Monday, December 18, 2006

School do do

I'm developing a real hatred of school events, and I'm not entirely sure why. (Or am I? Let's explore that. :D)

Well, part of it is how many people are there. Too many.

And they all arrive ages beforehand so if you want a seat, you have to be incredibly early and therefore are bored silly by the time anything starts happening.

Today I was going to take my camera, but I didn't bother in the end, as without zoom I'd only get specks in the distance, again. I had debated too long whether to take T with me or not, you see, to get there early enough. I took him as I thought he'd enjoy the singing and when you're accompanied by a small child, you have an excuse to be antisocial, as you're too busy watching your toddler to engage in long conversations. I had been worried that he might try to tear up the aisle and join his sister, but we couldn't actually see her at all, so no danger there. And I'd brought cars. He was very good throughout, only letting out a couple of joyous squeals and a couple of bashes with the cars against pew.

The songs the children sang were not your usual carols, but Christmassy songs that none of us knew, really. We did have songsheets, but none of the parents joined in, we just watched and admired the children.

I do like the vicar a lot: she's very good with youngsters and gave a nice child-friendly sermon. It wasn't particularly me-friendly, but then being in church at all isn't my idea of a good time. I can't really expect a service with no mention of god. :D Overall, it just washed over me, and I found the way she made it accessible to the children with a huge soft toy sheep and a star that lit up, very well done. She told the story of the shepherds who went to see the baby Jesus, and there was quite an amusing bit where she said they had been washing their socks, picking up on the "naughty" amended version of the carol, which made the children laugh. I was slightly flummoxed by a bit where she said one of the smelly (her word!) shepherds wanted a souvenir (well, that's not the right word, a keepsake, rather) and took a bit of wood from the manger in the shape of you know what, and Mary looked terribly sad. I suppose it was to try to lead back to the crucifixion and what that is supposed to symbolise. It seemed a bit unBiblical to me, but as ever, I could be wrong. I don't suppose it matters if it was poetic licence as such. It just grated on me a bit. But the service wasn't meant to please stray atheists. :D

It does strike me as immensely wrong-headed, the impression that some Christians seem to have that their religion isn't promoted in school any more, which I have seen expressed in the media and on-line. From my perspective, Christianity is definitely better represented than other religious beliefs, even though my child's school is not a faith or church school. The children might know a bit about other religions, but nothing on the scale of what they know about Christianity, (unless they are from a different religious background). I suppose it's only to be expected, given the country's history and culture. But I'd prefer it was taught as "some people believe".

I could take S out of those sorts of activities/lessons, but I don't think she'd thank me for missing performances like today or for making her stand out in school.

Anyway, I'm going a long way astray from my starting point.


Abby said...

I don't like school events either, for similar reasons. The story about the shepherd and the souvenir was poetic licence and it would annoy me in that it is straying from the Bible story. I imagine a child thinking "That's interesting, I should read about that in the Bible" and then looking and not finding it in the Bible the child might conclude the vicar was making it up as she was going along, and thus dismissing religion on that basis. I think the story has enough drama and interest of its own without embellishment. My sschool's emphasis was to tell the story from the viewpoint of the annoyed innkeeper being woken up by choirs of angels, kings, shepherds, knocking on his door in the middle of the night etc. It was original without going off the source material.

I had to go to a school do about my daughter's teacher retiring, and I hated it. I couldn't not go in case people wondered why I wasnt there and in the event, my daughter was involved in the ceremony presenting a gift to her, so it would have been bad if I weren't there. But I hate the lionisation of teachers as if they are one step down from God. This teacher's been amply rewarded every end of term with presents, and yet on retirement she got gifts worth about £300 and a huge long fawning goodbye ceremony. Not a dry eye in the house except for mine. I think I feel uneasy surrounded by people who all feel a certain emotion that I don't feel. Also I hate social situations where I'm expected to hug people, and everyone was hugging this teacher. I got the kids to hug her goodbye and then I legged it. What a relief it's the school holidays!

I saw the Trouble with Atheism programme too, and liked it. I think Rod Liddle was quite sensible in his conclusions. I get the feeling from Dawkin's book that he thinks science should be worshipped instead of religion. That's the thing about fighting religion, nature abhors a vacuum and if you stop worshipping God people are going to look around for something or someone to worship in his place.

Hippernicus said...

I'm afraid I don't agree about what I guess is "the god-shaped hole" argument you're using.

But you knew that already. :D

I don't think people need to worship anything.