Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What the Tolerance Post was about

(warning this is a long post)
When I wrote the post about teaching my daughter tolerance, I didn't specifically say what it was I was referring to.

Here is a bit of background info.

I was raised a Roman Catholic, went to Catholic school had my first communion, reconciliation and confirmation done through the school system and had mandatory religion classes.

When my daughter was born, I wanted to have her baptized Catholic, so she could also go to Catholic school and have the sacrements, and it was really important to my mom. When my mom was growing up, their family was the only Catholic family in a protestant town, and they were harassed and teased about this, especially since her family had 12 kids, she didn't want my sisters and me to ever go through that.

To have my daughter baptized, the church requires that both parents sign the consent form. My Ex and I split when my daughter was 6 weeks old, and I left the province we were living in. Before I left, he signed the papers. She was baptized when she was 5 months old, it was a big family celebration. She is registered to start kindergarten in a Catholic school in the fall. The dayhome that my daughter attends is run by a wonderful family from El Salvador, they are Catholic as well, and there are discussions about God during the day.

Now why is this important?

As this post states, my daughter came home and told me that her father told her "God is dead. Smart people know this, not smart people think God is alive and real". Now these are my four year old's words, I don't know exactly what was said. I have asked him many times to tell me what he said, but he refuses to speak to me. Since my daughter's birth, The Ex has decided that he is an atheist, and is not happy that ML attends church.

This teaching a child to hate, based on religion. My ex is telling my daughter anyone that is not an atheist is "not smart". As you can imagine, this distresses me a great deal. Not only becasue this hurt her, she might start to look at people who think or pray differently than her and think that they are "not smart". It is not acceptable for any parent to teach a child that someone else's beliefs or ideas make them " not smart".

What runs through my mind is all the genocides, the horrible hate crimes, what things were said in the homes of those who perpetrated these crimes. Hate begets hate. Whether it is about religion or the color of one's skin, differences should be celebrated not looked down upon. That is what I am trying to teach my daughter, and it is so hard when it feels like you have to "compete" with another parent that is teaching the opposite.

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