My son's class is going to a Pioneer Village on a field trip next week. A permission form was sent home asking parents to sign off on allowing the kids to participate in Opening Ceremonies while they are there. Our public school stands for O'Canada every morning and I have taught my children why we show respect for the playing of the National Anthem. The Opening Ceremonies on this field trip however includes reciting the Lord's Prayer and singing God Save The King.
I hesitated at signing off on it but did after much thought, still indicating I'd leave it up to Carter to decide that day. Just because we do not practise religion in our home doesn't mean I can't expose my children to what others celebrate and recognize. We live in a very diverse community for a reason.... we moved here on purpose with diversity in mind and so there are religions and traditions that go along with various cultures here. I explained to Carter that some of his friends will know the words to these exercises and asked if he had ever heard about God before. He said he had but didn't really understand what it was. I told him that his Dad and I believe that a common thread in most religions is Spirituality, Love and Good Nature. Because we embrace those things within our family, we've never found it necessary to take part in any one particular religion that defines a who or a what you're supposed to believe in. Instead, we believe what we feel and that it's ok to feel differently from one another.
Yesterday, he came home from school with his music duo tang in hand, absolutely furious. He slammed it down on the stairs and asked me why I had signed off on that form if I knew what Opening Ceremonies meant. It turns out they are learning them in music class before the trip. I asked why he was so angry about it and my not-quite-nine-year-old son said to me "Why would you want me to learn a song about Gods and Kings thinking they are better than anyone else when our family treats all people the same. Who do those people think they are??" He had a point. He hasn't figured out Hierarchy just yet....! I raise my kids to live a compassionate lifestyle and that involves but is not limited to treating the human race, all animals and the universe with respect. How could I possibly have thought he wouldn't pick up on the Hierarchy so evident in these religious ceremonies? I am fully aware that God Save The King was once Canada's National Anthem and so because it was at one time a representation of our country, it is the only reason I struggle with him not having respect for it.... however, I "get" what he is saying and admire him for noticing that. I told him I can support him there and if he doesn't feel comfortable singing about that he doesn't have to. I asked him if he had any thoughts on the Lord's Prayer. He responded, "What, that poem about Art In Heaven? I think it must just mean the author is talking about the shapes the clouds make in the sky. Us humans can see them from here on Earth on the one side of them, so even though we all look at the same thing we can all see it a bit differently, so it doesn't really matter who you are or where you live, on Earth or in Heaven, you can still see the art....just differently"
His take on hierarchy and this analogy he came up with floored me. Religion is like an Art, of which we all interpret in different ways. I get it. And I'm very proud of and wowed by this baby boy of mine.
- Life-long Vegetarian and proud to be Canadian. Really, I'm a little bit of everything, all rolled into one. I'm a bitch, I'm a lover, I'm a child, I'm a mother, I'm a sinner, I'm a saint (I do not feel ashamed) I'm your hell, I'm your dream (I'm nothing in between) You know, I wouldn't want it any other way..... (I'd like to think that song was written about me! lol)