Tuesday, March 01, 2005

A Note to the Teachers

Here's the note I sent to the kid's teachers today -- with the names all changed to protect everyone. We'll see what comes of it.

March 1, 2005

I was wondering if you might have a few words with Kate and sort of encourage her to stop talking to The Kid about heaven and hell.

As you know, we’re Jewish. We don’t believe in Jesus, and our religion doesn’t really focus much on heaven or hell: the rabbis taught us we should mend this world (tikkin olam) and this is what we are teaching the kid. So when Kate asked the kid whether she was going to heaven or hell, about a month ago, I’m afraid the kid’s answer didn’t really make a lot of sense to Kate, and apparently Kate has gone into full salvation mode. Anyway, she’s been going after the kid pretty strong, and the kid’s starting to have nightmares about going to hell.

The kid says she has asked Kate to stop, and has told Kate she doesn’t want to talk about it anymore, and that neither of these has done any good. She says she’s afraid to tell any of her teachers because that would be tattling. I told it wouldn’t be, but she's unconvinced. Anyway, she said it would be all right if I wrote a note and asked you to talk to Kate. She doesn’t want to get Kate in trouble, because as you know Kate is her best friend. She just wants Kate to stop threatening her with eternal damnation.

So if you could kind of ask Kate to stop talking about religion at school, I’d appreciate it.



Diane said...

Good for you.

I think we need to educate children that "tattling" is sometimes the appropriate thing. I have had countless parents of adolescents who have not reported physical violence, including sexual assault, because their kids "didn't want me to."

Recently, I had a mother in my office whose daughter was very upset over gay-bashing in which her teacher particpated. The girl minimized her feelings when we were all together; she really didn't want her mother complaining to the school. The mother's therapist, my close friend and office-mate, advised her to stay quiet if her daughter wanted her to, but I wish she had done something. In the long run, it's better, I think, to remember seeing your mother take a stand against injustice.

Anonymous said...

I think that we need to teach our children that not everyone agrees with how we think and what we believe. It is important for them to learn about others' ideas about this world and how it operates and why we are here etc. It opens up discussion and allows us to diagree with people and still be their friends. Kate had a right to say what she did and your child has a right to say what she thinks. Maybe your daughter believes in heaven and hell and that is what you are afraid of....