Thursday, May 24, 2012

More Transitions

I came across this old saying, “If I kneel before God I can stand before any man.”

The wisdom in this is great. So often, I am afraid of standing up to people because I hate confrontations. But is that any way to live? I don't mean one should pick fights for the sake of fighting, but one should fight for the good fight -- defending truth and goodness, the dignity of human life and family.

The children are again going through a big transition -- leaving their new-found friends at our current school. We are moving them to a smaller, more traditional Catholic school. I feel very sad at having to make this move since the children have done very well at the school, and I have nothing but wonderful things to say about the teachers, students, and parents I've met.

So what's the problem? The administration is taking the school in a more secular and materialistic direction. I realize that most of the parents are on board with spending more, more, more money on the latest gadgets to "enhance" the educational experience, but they don't realize that content and context matter far more than any tool. We live in an affluent area, and it's not uncommon for children to carry cell phones and be wired nearly 24/7 to electronic devices. Our children, on the other hand, do not watch television, nor play video games. We only allow limited computer use for some school work, we watch movies together, and we have a good selection of books at home, and ready access to the library. We work hard to make sure they are consuming good things to feed their minds and souls. If we do not protect their innocence, who will? So I am completely against taking away our parental authority and handing iPads to the children. Actually, I think it's a detriment. Children learn far better by using their whole bodies to learn. What next? Hook them up to the computer all day long? Anyway. That was the lesser problem.

The greater problem is secularism. I want to send my children to a Catholic school so that they will learn to see the world through a Catholic worldview, whether it is the study of cells or great works of art. I want them to always apply the Gospel to their lives. The current school has adopted the IB program for their middle school. What is it? A secular program. Their mission on their website: These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.

That sounds nice enough. But upon digging deeper, their role is to promote tolerance. I don't know when tolerance became a virtue, but it is not. One should never tolerate evil. If I see the practice of burning widows on a funeral pyre, I cannot turn the other way and say that it is their culture. Live and let live. In the same way, I cannot tolerate abortion. We have become so blind to evil, so desensitized, that we can say it is okay to kill a baby in the womb. I'm sure the baby does not think that is okay.

I wrote a fairly lengthy letter to the school administration, but have received no response. It is sad when a Catholic school will not acknowledge the concerns of a Catholic parent, especially regarding faith formation. We are neophytes. We do not want our children to get mixed messages. Jesus is the Truth, the Way and the Life. Everything else that goes against the teachings of the church is not just another opinion. It is false. I know, these are fighting words. But the good Lord is giving me the courage to speak. And if God is on my side, I have nothing to fear from man.
The good news is that God always provides. Our children will go to a small parish school, with none of the bells and whistles of these newer and progressive schools, but I have great peace knowing they will be richer. This smaller school has greater parental involvement, and they stick to the basics. And most importantly, they have a good and holy priest who will help the children to grow in their faith, and maintain their strong Catholic identity. I couldn't ask for anything more.


Amy L. Sonnichsen said...

Good for you, Vijaya! You are listening and obeying. I completely agree with you-- we take tolerance too far in our culture, expecting everyone to tolerate everything. I do think the mission of the current school is disturbing because it's impossible for EVERYONE to be right. This line of thinking will eventually claim that there's no absolute truth.

I hope you do hear back from the school -- but even if you don't, I think your kids will be very happy at their new school ... and I'm proud of you. :)

Faith E. Hough said...

Ah, tolerance. That's one that bugs me, too. In other contexts, we can see what a negative thing it actually is--you tolerate a person when you can't love him wholeheartedly. So how is that a good thing? If we spent more time loving people and less time tolerating them, we would show more compassion for them as people as less turning aside our eyes from the ways they are hurting themselves.

Vijaya said...

Amy, thanks for your support. That's exactly the conclusion I came to, about absolute truths.

My son, who will now go to five different schools in five years is being very sanguine about the whole thing. I hope he can stay put at the Catholic high school :)

Faith, love is far better. And true love always seeks what is best for the other.

Mirka Breen said...

From reading your posts I think Catholic school is the right option, and I’m glad you have that.
A word about tolerance- it’s not ‘everything under the sun is fine.’ Tolerance involves humility, knowing only that our vantage point is limited. Many matters of the world are not black and white.
I had to say this, not wanting to pick a fight (especially not with you because I respect and admire you so much) but pleading for consideration of how there are ways to truth and goodness that may be out of our vision’s scope.
I come from a part of the world where, sadly, too many people seem to think it's their way or the highway. We may be erring too much in the other direction here.
Nothing easy.
I wish your family all the best. Your kids have wonderful parents.

Vijaya said...

Mirka, you are right that we must be humble, because only God knows everything. We take the whole Bible as Truth. This is why we pray to discern ... things can often be muddled, and it can be difficult to understand what is Truth. Thankfully, God does imprint His laws upon our hearts, so in many cases it is easy to see when the Truth is being distorted.

In India, there are violent Hindu-Muslim clashes because of differences in beliefs. But there is also an amazing amount of religious tolerance. People are free to live their lives according to their faith. The problem arises when practicing one's faith steps on other people's beliefs.

Ex. in the US -- Catholic institutions are being forced to pay for things that go against our beliefs. We cannot support those them, and our conscience dictates us to fight.

Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful comments, Mirka. I hold the Jewish people dearly in my heart because salvation comes from the Jews.

Anonymous said...

Making decisions is not always an easy thing. Praying for you and your family as you go through this transition!

Vijaya said...

Thank you, Donna. I know the moment something is too comfortable, there will be something else to push us, leading us closer to God.