My journey to shoot for the moon.

Archive for January, 2013

Coffee Subway Art

I am so excited!  I made my own Subway art and it really turned out nicely.  I put it in a frame and am going to put it on the wall by the coffee pot in our office.

COFFEEOLOGY

I’ll post a picture after I hang it!

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What I Will Do For Me in 2013

I’ve decided that I need to make some major changes in my life and like many years, I have thought about what I will do differently in the coming year.  However, this year, I have come up with a plan – a road map of how I am going to get where I want to be.  I think, duh, this is the part that has led to disappointment year after year – not knowing how I was going to get where I wanted to be.  So, here is what I WILL do for me this year, so that I can get where I want to be. (more…)

A Special Sign

When Michael was 3 he attended preschool at AAUW in Waukegan, Illinois.  I was a teacher there and Michael, who was a somewhat clingy child, needed to be in communication with me.  However, I didn’t think it was appropriate for me to be telling him that I loved him while I was teaching.  So we developed a special sign. (more…)

Teaching Romeo and Juliet

When I was in college, I took Chaucer because I didn’t want to have to deal with Shakespeare.  I didn’t like Shakespeare.  Generally speaking, I hated Shakespeare.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved Taming of the Shrew with Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, but that was a movie not the written version.   Little did I know that I would end up teaching Shakespeare.  Specifically, teaching Romeo and Juliet to high school students. (more…)

A Major Mess – In The Kitchen

Like most teachers, I spend much of my time off of school trying to “catch-up” on all the stuff that has fallen by the wayside.  This vacation is no exception.  I figured I could get caught up on the laundry, find my desk, maybe do some scrapbooking, get some lessons planned for January, help the boys clean their room, clean out the pantry and maybe, just maybe, feel a bit less stress when I head back to school on Jan. 7th.  But, like usual, things didn’t go as I planned.  (more…)

Blogging For Me And Being Read By Others

One of the very interesting things about blogging, is that strangers will often find your blog.  They “like” it or they start following it and your numbers grow.  When I started blogging, I wasn’t all that interested in building up a following; I was interested in chronicling my journey in life. (more…)

Going to Kindergarten and (Apparently) Hell

fire-close-up-texture

When David was in Kindergarten, we lived in Zion, Illinois.  Zion was originally founded as a Christian haven.  In 2000 (the year before David started Kindergarten), the median household income was $48,000 and the median home value was $115,000.  Approximately 30% of the residents were African-American and 30% Hispanic.  Chris and I knew this when we moved there and it really didn’t matter to us.  I thought that the diversity in the community was a positive.

Beulah Park Elementary School reflected the population of Zion, when David started Kindergarten.  When David started school, he was not sure of his religious beliefs.  He identified with being Jewish and I would say, was more Jewish than Christian, but he was still working on figuring things out.  Chris and I didn’t have a problem with this, as we were raising him to think for himself and to seek out his own beliefs.

Now, my memory is a bit foggy on some of the finer points, but sometime after Winter Break, David came home with some interesting stories.  Prior to break his class learned about different cultures and religions celebrating winter holidays.  David must have contributed some of his knowledge about Chanukah (we celebrate both Christmas and Chanukah in our house) because his classmates learned that he wasn’t Christian.  After Winter Break, David informed me that he was being told by several of his classmates that he was going to Hell because he didn’t believe in Jesus.  I was surprised that this didn’t appear to upset David.  However, when I asked him about it, he told me that he didn’t believe in Hell and Jews didn’t believe in Hell either, so how could he be going there.

While David was unperturbed, I, on the other hand, was very concerned.  Why were 5 and 6-year-olds telling their classmates they were going to Hell because of their religious beliefs?  Why were they doing this on the playground?  And so I went to visit the Principal.

It was my first visit to the Principal’s office as a parent (and unfortunately, would be the first of many, many trips to the Principal’s office – the most recent being just before Fall Break this year).  Going to the Principal’s office as a parent can be an anxiety producing event.  I didn’t want to be THAT MOM, but I did want to make sure that David was not intimidated at school.  It is tough to find the balance.  Thankfully, the Principal was understanding and sympathetic.  She did handle the situation and the majority of the time there was no one telling David that he was going to Hell.

David learned about prejudice and discrimination at the tender age of 5; much earlier than I would have wanted him to learn about such things.  In hindsight though, it seems that his learning to deal with such difficult topics at a young age gave him insight and maturity he may not have gained otherwise.  As a parent, it was painful for me to see David’s exclusion because of his religious beliefs.  But, to my surprise, he took it in stride and didn’t seem to care that much.

Around this time, David  formed a belief that he holds to this day:  there are educated religious people who will respect your right to have your own beliefs, even if they don’t agree and there are uneducated religious people who preach fire and brimstone.  The uneducated religious people do not think for themselves and only “believe” what they have been taught.  They don’t understand the background and history of their  own religion and cannot explain it.  Those who are educated understand the history behind their religion and how their religion progressed to the point it is at currently.  They have come to the personal beliefs they hold, not because they were necessarily raised that way (although many of them were), but because they have asked the questions and found the answers that has led them to their religious beliefs.  They respect that each person takes their own journey and comes to their beliefs in their own individual way.  They may not agree, but they respect the process of self-discovery.

During David’s kindergarten year, he met uneducated religious people (some of his classmates) and a very educated articulate religious man.  Both experiences, in my opinion, shaped David’s opinions and interests in religion.  It’s been quite a journey and I’m grateful that I’ve been able to go along with David as he explores his beliefs.

I’ll be writing more about David’s journey according to my perspective.

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