Can we tolerate one more post about the December Dilemma? I promise to be short. I just want to share with you what my oldest child (he is in 6th grade) did at school recently.
The district has a program called Christmas Sharing where they collect clothes and food for families in our area who are less fortunate. Great program! At our elementary school they call it Holiday Sharing. When our oldest went to middle school we learned that the program is actually called Christmas Sharing. As part of the program they ask the kids to donate money and then they can create an ornament to hang on the Christmas tree. If they donate enough money, food, and clothing Santa will visit the school. Yes, this is middle school.
For obvious reasons my son was upset that all other religions were being excluded. He took it upon himself to write the Principal about the issue. He detailed his concerns. He said that he was uncomfortable donating to a Christian program. That some of the Muslim or Buddhist families in our school might feel the same way. He had questions about who benefited from the program. Was it only Christian families? There might be families of other faiths that need help too.
He told the Principal that he did not have an issue with the motives behind it, but would like to have the public school be more aware that not everyone is Christian and offer more inclusive activities. He detailed some ideas that would be more inclusive. Rather than creating ornaments, perhaps the kids could create holiday/winter pictures that could be hung on the walls in the cafeteria; instead of Santa, how about homework passes or a day with no homework?
Our Principal is great. He asked Mac to participate in the newly renamed committee, Holiday Spirit. It was Christmas Spirit until Mac brought up the issue. He will be the only student on the committee, until now it was compromised entirely of teachers and staff. He will be able to talk about ideas that will make things more inclusive. The Principal has invited Mac to attend a meeting with the Superintendent and the local churches to discuss renaming Christmas Sharing to Holiday Sharing.
Mac is beginning to work towards creating a world that is more tolerant and understanding, more inclusive to people who are not Christian. Not only is this a proud parenting moment, it proves that in spite of everything, our child is a Jew.