Thursday, October 11, 2007

Praise the Lord!

. Thursday, October 11, 2007

My wife picked Boo Jr off from the bus yesterday afternoon like she always does. She noticed my son carrying something in his hand and that he was eager to share. At first, my wife thought Boo Jr had some gold chocolate coins in his hand. My son have them to her so she could look at them more closely. They were gold colored plastic coins. On one side was a Bible reference (John 3:16, Philistines 7:11) and the obverse side had the quote on it. Boo Jr said a girl on the bus gave them to him. He didn't know the girl's name or anything about her. We're pretty sure that my son happened to be sitting next to this girl riding the bus home. I noticed the coins on the Kitchen shelf after I got home from work. My wife filled me in on the rest of the details. She called the transportation office when she got home to tell them about what happened and that we disapproved of it going on. My wife and I told Boo Jr that from now on, "if a stranger (even if it's a kid) tries to give you something, you tell them, 'No, thank you'. My son didn't seem too upset when we took the coins away (we threw them out after he went to bed), and he seemed to understand what we were saying.

That gets me to a couple "big picture" comments. The first is it makes me worry about the safety of my son. I'm not worried about a little girl giving my son some stupid coins. I'm more worried about older kids who may try to give my son cigarettes or drugs or something. Expanding even further, it's just the whole "stranger-danger" thing. Boo Jr is a very trusting young boy and is very innocent. But now he's getting to an age where we legitimately have to start worrying about things like that. My son's getting to an age where we have to teach him (and he will learn on his own) that the world isn't always a very nice place. I guess this was a good lesson to start with.

My second comment is - What the hell is some little kid doing proselytizing on the school bus?!?! The oldest this kid could have been was 5th grade. This girl obviously comes from a very religious family. I think it's shameful that this child's parents are making this child "spread the good word". Religion should be a personal thing in my perfect world. I'm very open and respectful to a wide variety of religious beliefs. Just don't try and convert me! I'm comfortable with my beliefs. I think/joke, "If your god/religion is so great, why do you have to advertise so much?"

I thought long and hard to come up with a word about how I felt about all this. The one word that comes up is "violated". It might not be the best word, but that's the word that comes to mind.


Greeneyezz said...

I'm sure you're right, where the parents are pushing it on their children. But, isn't it the same with any relgiion?, where the child learns from the parent and Priest/minisiter/Preacher? Think of the 5th Grader who somehow already knows that the *correct* response to: "May the Lord be with you", be: "And also with you".

I think it's annoying to be 'solicited' like that, and yes, even a bit scary that it happened to Boo, Jr. 'Cause it makes you think just how impressionable and Vulnerable our children really are.

And yes, you do need to be concerned with 'stranger danger'. You don't want your son to grow up not being able to trust people, that can be harmful too. But maybe teaching him how to have trust in himself more, to be able to take care of himself.

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, the girl might legitimately have been just wanting to make friends with your son and gave them to him because she had them in her pocket and thought he might like them. Who knows. My grandaughter likes to give away anything she has.

You could always just explain to him what they are, and what they stand for. And definitely tell him to be careful about accepting things from strangers. It was a good teaching tool in any case, eh? :)


Boo said...

But your example is within the "confines" of that persons religion and is done at home or in their house of worship. I think another part of the "scarinest" of it is that they're starting kids younger and younger in EVERYTHING these days.

Boo said...

I spoke with my son a little more this morning and it sounds like the girl was about my son's age.

Gwen - I understand the point you're making and that could very well have been what happened. But you know that her parents put those coins in her hand and told her to give them out to other kids on the bus. I seriously doubt the girl knew what she was doing. I just think it's wrong to use kids in that way. Similarly, I don't think it's great how protesters bring kids to demonstrations.

Anonymous said...

Kids give each other things all the time.

So now your son has to say no to anything any other kid ever offers him.

And the bus drivers are supposed to watch every exchange between every pair of kids on the school bus.

I think you and your wife are overreacting about this, and in doing so you keeping from your son an opportunity to learn to interact with other people, to learn from his own experiences, to learn to discern other people's motives, to learn the difference between a stranger who wants to do him harm and a child who wants to befriend him. All of which he is going to have to do.

I think also that complaining to the transport dept instead of finding out the child's name and talking to the individual parents about it is a passive-aggressive way of dealing with it by not dealing with it. I don't like proselytizing either and it has happened to one of my boys --- he was invited to a "pool party" that ended up being a recruitment thing for a xian youth group. I was furious but I spoke with the parents about their sneakiness. That's where the problem lies, with the parents.

No offense boo, I know you love your boy, but I see so many kids who don't have a clue how to deal with real-life situations because their parents don't let them have and learn from their own experiences.


Boo said...

I never said that the bus driver was responsible for preventing this from happening and I understand that your comment was sarcastic/rhetorical. I understand and can appreciate the points that a lot of you are making. I don't think this would have been an issue at all if the coins weren't religious. That just really rubbed me the wrong way.

We called the transportation office because we don't know the child's name.

Anonymous said...

I think you are over protective of your child.

Boo said...

I agree that I do tend to be overprotective and I'm working on that. But at least have the decency to not hide behind being an annonymout poster.

Anonymous said...

We all do what we think is right for our kids. If we do our jobs right, they will grow up to be thoughtful and kind, confident and successful, tolerant of others but not pushovers, good-humored and brave.

That doesn't describe most people though =)

My boys are godless heathens at the moment (we're going on a meditation retreat this weekend!!!!) and they've gotten their share of comments from kids here in xianville who have never heard of anything religious beyond the bible. I figure it's good for all of the kids to learn about the others' point of view.

If I don't encourage that kind of exchange, then I'm no different from the religious parents, who want to shelter their kids from what they see as negative influences as well.

And everyone lives inside their little boxes, in fear and suspicion that our children will be corrupted by the OTHER.


Unknown said...

When our son rode the bus (and this also applied to our daughter who is not autistic)...we had the blanket rule that they couldn't take/give anything away, that wasn't first approved by both parents beforehand. We never encountered the situation you described, but like your son - mine isn't always aware of the social nuances. This brings up one of my pet peeves, which is parents letting kids bring toys from home, with them to school. Now I'm not talking "share days" or show and tell...but any day. I work pt with school kids and one 4th grade girl brought in the new iPod Nano Video(which also leads me to ask...what is a 4th grader doing with a iPod Nano Video??). Most items are not expensive electronics and most parents, if kids lose them, don't blame the teacher/school age staff...but there are those that will - I'm responsible for the well being of the kids I work with...Not their personal stuff they drag in from home. Gosh Boo...sorry for my own rant...maybe I should make a second go at my own blog!! How is your son btw? Any news on the evaluations? Did you get a chance to check out that book? Take care!

Anonymous said...

Hide? I am giving you an opinion that you ASKED for. I don't know you and I don't want to know you. Why would you expect me to identify myself?



Anonymous said...

newt, I just had to look up "xianville," as I've never heard of it! And I came up with....NOTHING! lol What is it? It just comes up with another language? Is it something Chinese? I've never heard of it at all. Rare that you can't find anything about something! Secret society or something? Hmm...

Oh, and as usual, per your response, you are the wisest of the wise. IMO anyway lol. :)


oh, and boo, about parents bringing kids to demonstrations, I see nothing wrong with it, as long as it's safe, peaceful, and all..I wish I had been brought to some when I was young. Standing up for what you believe in, and showing your kids that you do, how can that be bad?

Anonymous said...

We have a very religious family near us (the family with the kid who told my son there was no Santa and, after finding out my son believed in Santa yelled 'don't you believe in Jesus?!'. One of the kids in that family had a birthday party and only invited family, and I think maybe a few friends from the private Christian school they attend. That afternoon, we were walking past their house, and they came out and gave my son some party favors. The party favors were a pencil with a bible verse, and some bible playing cards. We just smiled and thanked them and went on our way. We're not religious, but we get people inviting us to church all the time. We just smile and tell them we're not interested and they usually go away. Not a big deal, really. I think if it had been my son who had been given the coins, I probably would have just looked at them and said oh, that was nice of her, or something like that. If he asked about what was printed on them I would have told him that they were sayings from a bible that he religion studies and left it at that. At the age our kids are now, I think that would suffice. When they're older, if they have questions, then some research might have to be done, but when my son is that age, I'll be more than happy to help him research any different religion he might be interested in learning about.

Mohawk Chieftain said...

Obviously, Boo it's your place to make the rules for the little guy. But, I feel that the little girl was just trying to share what she had, with your son. Kids that age like to do stuff like that. Maybe you did right; maybe you did not. It doesn't matter what the rest of us think; it's what you're comfortable with. I guess it's best to err on the side of caution. In my case, I don't think I would have made a fuss about it; maybe I'd have said to him that it was okay to accept the gift, as long it was simply from someone his own age, but, I would have added that it is always also the thing to do: to tell Mom & Dad about such gifts, so that they can be checked out, before being used. I sure liked this world better, when we didn't have to worry about crap happening....