Monday, December 17, 2012
I was privileged to give a short lesson to a group of kindergarteners about the Jewish holiday Hanukkah this December.
I know what you must be thinking, an Ex-Mormon atheist gave a lesson to a bunch of 5 year old children about a Jewish holiday... Yeah, it happened. In the middle of Indiana too. And it was actually pretty neat.
I told them the story of the Maccabees and we spun dreidels and I shared some gelt and stickers. They listened and kinda sat still. My kindergartener helped me pass out the stickers and gelt. She felt like such a big girl. She held up our Menorah and walked it all around the room to show it to her classmates.
At the end of my lesson my daughters' teacher thanked me for coming in. She then asked if our family was Jewish. I said no, but we do celebrate Hanukkah because we want our children to learn about other people and their traditions. She said she only asked because last week my daughter had told one of her classmates that Jesus was dead and god wasn't real.
As much as it caught me off guard, it really shouldn't have. She is my youngest child and she is very matter of fact about things. I was little embarrassed because I have had this talk with my daughters about how some people believe in a god, some believe in Jesus and sometimes people believe in Santa. And that they shouldn't tell them that what they believe is wrong. I know that day will come before I know it.
I think the teacher saw me hesitate after she told me about the facts my little one had said earlier in the week, she then asked if we were Christian. I answered with a no, and then said my husband and I were raising our children as freethinkers. She smiled and then remarked about how they could then decide for themselves later on. I felt like she was the first outsider who 'got' it. Even though I hope that there will be no decision for them to ever make because I raised them to know better.
It felt good to help a classroom full of kindergarteners understand another culture and religion, even if it wasn't mine. It felt good to give my child the opportunity to have answers that her classmates wanted to know.