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  #21  
Old 11th December 2010, 11:11 PM
FSM FSM is offline
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Thanks for the all the responses everyone, I'm impressed I got so many so quickly!
Much food for thought.

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Originally Posted by Aldaron View Post
I think your child will be fine at a RCC school. As long as you make sure you teach him/her how to think critically, the nonsense isn't going to sink in - what you do is far more important.

*snip*

If there's an excellent public school around, go there by all means. But don't let ideology get in the way of a good education for your kid. If you don't take the religion seriously, it will be no different to Santa or the Tooth Fairy - something funny for the kids when they're little, to be shrugged off easily when they're older.
That pretty well sums it up for me I think if I relent on the Catholic primary school thing. Of which I'm probably going to have to do I suspect.
And you are right, it is really an ideology thing because I'm now such a staunch atheist.
But maybe it really is no different to Santa when they are that young.
Come to think of it, I kind of like the idea of

Yes, I would detest giving my money to the Catholic church. But the same can be said for many other things in my life too which I'm against, but ultimately grudgingly go along with because it's the best or only option.

It's not just that the wife wants our kid to go to a Catholic primary school, it's the same school she went to, so there is much sentimental attachment.
She has mentioned the actual religion there is about as minimal as you can get, and that was 25-30 years ago when she attended. It's probably just an ethics class now as many have mentioned.

I'm more concerned with the christening though, as I really feel like I must take a stand on that one. But I guess I'll have to cross that bridge when we come to it.

Thanks
Dave.
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  #22  
Old 11th December 2010, 11:36 PM
Sir Patrick Crocodile Sir Patrick Crocodile is offline
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Default Re: What to do about Christening & Schooling?

Mate, remind her that it isn't just her kid; it's also yours. You helped make the baby, so you get to decide some things on what happens to it. "No brainwashing or indoctrination" is not a bad start. Note that I have no experience at parenting; but I used to be a kid when I was younger.
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  #23  
Old 12th December 2010, 12:39 AM
hereshegoesagain hereshegoesagain is offline
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Default Re: What to do about Christening & Schooling?

Hey! I'm new here too....

Look I went to a catholic school from years 6 - 12 (prior to that went to public primary), and although my Dad is catholic, my Mum isn't, and the reason they chose it was because the public schools in our area were dodgy and they couldn't afford independent.

I'm not sure these issues apply to primary school, but I absolutely hated it, particularly from about year 9 onwards.


Main reasons for hatred at school:
  • Very old-fashioned, nothing innovative or cutting edge about the education received
  • Students (even the most senior) were given little autonomy, teachers were condescending and independence was not encouraged
  • (May be different interstate, and also my school was low-fee) General culture of low educational aspiration. The girls were groomed for hairdressing apprenticeships and mid-range university courses. Not that there is anything wrong with any of these things, but I was extremely academically focussed, and excellence of any kind was not encouraged. Better to be in the middle, but have strong "social justice" values. This was reflected in their overall poor year 12 results, although some did well despite the school's apathy in this area.
  • Although I agree with many of the above commenters that religion was kept to a minimum outside maybe 10-12 compulsory "school assemblies" (cough cough *church services*) and religious classes which were very tame, but there were some notable differences between my education and that of my public school friends. For example, in sex ed we were taught the Billings Method of contraception (ha!). In medical school we were taught about the same method - best used as an aid for couples trying to get pregnant. Despite the positive things wikipedia has to say, it is a fairly rubbish method of contraception... particularly when taught to teenagers where other issues like STIs come into play, and where the consequences of an unwanted pregnancy could be devastating.
  • Although never a christened catholic, being around so many who identified as such and the subliminal messages that we received continuously for 7 years, I actually found myself wishing to be catholic. Towards the end of my schooling I made enquiries about "becoming" a catholic officially. However, as mentioned in my intro, I met a delightful heathen who helped turn it all around for me, and in fact going to university and actually switching my brain on helped me to no end...
Pros
  • One of our religious studies units was titled "universal principles", and covered common themes throughout all the major religions. It basically taught me that all religion originated as crowd control, and very definitely began priming me for atheism.
Your situation is really tough, and I can't say what I'd do. It would probably end in an argument and me calling my partner a hypocrite or similar, which wouldn't be terribly productive.

Good luck!

Last edited by hereshegoesagain; 12th December 2010 at 12:41 AM. Reason: grammar
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  #24  
Old 12th December 2010, 07:27 AM
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Default Re: What to do about Christening & Schooling?

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Originally Posted by FSM View Post
I'm more concerned with the christening though, as I really feel like I must take a stand on that one. But I guess I'll have to cross that bridge when we come to it.
I think the best angle of attack here is to push the concept that religion is a decision that we should make for ourselves when we are old enough to do so. If your child wishes to be baptised then that should be their own decision when they are older. Emphasize that it would be would be very much contrary to your personal beliefs and that you feel it is unfair to be asked to compromise on something that your feel very strongly about.

Warning: "mush alert" !
You could even try giving her some of her favourite chocolates, taking hold of her hand, looking lovingly into her eyes and saying "If you really loved me you wouldn't ask me to put aside my deeply held beliefs" (And then hope she doesn't divorce you!)


I also believe that once baptised a catholic you stay on their records as a church member for life, and it can be quite a process to get yourself removed. Infant baptism is a pretty meaningless concept, and it sounds like your partner is not likely to believe in nonsense such as your child will go to hell should it die unbaptised.


As far as the school issue goes I have always been somewhat wary of catholic schools, but have heard people say recently that the religious component of their catholic education was not really all that 'full on'. I attended a private school which was affiliated with the Uniting Church and ended up a staunch atheist.

We were in a position to be able to send our kids to a private school and this posed a bit of a dilemma for me since virtually all private schools have some sort of religious affiliation. We have been very happy with the school we chose, and religion is pretty much just one RE session per week (and none in Year 11 and 12) and an annual church service. The RE has incorporated some comparative religion sessions which I think is a good idea (they visited a mosque, a buddhist temple and a synagogue). My kids have not been influenced by the religious education at their school and I have provided the other side of the story for them. I think the most important factor is to find a school that meets the educational and social needs of your children.

If you send your kids to a private school then I guess you have to accept there is likely to be some aspect of religion taught. I personally support the idea that comparative religion should be taught in all schools since religion has such a strong cultural influence and needs to be understood as a social influence. Ideally I would like my children to be taught about religion but not be taught to believe in a religion. Like many atheists I don't believe that religion should be taught in government schools (other than comparative religion).
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  #25  
Old 12th December 2010, 07:42 AM
FSM FSM is offline
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Default Re: What to do about Christening & Schooling?

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Originally Posted by BlueDevil View Post
I personally support the idea that comparative religion should be taught in all schools since religion has such a strong cultural influence and needs to be understood as a social influence. Ideally I would like my children to be taught about religion but not be taught to believe in a religion. Like many atheists I don't believe that religion should be taught in government schools (other than comparative religion).
Well said, I couldn't agree more.

Dave.
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  #26  
Old 12th December 2010, 08:11 AM
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Default Re: What to do about Christening & Schooling?

FSM, just a couple of thoughts.

Your wife has a vested interest in your daughter going to the same school. It will be pleasing to her. It may well give your wife a warm fuzzy feeling knowing her daughter (and yours) went to the same school. You need to take this into account.

Secondly, if you have some concerns about the issue, I think you need to raise it with her, but also give some options. Just saying no, without any other input is going to get your wife off side with you. And that is not your intention.

Let her know you understand her reasons behind her idea, let her know your concerns about the issue, think about options together. It may well be that the local catholic school is the best in the area anyway. Critical thinking is your friend if this is what happens, and you need to supply this.

But i can guarantee that if there were 2 schools in the area, about the same level of education, your wife is always going to pick her old school.
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  #27  
Old 12th December 2010, 08:51 AM
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Default Re: What to do about Christening & Schooling?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wolty View Post
Your wife has a vested interest in your daughter going to the same school. It will be pleasing to her. It may well give your wife a warm fuzzy feeling knowing her daughter (and yours) went to the same school. You need to take this into account.

Secondly, if you have some concerns about the issue, I think you need to raise it with her, but also give some options. Just saying no, without any other input is going to get your wife off side with you. And that is not your intention.

Let her know you understand her reasons behind her idea, let her know your concerns about the issue, think about options together. It may well be that the local catholic school is the best in the area anyway. Critical thinking is your friend if this is what happens, and you need to supply this.

But i can guarantee that if there were 2 schools in the area, about the same level of education, your wife is always going to pick her old school.
Of course, and I think that's her main motivator which of course I fully understand. She had a good experience there, claims it is the best primary school around (I have yet to investigate), and has an emotional connection. The attached church is also where we got married. It is also one of the closest. Add all that up and I seriously doubt I'll be able to talk her out of it. I'd have to offer a up very convincing evidence that the school has gone downhill in some way and that another one is vastly better.

I'm sure if we lived somewhere else and had a clean slate, she would just pick the best sounding school after some investigation.

Anyway, it's a couple of years down the track. The christening thing will no doubt come first, and that I need to prepare for!
Perhaps I can offer a up a compromise - no christening, but I agree on the primary school (if it's as good as she claims).

Thanks
Dave.
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  #28  
Old 12th December 2010, 08:57 AM
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Default Re: What to do about Christening & Schooling?

Quote:
... push the concept that religion is a decision that we should make for ourselves when we are old enough to do so. If your child wishes to be baptised then that should be their own decision when they are older. Emphasize that it would be would be very much contrary to your personal beliefs and that you feel it is unfair to be asked to compromise on something that your feel very strongly about.

... saying "If you really loved me you wouldn't ask me to put aside my deeply held beliefs"
What the fuck has belief got to do wtih it? This puts atheism on exactly the same plane as religion. I do not recall telling my children that when they were old enough, they could decide whether or not to believe in gravity, only that they should always learn how things worked.

Quote:
We were in a position to be able to send our kids to a private school
As were we, but after reviewing the options we did not, although we both went to private schools of high standing. Extra travel is a bitch. Friends not local or at another school is a bitch. Teachers are much the same and largely a matter of chance. Money utterly wasted on a private school otherwise buys more learning: more books, more computers and software variety, more holidays to funny foreign countries and more hobbies shared. Some parents are too scared to let their children learn, and a school based on who has enough money* does not solve that.

* and in my case, minimum standard achieved in prior education, never mentioned when they proudly point to their academic "achievements" at the other end. Selection bias was one of my early observed lessons in statistics.

Quote:
I think the most important factor is to find a school that meets the educational and social needs of your children.
I agree entirely. Also, I advise people who ask that "social needs" means a stable and intelligent group of accessible friends, not a social class.
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  #29  
Old 12th December 2010, 09:01 AM
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Default Re: What to do about Christening & Schooling?

I think the compromise on the christening is very fair, but wait until you hear the expectations of the church (and maybe family) and what problems it could end up in if you don't... wait for the guilt trips.

Start prepping for that conversation now
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  #30  
Old 12th December 2010, 09:06 AM
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Default Re: What to do about Christening & Schooling?

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What the fuck has belief got to do wtih it?
"Beliefs" was probably a poor choice of wording. Give me a break...it was early Sunday morning when I posted, after a late night. I m sure most people got the gist of what I was saying without being too pedantic.
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