Author Topic: Help w Issue at School for kids  (Read 2067 times)


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Help w Issue at School for kids
« on: November 19, 2012, 06:51:42 AM »
I have a few issues I am needing help with. I am not a Christian-person, I believe in God just not the spreading of Christianity. I think you will find religion (one that suits you) when you need it, it doesn't necessarily have to be one type.

Obviously, when a public school supports a program that does "offer the gift of God" meaning they do bring Christianity to those who get gifts, it makes me uncomfortable.

We can't discuss religion here, so I am not looking to debate that, but here is my troubles:

*My kids school is doing Operation Christmas Child, where they send Christmas boxes and the "gift of God" to children oversees. It makes me uncomfortable.

*The school is very small. Like less than 18kids/classroom. Everyone is participating.

*They do celebrate small-town (ie Halloween w costumes, Unicef, this, Christmas pageant, etc.)

*If I say I am not comfortable participating because of the prosthelytizing of the group that does Operation Christmas Child (i.e. trying to convert a non-believer) we will stand out. I feel conflicted because we ARE celebrating Christmas (we celebrate secularly) and that feels hypocritical but I sure wish they did not spread the message and try to convert the children getting gifts. I FEEL (and please let's not debate) that is not fair to the children.

But how do I not participate?

I have decided to participate for my kids going to school who are still new. I have spoke to my kids about this sort of thing. So my conscience is a bit troubled but life will go on I guess.

So I have to send a box filled with stuff, wrapped? Have you done this? What have you done to put in the box etc? This sort of stuff is not my thing.

Thanks for advice.


I know we are not to discuss religion etc here, so I hope this post falls within the acceptable bounds. I am just troubled because I don't want an organization converting someone who may be another Religion to get a gift. Yet I feel I should so my kids don't stand out and make an issue when they are so new.

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Re: Help w Issue at School for kids
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2012, 08:12:19 AM »
I understand your hesitation in participating in having your school require something that smacks of bullying.

Am I correct that you are in Canada?

Will the students all be taking their shoeboxes to school on the same day and marching forward with them? In other words, will everybody really and truly know that your kids didn't participate?

For me, anyhow, it this is how it will be done, I would do these two things:

1.)  Talk to the teacher and suggest that it would be more charitable, or at least would teach more charitable action, if each student could examine his/her own heart to determine whether that child wanted to participate.

2.)  If your talk doesn't change anything, I would have a chat with my child to explain my motivation in not wishing to participate, and would give my child the option to participate or not as s/he desired. I would allow my child to participate if s/he would be made uncomfortable not to.

On the other hand, if nobody would really notice if my child didn't participate, I would again talk to the child about whether s/he wants to participate, and give the option of participating or doing the same type of charitable giving but without the addition of the "gift of God." ("Angel Tree" at the local mall or a donation to "Shop with a Cop").

Hope this helps.
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Re: Help w Issue at School for kids
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2012, 05:23:20 PM »
This would make me uncomfortable, too. I am surprised a public school allows this sort of thing...where I live it would create quite an uproar among the parents.

I understand not wanting to create a kerfluffle in a small community - that is tough.

What if you found a charity that reflects your values a bit more closely, and contribute to that, with your kids' help? Even the youngest child can understand a simple explanation of generosity without strings attached. Then you (and they) can feel free to say "we do feel it's important to participate in charities this time of year, but we can't do them all...we have already given to an organization that is really important to us."

It might be difficult, but it's also important to show your kids that you stand up for what you believe in even when it is difficult and even when everyone around you is going along with the event. A lot of times, one person taking a polite, respectful stand will allow others who feel the same but are too shy to say so to also bow out. You are not telling them they shouldn't participate, and you are not being stingy - but you should not feel blackmailed into going along with something that violates your principles.

These situations are really difficult....good luck with it! 
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Re: Help w Issue at School for kids
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2012, 05:59:35 PM »

I am floored. I am Canadian and have worked in the school system. Are you Canadian?

There should be a Separation of Church and State. Is this a pubic school? or is it a private Christian School?

I would go along with things this year so your kids dont stand out.

I would also talk or write to the principal and PTA or PAC and state your concerns for future donations.

I totally agree with your concerns. There are a lot of great programs that accept donations this time of year. I donate with our little one and I find it more meaningful for her if we donate in a more local way and to a child the same gender and age.


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Re: Help w Issue at School for kids
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2012, 01:17:52 AM »
Hi 4kids,
I hope you don't mind but I'm not going to weigh in on the debate about whether or not you should participate except to say you should do what feels comfortable for you and your family.

My daughter participated in OperationChristmas child this year at her new (private) school here in Australia. We used one of the supplied boxes as they are a little bigger than the shoeboxes we had and they don't need to be wrapped. The guidelines we were given were clear on what not to put in and gave some suggestions for what to include which were helpful (eg something to wear, something to play with, something for hygiene, something for school, something to keep ). We selected a girl 5-9 category and put in a t shirt, coloured pencils, a sharpener, scribble paper, a printed mug in girly colours, a small soft toy, a skipping rope and hair clips.

Her school also organised a lunchtime craft group where extra things were made and added to the boxes (not sure what these were though).

She is 13 and very much enjoyed participating- she selected most of the gifts herself. Her school is very much into community service and provides many,many different service or giving opportunities. They are encouraged to participate in this and other Christmas donations in lieu of presents for teachers and their friends.

I hope this helps if you decide to go ahead.