Friday, November 15, 2013

Fair or Homogenized Holidays?

I cannot be the only one...who wonders if removing any real discussions of religious holidays from our children's public schools, in an attempt to not push religion and/or not create an uncomfortable learning environment (I'm not really sure that either of these are the reasons), is limiting our children's cultural awareness of this great melting pot of a country.

I come from a family who believed in the religion of Christmas, we didn't attend church or ever say a prayer, but celebrated holidays with fun subject matter (an Easter bunny or a fat man in a red suit). All of the rest of my knowledge of real religions came from the holidays my friends at school celebrated with their families, and growing up in Southern California there were many different cultures to learn from. I remember my public school teachers teaching us Christmas carols and the Dreidel song. I knew my Mexican American friends had tamales on Christmas and my Jewish American friends ate latkes on Hanukkah.  Currently, my kindergartner has no clue what Hanukkah is, his school sent home a flyer asking for donations to create their Thanksgiving feast, but there is no mention of Hanukkah happening that same week.

Are we doing our children a disservice by taking the talk of religious holidays out of schools, isn't religion part of the many cultures of our world, and doesn't  cultural awareness makes a well rounded person? I need the school to help me teach my Sonny boy about these things....I know my experience of candy canes and Easter egg hunts is not going to cut it. Is it possible we have gone too far in the name of fairness?

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