Author Topic: I have not the words...UPDATE: Post #132  (Read 14095 times)

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audrey1962

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Re: I have not the words...
« Reply #45 on: January 03, 2013, 01:12:43 PM »
I just don't think that religious observances have a place in public school - that's why people are in public school and not a parochial school.

Or they can't afford the tuition for a parochial school.

poundcake

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Re: I have not the words...
« Reply #46 on: January 03, 2013, 01:15:23 PM »
Quote
I recall once being the only class unable to celebrate with a Christmas party before break because there was one Muslim and one Jewish student in it. The other classes had a blast. Those two kids ended up bullied because they "ruined all the fun." It was such a shame.

Why couldn't the class celebrate all three? It seems like a great opportunity to learn about other cultures and holidays.

These parents are obviously able to practice whatever religion they want in whatever way they want, but I would also suggest talking to the teacher, if only to clear the air. It would be nice to think that as a society we've grown beyond the "If one person is offended, we have to cancel everything for everyone" mentality, and your situation has nothing to do with promoting any religious ideology in the classroom. And leave your daughter out of this. These issues are too complicated for most adults. She doesn't need to have her feelings hurt as a bonus.

miranova

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Re: I have not the words...
« Reply #47 on: January 03, 2013, 01:16:51 PM »
I forgot to mention, I would never show that letter to my child.  She did a nice thing; that should not be spoiled by one person's nastiness.  Whatever happened to quietly disposing of a gift one does not like?

audrey11

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Re: I have not the words...
« Reply #48 on: January 03, 2013, 01:22:25 PM »
I must disagree that the parents who were offended were rude.  I belong to a non-Christian religion, and our religious leaders teach us that it is a sin to participate in religious holidays that are not ours.  Even the appearance of participation, such as the acceptance of gifts from those who celebrate Christmas, is considered sinful.  The snowflake ornament would not have even been allowed to come into our homes, also because snowflakes are considered Christmassy.  While the older children are of an age to understand the reasoning behind this, a six year old is not quite there.  Had that been my child, I would have much preferred that no present had been given at all, rather than having to take a pretty, shiny thing away.  While it is nice that your child wanted to give gifts to her classmates, perhaps it would have been nicer to only give gifts to the children who were actually permitted to have them.

That being said, I probably would have said nothing to the teacher, but it would certainly make me rethink any friendships with the children who put my (hypothetical) child in such a position. 

Yvaine

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Re: I have not the words...
« Reply #49 on: January 03, 2013, 01:26:12 PM »
I must disagree that the parents who were offended were rude.  I belong to a non-Christian religion, and our religious leaders teach us that it is a sin to participate in religious holidays that are not ours.  Even the appearance of participation, such as the acceptance of gifts from those who celebrate Christmas, is considered sinful.  The snowflake ornament would not have even been allowed to come into our homes, also because snowflakes are considered Christmassy.  While the older children are of an age to understand the reasoning behind this, a six year old is not quite there.  Had that been my child, I would have much preferred that no present had been given at all, rather than having to take a pretty, shiny thing away.  While it is nice that your child wanted to give gifts to her classmates, perhaps it would have been nicer to only give gifts to the children who were actually permitted to have them.

That being said, I probably would have said nothing to the teacher, but it would certainly make me rethink any friendships with the children who put my (hypothetical) child in such a position.

But no matter your (general you) beliefs, it's still rude to write a letter berating the child--not even the parent, but the 6-year-old--for giving the gift.

camlan

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Re: I have not the words...
« Reply #50 on: January 03, 2013, 01:30:16 PM »
I have a slightly different take on this situation.

The parents have the right to be offended. (Granted, I think they were *trying* to be offended, but they have that right.) However, they handled the situation incorrectly from the start.

If they are that dead set on not celebrating Christmas, then they need to teach their child not to accept gifts from others around Christmas time.

If the child is upset about not getting the gift, that is for the parents to deal with. It is a natural consequence of their decisions about Christmas.

And while I think they have the right to politely inform the parents of other children that their child comes into contact with about their policy, so that the other children won't give their child gifts, the letter, or "sermon,"  they sent was not the way to do this. They could have sent something along the lines of, "Dear Other Parents, while we think it was a lovely gesture that your daughter sent home "Holiday Gifts" to every student in her class, our family does not celebrate Christmas and other religious holidays. In the future, please exclude our child from any gift-giving that she does in the class." A letter like that wouldn't have the OP posting here, I think.

The suggestions to talk to the teacher are good. The teacher should be able to suggest ways for the OP's daughter to gift her classmates, while not giving a gift to this one child. 
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


Piratelvr1121

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Re: I have not the words...
« Reply #51 on: January 03, 2013, 01:39:24 PM »
It does pose something of a conundrum for us as we were already planning Valentine's Day stuff.  (I know, I'm crazy, but I hate waiting until last minute.)

I'd say don't plan out Valentine's stuff until you know what the class guidelines are. I'm in my mid-thirties (so not even from the current wave of more sensitivity) and we had Valentine's card exchanges, but it was pretty structured. You'll want to find out how the teacher plans to handle it before you invest a lot of time or money.

"Some kids aren't allowed to accept Valentine's cards either." 
Now, this one I do find strange.  Valentine's cards are for *secret* admirers to send, not for children to exchange.  The not-knowing-who-it's-from is the whole point of them. 

This may be regional? Kids exchanging little Valentine's cards is really really common where I grew up (Midwest US). They generally come in packages of, oh I don't know, 30 or so? About as many as you'd need to distribute to a grade school class, anyway. They'll usually have Spiderman or Pokemon or something on them. Adult romantic partners do also exchange cards and gifts (though not anonymously) but this is pretty separate from the kiddie observance of the holiday.

Anyway, OP, I'm sorry these parents are nasty. I doubt it was even just directed at you--probably the teacher got a nasty note as well for handing out the bags in the first place, as well as any other kid whose name could be tied to it. I really feel bad that they made their kid give up the stuff and wrote the note to your kid--it seems like they're content to let children suffer all the hurt feelings that stem from the adults' rudeness.

My experience of Valentine's day was the same, and I'm mid 30's too, and in the Midatlantic area of the US.  We handed out little cardboard themed valentines to everyone in the class, and it's still done that way in elementary school these days.  Once I got to middle school, with 7 classes a day, that stopped and I think the booster club or someone started selling single roses that people could buy and have delivered to a friend or someone they had a crush on. 

Actually, a few years ago in one office I worked in, for fun we decided to exchange those fun little valentines in the office.  We all put paper bags with our names in them on the conference room table and when we went to lunch we had fun looking to see what we got.  No one was surprised when they saw I gave out Pirates of the Caribbean valentines. ;)

And I agree too that the parents who would right such a letter were not just rude but rather nasty about it.  That the OP and her daughter gave out the snowflakes in the first place gives me the impression they did not know of the family's religious standpoint, and just didn't want anyone to be left out, or they would not have gone this route.  So it's not like they smugly sent the girl home with it knowing it was forbidden and would cause issues. 

In other words, I'm with many other pp's.  Snowflake for the snowflakes.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

VltGrantham

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Re: I have not the words...
« Reply #52 on: January 03, 2013, 01:43:03 PM »
Quote
While it is nice that your child wanted to give gifts to her classmates, perhaps it would have been nicer to only give gifts to the children who were actually permitted to have them.  That being said, I probably would have said nothing to the teacher, but it would certainly make me rethink any friendships with the children who put my (hypothetical) child in such a position.

To be honest, how am I or any parent supposed to know that in advance?  If your religion considers it a sin to accept any such gift because it is against your beliefs, then why would it be everyone's responsibility or fault for not knowing that in advance?  Would it not be more prudent to notify the teacher and school in advance?  Or better yet, when contributions were solicited for gift bags, let it be known that your child cannot participate due to his or her religious practice?

It is vastly different since it wouldn't cause death in the literal sense of the word, but it would be like the parent of a child who has a deathly allergy to peanuts not informing the school of such a problem, then complaining that their child was made sick by the association with a food containing nut products.

I am more than willing to respect others' religious beliefs, but you cannot expect that I would have the foresight to predict such extreme circumstances.  And why on earth would you judge another child or his/her parents for trying to be friendly when they are ignorant of your situation?  Is that not also against your religious beliefs?  I could understand your being cautious and even angry if such incidents continued to occur, but one friendly gesture is grounds for rethinking possible future friendships?

miranova

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Re: I have not the words...
« Reply #53 on: January 03, 2013, 01:45:14 PM »
I must disagree that the parents who were offended were rude.  I belong to a non-Christian religion, and our religious leaders teach us that it is a sin to participate in religious holidays that are not ours.  Even the appearance of participation, such as the acceptance of gifts from those who celebrate Christmas, is considered sinful.  The snowflake ornament would not have even been allowed to come into our homes, also because snowflakes are considered Christmassy.  While the older children are of an age to understand the reasoning behind this, a six year old is not quite there.  Had that been my child, I would have much preferred that no present had been given at all, rather than having to take a pretty, shiny thing away.  While it is nice that your child wanted to give gifts to her classmates, perhaps it would have been nicer to only give gifts to the children who were actually permitted to have them.

That being said, I probably would have said nothing to the teacher, but it would certainly make me rethink any friendships with the children who put my (hypothetical) child in such a position.

They are not rude to feel offended, but they were most certainly rude in their response of sending a nasty letter.  That is not a polite way to inform other people that you prefer not to receive snowflakes.  Really, I can not imagine how they expected anyone to know ahead of time that this would be so offensive.  As to your last sentence, I am just...stunned that you can turn a child's obviously good intentions into an assumption that the child was deliberately trying to put your child in a bad position.  People give gifts in the month of December all the time.  This is not something that is done with any malice!  They are not putting your hypothetical child in a bad spot.  Your child can't receive gifts, thus it is your responsibility to teach her to say no thank you.  It is not everyone else's job to read minds. 

Sharnita

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Re: I have not the words...
« Reply #54 on: January 03, 2013, 01:53:22 PM »
Honestly, if the parents were smart they could have used the whole situation to support their argument. "See, when their family gives a gift they don't call it a Christmas gift. They don't talk about Santa. That is because they know that Christmas is about Jesus. Gifts do not have anything to do with Christmas - see, they never once mentioned it."

MeowMixer

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Re: I have not the words...
« Reply #55 on: January 03, 2013, 02:06:53 PM »
Wow. That is sad. It's just a low blow that dims the light in the world. I like Camlan's response, and in a world where people don't take offence and on top of that seek to hurt the other person in the process (in this case, a 6 year old child) this response would have been used and we would not be reading about here. That someone would send such a hurtful letter to a child speaks volumes about its author.

Some people just can't take what others give them in the spirit in which it was meant. A snowflake is not meant to be malicious, a kind gesture is not meant to be social commentary on your beliefs, it's meant to bring a smile to others.

Don't mention this to your daughter, just be sure not to include this child in your gift giving and as a PP said let them deal with the fallout. Your DD did a sweet thing (most kids will only think of one or two friends, not the whole class). As for Valentine's Day, I love the idea you posted! It's cute! And I recall very clearly handing out to the whole class V-day cards and cinnamon hearts, it was a very usual thing in my southern Ontario school.

People like these parents are why many don't extend themselves as far to be kind to others. An automatic response of 'bless you' to a sneeze is open to a lecture, holding the door open for someone interpreted as 'oh you think just because I'm a woman I can't open my own door!' remark.  Don't assume that an act of kindness is an indictment against you and your beliefs, you bite someones head off and they are less inclined to help or offer a kind word to the next person. 'Pay it forward' becomes obsolete and the world just becomes a crappier place to be.

squeakers

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Re: I have not the words...
« Reply #56 on: January 03, 2013, 02:19:20 PM »
Quote
While it is nice that your child wanted to give gifts to her classmates, perhaps it would have been nicer to only give gifts to the children who were actually permitted to have them.  That being said, I probably would have said nothing to the teacher, but it would certainly make me rethink any friendships with the children who put my (hypothetical) child in such a position.

To be honest, how am I or any parent supposed to know that in advance?  If your religion considers it a sin to accept any such gift because it is against your beliefs, then why would it be everyone's responsibility or fault for not knowing that in advance?  Would it not be more prudent to notify the teacher and school in advance?  Or better yet, when contributions were solicited for gift bags, let it be known that your child cannot participate due to his or her religious practice?


With my kids and back in the dinosaurs' days when I attended grade school there was a note sent home saying "If you do not want your child to participate in X activity they will do "Y" instead". (Usually "Y" was read in the library.) So that no Jehovah's Witness child nor Jewish/Muslim/Pagan child _had_ to color Christmas tree pages, they didn't have to make play dough ornaments or sing songs promoting another religion. (Or do Halloween activities, Valentine's.. I wish there had been one to stop with the dumb "paper Indian headdress and vests" at Thanksgiving.)

Do you know for sure that the little girl took home the same Christmas-sy stuff your daughter did? Or that maybe at the beginning of the year the parents already spoke with the school about what things their daughter was allowed to do?  So maybe she didn't take that stuff home but took your daughter's gift home because she didn't know any better.  Did the teacher know about the gift or was it being given out lost amidst the upcoming break's frenetic activities?

I think while a gift from a classmate is a nice gesture it is also a showy one that would have made me uncomfortable.  Not from the (non)religious standpoint but because then I would wonder if we had missed a note home telling us to get gifts for all the kids.
"I feel sarcasm is the lowest form of wit." "It is so low, in fact, that Miss Manners feels sure you would not want to resort to it yourself, even in your own defense. We do not believe in retaliatory rudeness." Judith Martin

mrkitty

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Re: I have not the words...
« Reply #57 on: January 03, 2013, 02:20:56 PM »
{{SIGH}}

Sometimes I think everyone should be required to wear a sign stapled to their foreheads outlining their religious (or non) beliefs and their policies on greetings and gift giving. I think it's gotten quite out of hand and is very confusing.

From an etiquette perspective, I cannot see where you went wrong, OP. Your daughter gave a small gift to her classmates as a kind gesture. You even went to extra lengths to ensure that it was neutral and would offend no one. Yet, it did, either because it was perceived as still too religious in nature, or because it wasn't religious enough.

We read often on this board about what to do in the event someone receives a gift that they do not like, can't use, find offensive, etc. Isn't the etiquette of the situation that one should graciously accept the gift with thanks in the spirit in which it was given, and then privately use or dispose of the item as one likes? So, from that standpoint, the parents of the child who received your daughter's kind gift not only alienated the parents of their child's classmate, but expressed their opinions (however valid or not) about her gift in the most nasty, rude and ill-mannered way possible, short of leaving a flaming bag of...something...on your front stoop.

All I can say is wow. What a way to teach your kid to be ungrateful and rude. I feel sorry for the little kid.

I really think etiquette should be required curriculum in school, like reading, writing and arithmetic.

OP, I think you did nothing wrong. And your daughter sounds like she is growing into a fine young lady with a kind heart. If there was a mistake made by you in giving the gift, it was the mistake of a generous heart.

And if the recipient's parents are offended (which I don't personally think they should be, but have the right nonetheless) the way they followed up was, in my opinion, a horrible breach of etiquette.  I'm so sorry this happened to you.
Learn from past. Live in the present. Hope for the future.

Poppea

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Re: I have not the words...
« Reply #58 on: January 03, 2013, 02:27:02 PM »
You gave them a Christmas ornament.  While it may not have screamed "Christmas" it did whisper it very loudly.  Offending someone's religious beliefs is not silly and they're entitled to those feelings.  At this point I would let it go and not give Christmas presents to the class next year.

In what way is giving a Christmas gift "offending someone's beliefs?"  All they had to do was throw it away.  They CHOSE to be offended.  The OP's daughter wasn't making a statement about their beliefs in any way.  All she was doing was celebrating hers.  Why is that offensive?

It's offensive because it was done at school.  It's fine to exchange gifts between friends, but when it comes to religious holidays and the classroom, you tread very carefully.

Sorry, the teachers and administration need to tread carefully.  Students are free to express their religious beliefs.  Whats next?  Jews can't wear ar Star o David necklace nor Christians crosses because someone might see it and be offended? 

Thipu1

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Re: I have not the words...
« Reply #59 on: January 03, 2013, 02:28:00 PM »
When I was in the third grade (8 years-old) my public school teacher was the wife of the local Rabbi.  Almost all of the kids in my class were Roman Catholic or members of mainstream Protestant Churches.

  Still, we learned a bit about Judaism.  In December we had a Christmas tree in the classroom but we also had a menorah.  We each received a dreidl and a little mesh bag of Hannukah gelt. We were treated to latkes with applesauce.  The few Jewish kids who already knew about this preferred sour cream.   We also were read stories and were given coloring pages about the Macabees.  The boys especially liked that.  After all,  for a guy kid, heroes are so much more fun than Santa. 

For Purim we made crowns in art class and ate hematashen while we marched around the classroom with noisemakers.  It was almost like Halloween half-way around the year!

This all happened around 1955 when the USA was supposed to be so hide-bound in religious matters.

In later years I asked my mother what other parents thought about this.  She told me that she never
heard a word against it and, indeed, Christian ladies really enjoyed getting the latke recipe.  It goes
 so well with the pork roast, you know.

There is a big difference between sharing fun and proselytizing.  A family may not share the religious
 beliefs of others but learning about them is always a good thing.  It brings people together while being rigid builds up barriers that don't need to be there.