I’m not religious. I was baptized Catholic and received my first Communion, but I can’t ever remember a time when I actually believed in G-d. I haven’t attended church regularly since I was a teenager. I’m fascinated by religion (all religions) in a purely academic sense.
T is not being raised in a religious household. When he asks existential questions (yes, my 5-year-old is existential), I try my best to give him different perspectives. I tell him that different people believe different things. I try to be as open as possible.
That all being said, T attends a Catholic preschool. They have income contingent tuition, so I pay a lot less than I would pay anywhere else in town. When I enrolled him, I discussed it with the director. She explained that the school is part of the Catholic schooling community, but they are a non-secular school. No part of the education is based on G-d, Jesus, or the Bible. There is a statue of Jesus in the cafeteria, but it’s more of a leftover from the days when it was a solely Catholic school.
I was hesitant, but I really couldn’t ignore the fact that the school is ridiculously affordable and right around the corner from where I work. The directors were both very kind, and the teachers I met seemed to be just what I was looking for.
T has been attending this school for several months. The woman who had been watching him before set the bar high (we loved her), but the teachers here seemed to be okay. It would do until he could start kindergarten and attend public school.
Until this morning, when T informed me that he is going to heaven after he dies.
T has been fascinated by death for about a year (not in the teenage-goth sort of way, but still kind of odd for a 5-year-old, right?). We’ve had a lot of conversations about how nobody really knows what happens, but here are a few things that some people believe. And here’s what I believe.
I had an abbreviated version of that conversation again this morning, as I drove him to school. When we pulled up in front of the school, I casually asked him who told him about heaven.
Imagine my surprise when it was the teacher that I get along with the best. She’s my favorite of the pre-K teachers. We talk every day at pick-up (she doesn’t start until after I drop T in the morning), and I’ve always felt very comfortable talking to her about the things T tells me about school.
Like the time he told me nobody would ever play with him on the playground. And she told me he was always playing with lots of kids. And I came early one day to see that was exactly the truth. He’s kind of a drama queen.
Miss B— has also told him that G-d made everyone. This, just after he and I had a great conversation about evolution.
Thanks, Miss B—.
I have absolutely no problem with Miss B—‘s beliefs. And when T gets older, he is more than welcome to believe whatever he wants. But right now, he is a very impressionable 5-year-old child. I do not think it is at all okay for her to fill my child’s head with her beliefs. Especially in a this-is-the-truth sort of way.
Yes, I’m going to talk to her today when I pick him up from school. I hate confrontation, but if it had to be with any teacher, I am kind of glad it’s her. I already know that I can talk to her, and that she will be honest with me.
But how do I face this sort of confrontation without seeming like I’m condemning her belief system? How do I do it tactfully, when there is no way I’ll be able to do it out of earshot of at least a child or two?
And, at what point do I bring it to the director’s attention?
*And, despite the title, I don’t believe she’s actually “forcing” them onto him. I’m just really bad at coming up with blog titles. Don’t yell at me, okay?
I’m pouring my heart out with Shell, but I’d also love to hear your thoughts on the issue.