Tuesday, September 20, 2005

more on the weirdness

Just thought I would keep everyone posted on the visualization exercises Evangeline's class is doing at school.

At Back to School Night on Monday, I managed to get a minute with the teacher and asked her about the meditation exercise Evangeline had told me about. Evangeline's description was fairly simple, but essentially correct. After lunch and recess, the children are supposed to settle down and relax as the teacher reads to them from a book of meditation exercises for children.

During this exercise -- Evangeline told me they didn't finish it Monday, because some of the boys kept talking and couldn't keep their hands to themselves -- they visualize a ball of pure light filling their bodies, and then their guardian angel takes them to their special garden as described, where they hang their worries on a worry tree.

I thought it was amusing that the teacher, obviously aware that I was concerned but not yet knowing why, tried to reassure me that there was nothing religious about the exercise. There can't be, since it's a public school. Still, as I responded, it's undeniably spiritual, and it's a fallacy of our generation that you can be spiritual without being religious. (Though I'll definitely grant there are plenty of religious people who aren't at all spiritual.)

She showed me the story they're using right now, and is going to make me a photocopy so I can read it more in-depth at my leisure, and she also offered to remove Evangeline from the class if I was concerned, but as I pointed out, exclusion can cause other problems.

What it boils down to is the teacher is trying to provide the children with the skills they need to relax and settle down, and meditation is a fairly ancient way to do that. I joked, "Well, at least you're not having them write down the messages they get from their guardian angels" -- and regretted it almost immediately as she said, "Well, that's next."

Duh! Of course it is -- it's the step I'd have next too. Not the messages from guardian angels, which isn't what she meant, but the idea of writing down what they visualize. It's a school, innit? The kids are supposed to learn how to express themselves through writing.

In the meantime, my christocentric interpretation holds, and I told the teacher I had provided Evangeline with that understanding of the exercise, but I still feel a little uneasy about this. Almost everyone else I've spoken with or heard from does too, including non-Christians who are bothered by the use of the guardian angel. I'm going to hold off saying anything else until I've had a chance to read the exercise for myself and decide based on that information if it's worth pressing the issue, and how.

Did I mention I'd rather be homeschooling? At least then I only have to worry about racism in Bob Jones University textbooks, the lack of critical thinking in A Beka books, and other problems you find in homeschooling curricula.

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