Friday, November 21, 2008

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Davis came home today with a Guatemalan Worry Doll. Have you heard of them? They are very small dolls originally made in Guatamala. A person (usually a child) who cannot sleep due to worrying can express their worries to a doll and place it under their pillow before going to sleep.
According to folklore, the doll is thought to worry in the person's place, thereby permitting the person to sleep peacefully. The person will wake up without their worries, which have been taken away by the dolls during the night.

With the doll came a little piece of paper with typed text explaining all this. "Where did you get this?" I ask with as much non-chalantness as I could muster up. Mrs. Otto, apparently. (Who is that? A mom? A school employee? I am not sure.)

So here is where the rubber meets the road. One significant reason for allowing our kids to go to public school is to expose them to the world and walk with them as they synthesize what they are seeing. The theory is that we process with them the beliefs of our broken world in tiny chunks as they grow up. In the process - again, so the theory goes - we help them understand better why we believe what we believe, and show them just how much the world needs a savior.

I sort of wanted to get angry that the "pagen public school" distributed some crazy idea, but instead I grabbed up the opportunity and we chatted about the whole notion. Here is what he had to tell me:

"It is pretend, mom, but I think that it does help kids if they THINK it will help them. The dolls don't really take worries away." Yeah, you are right Davis. I know only One who can do THAT. "Yeah, yeah, I do too, Mom." (Too preachy, Davis? Dare I insult your intelligence and faith?)

It was clear pretty quickly that he knew what the Truth was (he has a solid head of faith on his shoulders), but I imagine that there will be other opportunities to discuss to Whom we can bring our worries.
(Matthew 6:34) Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
(Psalm 54:4 & 7) Behold, God is my helper ; The Lord is the sustainer of my soul. ...For He has delivered me from all trouble...

This is the kind of stuff I knew would be coming. I just pray the Lord would give me wisdom to know how to answer, and the discernment to know if or when too much exposure is too much.


Ginger@chirgies said...

Wow. I don't know if I could have mustered up ANY non-chalance! Why don't you just send my kid home with a voo-doo doll and a weegee board while you're at it???!!!!@@@

That is so true - We want to help them process these things, while they're still under our roof. You worded it so well..synthesize what they are seeing and showing them how much this world needs a savior.

Wow. I'd love to hear if or what happens. Will there be a part two to this? Mrs. Otto and Jenne go at it? :)

Let's pray for our kids! and that God would give us the wisdom to parent them through this culture!

Jenne said...

No, I won't be gong head-to-head with anyone. I read up on the dolls and they have no religious value or content that I could find. They are cultural folklore with no claim of religiosity. It was more akin to the Swedish belief in trolls or something (i.e. the stuff children's books are made of). It is a story of little children who help their mother who is sick. The claim in the story that the dolls are "magic" has all the excitement and drama of the magic beans in Jack and the Beanstalk. It might be interesting to find a children's book about it and read it to the kids. I think that might take any wind out of the sails (if there was any).

I am so thankful that Davis has a real heart for the Lord and that something "magical" has little influence over him. He could have brought home five "magic beans" and planted them in the garden, knowing the story of Jack and the Beanstalk and wondering if it would make us rich. I would not have raised my eyebrows about that, you know?

All the same, I do pray that the Lord would give us all great wisdom to parent our children through this culture, just as you said. The next thing to come home might not be so innocent!!

Eric 'n Leah said...

We appreciate you post and thoughts on this one Jenne! As a family whose paycheck comes from the public school system and will most likely be sending our kids to a public school- this was an encouraging post to read. Thanks for sharing!!

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing your heart and this story. we still aren't sure what we are doing for schooling yet, so i love to hear about how things are going for other families who are a few steps ahead!

i am waiting for your next post to be about the baby..i am sure you are too!!!!

LJStager said...

As a mom of three kiddos who went all the way through public school (one is halfway through college; the other two are college grads -- from a state-run school), I can give you some perspective from the other end of the journey. BTW, all three of my children have a deep and active faith in Jesus as Lord, and are serving in various ways.

Just this fall, as my husband and I were talking with our oldest and youngest child, they actually THANKED us for having them attend public school. We were pleasantly surprised, and a bit perplexed, since we remember many, many difficulties through the years. Living as a firm believer in Christ in the midst of a secular culture is very difficult.

My 24 year old, and my 20 year old replied that kids they know who have been home-schooled are "missing big pieces" of the puzzle.

My 24 year old teaches in a public High School, and he fears that kids that have been homeschooled have a more difficult time standing up for themselves, asking for help, and even realizing when they need academic help, because much of this has been handled by loving, caring adults in their lives.

The schooling choices are difficult ones, to be sure. We always left the door open for private education, if one of our kids hit a particularly difficult hurdle, or needed more support. (I am a licensed teacher, and I NEVER considered home schooling . . . much more is learned at school than the academic lesson.)

At any rate, yes, you can expect many more days when your child(ren) will come home from public school with issues to discuss. Being there to listen, to coach, to problem solve, and to facilitate the development of discernment, wisdom, and even compassion for the non-believer, is a big job. But it will have big pay-offs as your children grow and mature.

Keep up the good work!

Laura S.

Jenne said...

Thank you so much for your perspective. I very much need to hear it now and again. Thank you for taking the time to voice some really helpful and encouraging words.