|The gang's (almost!) all here ... a typical school morning|
The first full week of school was the week of the letters.
First, a letter to the director on official church stationary stating our formal request to excuse our children from religion class each week. We had never done this before in the three prior years we had children at the school, so this was new to us. In the past, religion class was actually a broad teaching of values (and the viewing of an occasional pirated movie) rather than a certain religious doctrine. But that has changed this year and we opted to exercise our right for an exemption for the first time. Check one.
Then, a letter to Isabel's head teacher (with a copy to her language teacher) expressing her challenge to keep up with the writing required in class. Teaching is lecture-style here, with pages upon pages of notebooks being filled daily, and fine motor skills and overall hand strength continues to be a difficulty for Isabel due to her mild CP. We're not sure what the best solution is yet, but one day last week our daughter came home in tears due in part to her inability to get the notes down in time. Check two.
This was followed by a letter to Eva's language teacher regarding the first choice of reading book for the semester. Titled "Beloved Monsters," it was a collection of what we used to call ghost stories but in this case, many were macabre and even the pictures in the book were rather frightening to our sensitive daughter. Initially I covered the pictures and thought we'd muscle through it, but after reading through half the book on my own I was convicted that there was nothing "good, and right, and true" that I wanted my daughter putting into her mind. On the contrary, the stories included homicide and suicide and witchcraft - enough reason to write and request a different book to read (resolution is still pending.) Check three.
Sometimes I share these stories with my sister who has the privilege of sending her children to a Christian school for missionary children. I tell her that I am "that" mom (you know, the one that always has an issue to discuss with the school.) She tells me that our school must think I am really strange, and honestly I do feel like an odd duck many times. But this reminds me that my kids are truly the ones on the front lines and they must feel this way many times over. Do I regret that they are in a secular environment? Sometimes. But I rest in the fact that of the many secular schools we could have chosen, we feel we chose the one most accommodating to listen to our concerns. Also, I remember often a sermon my husband preached years ago, before we even had children.
In Matthew 5:13, Jesus tells His followers that they are the "salt of the earth." He goes on to say that if salt loses its saltiness, it is good for nothing but to thrown away and trampled. Pedro explained in his message that in Biblical times, one major use for salt was the preservation of food, especially meat. But in order for salt to do its job, it had to rub up against and into the meat. While I desire to protect my children's innocence for as long as possible - and I seek to do so in the ways I've described in this post and the previous one - at the same time, I recognize that both they and I need to be salt in our community. For now, their school environment seems to be one that provides exposure while still allowing for protection as we talk over the situations they encounter and what their textbooks teach and intervene when necessary.
There are the moments that make you cringe (more on that in the next post) and the moments that make you want to stand up and applaud (ditto.) Daily we pray for our children and ask God's protection on their lives and wisdom for us as we guide them. Believing He is faithful, we seek to rest in that truth as we make our way through school sagas and even being "that" mom!