When the Small Child started at the Catholic school I worried for the first few months there that he’d out us for the godless non-church going hypocrites that we are. The concern turned out to be all for naught as it has eventually became evident that most of the parents at the school are also non-church going hypocrites too. Yay for the whole birds of a feather thing! I mean I wanted the Small Child to attend there because I know it’s a great little school with excellent programs and an educational environment where a modicum of respect for the teachers, parents and other students is encouraged and expected…. but you know that’s just me.
We switched the Small Child to the god bothering school after a few unsavoury incidents* reminded us (well mostly me) why I was generally prejudiced against public schools in the first place….. and I figured that being raised a Catholic hadn’t left any permanent damage on me (twitch, twitch) so we Teflon coated the Small Child and figured he’d be fine. I’ve noticed that it’s still a great school – but things have changed. It seems that it’s no longer the educational oubliette of hellfire and damnation that I remember with such fondness but rather it’s become more like a well mannered presbyterian youth centre really. Plenty of warm fuzzies but a little light in the ‘smiting from on high’ department (thank fuck).
It’s supposed to be that time of year when the whole Lent thing gets trundled out and there’s a story about the 40 days and 40 nights, lectures about sacrifice, an expectation of some personal forfeiture for the duration and a bit with a fish (on Fridays). Somewhere the schedule appears to have changed…. the teachers had arranged a special Pancake Tuesday (not Shrove Tuesday, note) breakfast of pancakes with jam and maple syrup etc. Normally this preceeds Ash Wednesday where they used to trudge us over to the church for mass (with the purple bits yeah?) and the little ash crosses on the forehead bit and then back to class to write up what we were ‘giving up for lent’. Well that’s how it went when I was little.
The Small Child’s class however only did the pancake bit and weren’t taken to mass and there was no ritualized application of oily burnt vegetation whatsoever. I mean what’s wrong with this picture? No fire and brimstone? No drumming it into the hapless children what horrible sinners they are? Tut tut tut. My how things have changed…. Sr Mary Gabriel would be turning over in her grave! (I’m pretty sure that miserable old woman would be dead by now… but the old ladies they do tend to live forever sometimes.)
Personally I’d like to be able to give up prescription medication for Lent… but then I wouldn’t be able to be burried in consecrated ground so there goes that idea. Anyway I’m no longer worrying that the school will find us out to be Godless heathens… but rather maybe they should be starting to worry that We (the parents) a’re onto them and we know they’re only doing a fraction of the amount of God bothering we expect for our exhorbitant school fees! 🙂
There was an occasion when the Small Child was in the public pre-school and two of the kids (5 yr olds) had stolen $30 from one of the teachers’ purses. The children were calmly and reasonably confronted with their actions and it was bought to the attention of the parents involved. One of the parents took the matter seriously and sat her child down for a serious talk about other people’s property and the evils of thievery etc. Then there was the parent of the other little perpetrator who, when told of her child’s infraction, proceeded to get indignant and basically felt the correct way to proceed was to rip the poor teacher a new arsehole for having the audacity to accuse her little darling of such a thing. I mean this parent was yelling abuse – liberally littered with profanity – in front of her child and in front of several other children. There was a few other parents around, a couple in shock with jaws dropped and a couple who were doing their damnedest to disappear into the wallpaper.
I happened to walk in during this tirade and saw the teacher burst into tears – she’s basically standing there taking it because if she says ANYTHING back it might be used against her by this psycho woman and her job could end up on the line. The crazy lady grabs her kid and goes to leave trying to push past me on her way out at which point I decided to weigh in. I told her that she had no right to talk to the teacher in that disrepectful manner and that the teachers had an extremely difficult job putting up with undisciplined and impertinent little brats like her son and when issues arise from the children’s inappropriate behaviour the teachers deserve support from the parents etc etc. She said ‘Fuck you bitch!’ So I laughed and said ‘Is that all you got?’ at which point she stormed off.
I spent the remainder of that year expecting to come back to the school parking lot to find my tyres had been slashed and was waiting for some sort of ridiculously disproportionate retributive action from the shoeless psycho bitch… but it never came to pass..