In my last post I shared how teaching my children has changed my life forever, and began to share how in the school year 2008/2009 it really changed our families life in areas that were hard for me. Specifically in the area of holiday celebrations.
(If you would like to read that post it is here.)
In the school year 2008/2009, Jeremy and I chose joy and generosity for our school focus. That meant that everything we taught would be centered in these two character traits. I was so excited because as a child my mom always taught my siblings and I about generosity at holiday times, so I decided what better thing to study than holidays to teach these character traits. So, I began writing our lesson plans and it included holidays in it that we celebrated and also holidays that we didn't. My goal was to educate my children on all the holidays, using them as history lessons too. I was excited because my older children were at an age now that I could give them research assignments and they could do their own research and find their own answers. I was proud that I had made learning and research exciting for them, and they were excited about discovering answers on their own. But little did I know that teaching my children to research and discover on their own would change my life.
was a great time in God's Word, and I loved hearing the children read the Bible on their own and discuss what they were learning from it. Bible class was just amazing.
Then we had history class and we looked at the calendar each week and studied and research any holiday that was on it. Some of those holiday's we fun and interesting, like President's day, Labor day, and Veterans day. We learned a lot about our American and world history, and I was impressed with the research the children would do. Their reports were excellent.
But then there were those holidays like Halloween and Valentine's Day that we never celebrated as a family, and the children did their research and were surprised by the pagan roots of these holidays and curious as to why so many of their friends and relatives participated in these activities. I gently reminded them that every family has to make those decisions for themselves, and that we are not to judge others, but to live our lives as we believe God calls us to. This seemed like a good answer to them, and we went on. But then it happened, my children began to dig deeper into their studies than I actually expected them to.
It was one of those great yet distressing moments. I was so proud that my children had gone the extra mile and discovered answers of their own, but little did I know that the answers they found would challenge them to challenge me. It was Christmas time, and we got out all our decorations and our tree the day after Thanksgiving. This was tradition. We started baking and singing Christmas music. We planned our program and we went shopping. It was a busy fun time. But there was a problem the children began researching the roots of Christmas. They dug deep, they found things that upset them and that made them wonder if we should celebrate such a holiday. (If you want to know what they learned check out my friends blog, here.)
But, it wasn't just the roots of Christmas that upset them. No, as they read the verses on generosity in the Bible and thought about the true meaning of generosity, they just weren't sure if this whole Christmas thing was right.
So, I am not sure how or when, but our children began to ask us if we would consider not giving them gifts for Christmas. Oh, you might think this was a sweet moment, maybe even a proud parent moment. But it wasn't. You see. Jeremy and I had never bought our children very much at Christmas time to begin with. In fact, we don't buy our children many gifts at all. So, Christmas time has always been sort of a fun time for him and I to go out and get things for them. We would get them each three small gifts, each gift specially picked for that child. So, when they asked us to not give them gifts, it wasn't an easy thing for us. So, as Christmas approached, we compromised and decided to just get them each one gift, and the rest of the money we would have spent on them, we let them have to give to charity.
As you read that you are probably thinking "oh, that is so wonderful". But, it wasn't wonderful. You see that compromise wasn't going to last. Tyler Ann, our oldest daughter, was certain that God's word told us not to participate in pagan holidays. She also was certain that Christmas was a pagan holiday. She continued to push us to look into it further. The more research she did on it, the more research I did. I was trying to find answers to show her that Christmas centered on Christ was ok, and good and acceptable. But, for every verse I thought I found to convince myself, I found even more that showed me that Tyler was on to something.
It was an uneasy feeling. It was not the answer I wanted to find.
To be continued...