Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Bible in public school

Last week was the letter B for Gracie's Kindergarten class. They have Show & Tell each Friday based on the letter of the week. Since B was the letter, I suggested that she take her "Beginner's Bible." She readily agreed.

I know what some of you may be thinking, "What?!? That's not allowed in a public school!" Well, phooey on that is what I say! I taught in the public school system in Texas for 3 years and saying the word "God" was not as taboo as some may think. It's not like I taught Bible lessons or anything, but if a situation arose where saying something about God fit in, I did it. I never once got fired for it or even reprimanded for it.

Some of you may remember the Texas A&M bonfire accident a few years ago. After school that day, a group...a large group...of teachers & aides gathered in one of the classrooms to pray. There was always a prayer said at our beginning of the year breakfast for all employees, also.

Anyway, I was nervous about sending the Bible. I wasn't really nervous that Gracie or I would get in trouble, but I was nervous that her teacher would have a negative reaction that would make me like her less. I asked Gracie what they said and apparently they just said, "Oh, you have a Beginner's Bible. That's great." I think she even showed them the pictures of Noah's Ark. I think she said she didn't get to show the other pictures because they didn't have time and everyone was getting up to leave. Basically though, it went well and she didn't come home confused about a negative reaction or anything like that.

As far as broaching the subject of not being "allowed" to talk about God in a whole class setting in public school, Chris & I have taken the stance of not mentioning that to Gracie. She'll figure that out soon enough. Like I told a friend earlier today, we just want her to be her sweet self and talk about Him whenever/wherever she wants to. Of course, I'm not expecting the teacher to start teaching Bible lessons, but I figure any little bit of influence she can have on anyone who sees how she acts and her doing things like bringing her Bible for Show & Tell is a good thing. We just want her life to be so full of thinking about God & Jesus that it will just be natural for Him to be constantly in her thoughts & words & deeds. Not sending her to a Christian school, I think we're maybe being more mindful of how often we speak of Him in order to make sure He is constantly talked about in our family. Her little 5 year old faith is certainly growing based on the questions she asks, etc.

Up above, I have shared a picture of some of her writing. It says, "God is a Christian." She loves to write and the daily journals they do at school are such a great tool for practicing that. I bought her a little 'Madeline' journal that she can take to church & write in. I gave it to her Sunday and she has hardly put it down since! She is spelling very phonetically and I love reading it! I know it's not all spelled correctly, but for being 5 years old and only having been in K for 4 weeks, I think it's great. (She also told me later that she is spelling 'Christian' because of one of the songs on a cd we listen to that spells out the word. She is pretty close to getting all of the letters.) This picture is something she wrote in church on Sunday. It brought tears to my eyes. Not just because I'm amazed at how well she is writing but because of the subject matter. It's true that she obviously doesn't fully understand what a Christian is, but her heart is thinking about God!

Dear Lord, Thank you for my sweet Gracie. Please help her to learn & grow more and more everyday. Although it's so hard to see our babies growing up, it is also so wonderful to watch! Please help Chris & I to be the kind of parents You want us to be and to follow Your will and not our own. Thank you for our precious Katie also! She makes us laugh daily with the sweet things she does. Thank you for Chris who is such an encouragement & help to me. In Jesus' Name, Amen


Malia said...

Good for you & Gracie! Keep it up. The director of our daughter's school always says, "prepare your child for the path, not the path for your child". Sounds like to me that is what you are doing.

Kate said...

I wish I saw more of my students with bibles in their hands! I try to work around not having religion in schools. During the moment of silence (which is a full minute), I make it very obvious that I am praying. I also make constant references to words used in hymns or the Bible. In fact, covet is one our vocab words this week. You should be so proud of both of your daughters--both Valorie and Mindy commented on how intelligent and well-behaved they are!

Jacinda said...

I love that quote!

Jacinda said...

You making it obvious that you're praying during the moment of silence is exactly the kind of thing where YOU, as a Christian, can make a difference and have a positive influence! Rather than "ignoring" your Christianity because it may be more "PC", you are standing up for God, IN A PUBLIC SCHOOL, and doing what's right. Good for you! I'm not really trying to turn into a huge public school advocate but right now that's where where are, so I'm trying to make it the best it can be...and I'm glad to see you are too!

Kristen said...

I agree -- when I taught here in the Dallas area I didn't find religion was as taboo as a lot of people might think. Good for you and Gracie for sending the Bible for letter B week. I may have a far more reaching effect than you realize...

MDM said...

Even down here in Phoenix, religion is not taboo in the public school...and we are so not in the Bible belt. Of course, Rachel's principal is a christian, so I am sure that factors in!