>OTRgirl brought up some very valid points in her comment about “Decisions, decisions…”
We went to really secular schools as kids. No meditation or yoga or anything, but a definite awareness of different religions and ways of thinking. My parents were really good at being available to answer questions and help us think our way through the process. In the end, it gave us a richer, more thoughtful faith as well as some tools for articulating what we believe. It’s a harder challenge for you as a parent, but I think it’s doable.
I totally get her point and the other side of the coin is a very big part of why I keep thinking about this. I went to secular/public schools as well, but my experience was so different from hers. Where I grew up, it was very homogenized. Very milky. No diversity at all until I was a freshman and we had 1 African-American student who transferred to our school. Even then, it wasn’t what I could consider different or diverse at all. When I graduated from high school, our school had a total of 3 African-American students.
When I went to college, it was an entirely different and very fun experience. Meeting people from around the world was so new and different. So many people find Jesus in so many different ways and at different ages and stages in life. It really was an enriching experience I want my girls to have.
Where we live now, I’m not sure that the elementary school she would attend would be much different than where I grew up. Most families of different cultures have their children transferred to another district to another elementary school that has been shaped to be “the better” elementary school, a school that accepts children whose parents are lawyers, doctors or other “important” people. That school offers violin, Japanese and other classes not offered at other elementary schools in the area.
My girls wouldn’t be exposed to different cultures or beliefs until they went into middle school, so while Hubby and I could teach them about why their own beliefs are important and encourage them to think things through, I don’t think they would have to deal with explaining their faith until they were older.
My problem isn’t with other children or other beliefs; it is with a system that doesn’t allow expression of her/our beliefs. My problem is with a system that encourages the expression of all faiths except Christianity. I can’t even believe I am typing that considering the state where I live, which is considered part of the “Bible belt.”