both sides. Serve immediately.
Umoja means unity
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