Should i allow my child to be forced to pray?
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19-05-2011, 09:15 AM
Rainbow Should i allow my child to be forced to pray?
My son has just started a new school in the Uk, his last school was more play based (he is four) the new school is less play and more work.

My son has adjusted fine and is happy to sit at a desk and do what all of the other children do.

My son asked me yesterday why at the end of the school day he has to thank Jesus?

The school is not religious based but does do an end of day prayer and i witnessed today my son having his hands held together by a teaching assistant as he does not know how to pray.

I want my son to respect and understand other religions but i do not think that this is fair to him, i do not want to single him out or make him different from the rest of the class so how would be the best way to handle this?
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19-05-2011, 09:27 AM
 
RE: Should i allow my child to be forced to pray?
I am not familiar with the UK laws. Is there a separation clause in anything like unto a Constitution, there? As in, a separation of church and State so that public schools aren't forced to adhere to religious doctrine or rites?

I'd think you have every cause to object to a teaching assistant indoctrinating your child into religious ritual, against your will.
If it were my child, I'd have walked to that assistant as I saw them holding my child's hands together so as to force them into a prayer pose, and said with the biggest smile I could muster exactly what my signature says. Wink As I at the same time, removed his hands from my child, and then escorted my child from that school forever.

But I'm like that. I'd do the same thing if I saw someone trying to feed my child poison, or remove their clothing in front of me. In other words, I'd strongly object to someone trying to harm or violate my child's privacy, subverting my influence and guidance which is not toward religious ritual, while they have my child in their custody.
That's dishonorable. And unacceptable as is any means to abuse an innocent.

You can certainly instruct your child to be open to other people's beliefs, if those beliefs conform to what your child respects as it relates to their own sense of that what deserves respect. Teaching a child to tolerate anything, leaves him/her wide open to being taken advantage of and misguided so that they end up having no center. No sense of self.
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19-05-2011, 10:48 AM
RE: Should i allow my child to be forced to pray?
Hey, Gassy.

My understanding is (and please correct me if I'm wrong, Timlin) that the head of state, Queen Elizabeth II, is also the head of The Church of England. So I don't think the separation of church and state works the same. Nabbed this from Wikipedia:
Quote: In England, there is a constitutionally established state religion but other faiths are tolerated.[30] The British monarch is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, and 26 bishops (Lords Spiritual) sit in the upper house of government, the House of Lords.

Hey, Timlin.

If he's abusing your son, punch that TA in the jeans. But I gather from your post that the TA was holding your son's hands together to teach him how to pray rather than to abuse a weeping toddler. Let me know if it was more a ruler across the knuckles sort of thing.

I don't think that there's anything wrong with participating in other people's traditions. No one is going to catch ritual herpes. It's entirely possible to participate and not be that thing. The Hagakure says it the best:
Quote:It is bad when one thing becomes two. One should not look for anything else in the Way of the Samurai. It is the same for anything that is called a Way. If one understands things in this manner, he should be able to hear about all ways and be more and more in accord with his own.

I mean, if praying is strictly against what you believe (like how Jews don't eat pork) then by all means, kindly inform the school that you do not want your son participating in the prayer. If it's no skin off your nuts and you think your son can handle it, there's no point in alienating him from the other children. Let him play their reindeer games.

When I was a kid, I was in scouts. Baden-Powell was a really religious cat, so we said God this and God that and thank God all over the place. Not only that, but we had our scout meetings in a church. And I never once felt that I had to be a Christian to be a scout and never once felt uncomfortable participating. Kids can handle contradictions.

Basically, there's little to no harm, but how much of a hard ass do you want to be? Are you so offended by prayer that you want nothing to do with it for you and your son, or are you content to participate in another people's tradition while cherishing your own beliefs?

For myself, I have zero plans to raise a child as a Christian, but it wouldn't bother me if he participated in prayer at school. I mean, of course there are limits. If I moved to a Sikh area of India, I think I'd still cut my kid's hair, but a little shout out to Jesus doesn't bother me. I'm a fan of harmony between a diversity of cultures rather than each culture clinging tenaciously to its own thing and never coming together.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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19-05-2011, 11:06 AM
 
RE: Should i allow my child to be forced to pray?
No one can force your child to pray. Not Quennie, not a bishop, not a semi-intelligent kindergarten teacher.

You can appeal to have your child excluded from those "activities".
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19-05-2011, 11:19 AM
RE: Should i allow my child to be forced to pray?
My opinion lies somewhere between Ghosts and GKs. I don't see anything wrong with teaching a child ABOUT religions, in fact I encourage it as a way to understand other people and their cultures and beliefs. However, having a child participate in a religous ritual (ie prayer) without the parents consent is going beyond eductating the child and heading straight towards indoctrination. I would be asking the teacher, or better yet the principal, if they are teaching the kids about a different belief system at the end of every day, or are they only teaching about Jesus. I think you are well within your rights to be upset by what is happening.

That said, Ghost raised an interesting point. Kids are quite resillient, and I don't suspect your son is going to take the few minutes spent at the end of the day and start believing in something that he has not been raised with. It's not an easy answer. You may very well allienate him from his classmates by demanding he be omitted from this part of the day.

When I was young, we said the lords prayer at the beginning of every school day. Every school did. To this day, I remember that there was one child who did not participate. He left the room when we said the prayer. I never felt forced into christianity. I never felt indoctrinated. I just felt like it was a "school thing". I did, however, feel like the kid that left the room while we said the prayer was strange. He was ostracized, not because of his particular religion, but because he was doing something that was odd to all the other kids. It had nothing to do with religion at all, and everything to do with fitting in. It's tough being a kid. So make sure that what you decide doesn't make it any tougher.

Is it right? No. Not in my opinion at least.
Is it a battle worth fighting? That's not so easy to answer.

So many cats, so few good recipes.
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19-05-2011, 09:46 PM (This post was last modified: 19-05-2011 10:00 PM by stimuli.)
RE: Should i allow my child to be forced to pray?
I dont think you need to forcably exempt the child or go through the teachers about the issue. Talk to your kid. Teach them the difference between make believe and reality and how we think critically to distinguish between the two:

Here's an amazing video by a scientist (and atheist) about what he teaches his kids about these situations. I wish this guy was my dad when I was growing up.

http://youtu.be/X7oA--rJ_QM

looks like my first attempt at embedding a youtube video was major phail =(

"It takes a smart man to know when he's being stupid." ~~Barney Rubble
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20-05-2011, 01:41 AM
RE: Should i allow my child to be forced to pray?
You should go and talk to the teacher and/or principal and explain them what you wish for your son. Let them all pray, but they can not force your son to do that. If he accepts praying on his own (because everybody else is doing it), let him be, he is still young, he will have time to think about religion when he is old enough.

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I have a theory that the truth is never told during the nine-to-five hours.
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20-05-2011, 06:42 AM (This post was last modified: 20-05-2011 06:46 AM by Timlin.)
RE: Should i allow my child to be forced to pray?
Thank you for all of your input.

After reading the replies today i collected my son from school today with mixed feelings on what to do or say next, i watched again through the window as the end of day prayer began and watched the confused face he made as he looked around the room at the other children repeating what was to them a well known prayer in a robotic monotone voice and watched him try to mouth the words and hold his hands in a loose clasp.

I said nothing and we went to the car and i spoke to him on the way home and asked him about his day, he talked about his friend and what he had made in a craft lesson and then he talked about the prayer and asked "does God live in the clouds?" I asked him "who is God?" and he said that he was "who they said thank you to today" and when i asked why they thanked him he did not know. he then asked if "God was making it rain" and this was something i could give a definate answer to and gave a basic desription of water vapour and clouds.

All of this has caught me off guard and i thought when the time came to discuss the big questions i would be ready, and i am but my son is not, he is bright and asks alot of questions and we talk about many subjects and i always try to answer his seemingly never ending "why?" loops until we reach a conclusion, but God gets in early and it's so easy to say he is a man who looks after you,made you and everything and lives in a cloud, it's a catch all explanation and he is getting this from school!

I have decided to let him carry on with prayer as i feel confident that in time he will ask the right question and be ready to hear the answer because at the moment this God character that has been introduced to him is fascinating and if i put in place some kind of restriction then i feel this fascination will grow, at the moment God is this new guy who is pretty cool and has alot of magic powers so i can field anything he asks in the same way he asks about any other character we read about in books or that he watches on television.

In conclusion i feel sad that a place of learning and a teacher who is in a place of trust and influence to the most precious of minds the young can at the end of a school day make the children believe they are talking to an invisible creator of everything and that he needs to be thanked.

How much time are we going to waste talking about this when instead of talking a bout a God making it rain when we could actually be talking about the Science of cloud formation and water vapour?

How many times will i have to contradict a teacher?

How many children are being brain washed every day by somebody themselves who was brain washed and just what is the long term effects on our society as a whole with regards to morality, economics and family.

Am i doing the right thing by letting it carry on or should i take a stronger stand?

Am i any worse than a preacher when i make my son write a letter to santa or leave money under his pillow in exchange for a tooth?

Thanks again for the replies it really helped.
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20-05-2011, 07:34 AM
 
RE: Should i allow my child to be forced to pray?
What you did is very wise although not what I would do personally. I would prefer to work preemptively rather than risk the chance to be brainwashed. However, this is a personal choice and fear since I've been brainwashed twice in my life in two totally different aspects that had nothing to do with religion.

What I disagree with you though is the comment you made about your son not being ready. If he is asking the right questions, what more indication do you need? It will take time for him to comprehend the answers you give him anyway. Why make it worse by allowing an ill-reputed perspective to seethe into his currently-molding mind?

Huh
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20-05-2011, 08:03 AM
RE: Should i allow my child to be forced to pray?
(20-05-2011 07:34 AM)Celestus87 Wrote:  What you did is very wise although not what I would do personally. I would prefer to work preemptively rather than risk the chance to be brainwashed. However, this is a personal choice and fear since I've been brainwashed twice in my life in two totally different aspects that had nothing to do with religion.

What I disagree with you though is the comment you made about your son not being ready. If he is asking the right questions, what more indication do you need? It will take time for him to comprehend the answers you give him anyway. Why make it worse by allowing an ill-reputed perspective to seethe into his currently-molding mind?

Huh

He is ready to comprehend the concept of a magic sky wizard but he is not ready to comprehend the concept of not being able to dissprove a negative that is probably why children are so important to the faith based teachings as at a young age they have not yet been taught the reason skills that they will get in later life.

My son is only four years old he has gone from stacking blocks and playing with sand in a play group to be told to thank a being he can not see, touch or hear by somebody in a position of his trust. when i say he is not ready what i'm saying is that he listens to my point about how some people believe different things but how much further can you go at that age? shall i tell him about death unless i really need to, i know i will have to raise it with him at some point but i wanted him to enjoy being a care free kid for as long as possible.

Since finding out about this God guy he is frowning more than he used to.
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