Tuesday, August 14, 2012

thoughts on homeschooling & felt banners...a replay


Homeschooling families can get a lot of questions when they tell friends and families about their educational choices. What about socialization? What about physics and calculus? What about the babies?...legitimate questions all...the question I can't abide is: What about the prom? I really disagree with letting a one-night event be a part in such serious decisions- should our children go to a brick-and-mortar school? Perhaps, but it would be for a combination of many reasons that doesn't include a dance.

A couple of years back, a visitor at the Divine Liturgy was talking with a semi-permanent parishioner who she knew from our Catholic homeschooling group. I was so happy to have a visitor from the group as it doesn't happen often (what with all the confusing incense, "pictures"-icons- and that married priest). I overheard "so you go to Sacred Heart too right- and what about John's First Communion?" so I fled into the kitchen, knowing that we would soon be losing the parishioner and her lovely family.

There is just something about making felt banners with mom and the smell of that hot glue gun. There is something so strong about that photo with a little seven-year old with his praying hands draped with a rosary. The classes, the veils, the suits- so important that even the Byzantine rite in the United States waited until the age of reason to allow Eucharist to our children up until very recently. Sometimes the traditions of today override the traditions of many, many years. In the Byzantine rite, infants receive  baptism, confirmation and Eucharist, but we until recent memory decided to conform ourselves to the majority rite so our children wouldn't miss out on the dresses and parties and checks from Godparents. Perhaps there is deep theological significance to receiving sacraments early or late, but it usually comes down to "I don't want my children to miss out on the dress."

So the First Communion classes won out, and the family is no longer attending our Byzantine Catholic mission. My family does meet socially with them, and the parents sometimes complain about their parish of 5,000+ families. They regularly compliment my husband on his singing and preaching, but only when he is substituting at the Roman-rite parish. They have their felt banner on display. I hope my children will be okay because they didn't make one.

6 comments:

  1. Interesting reflection on such events. Lately, I've thought about the process of Roman confirmation. My head scratching is derived from the process of picking a confirmation saint (in CCD class). It kind of morphed into something paid lip service to, than anything else. Again, this is only my perspective on it, after thinking about how in the East, all three processes occurred at once. It apparently was the same way for the Roman church, but that changed with the context of unavailable bishops, at the time.

    Now, as I think about it (with my limited exposure to Eastern theology), the choosing of a Saint doesn't bear as much significance, as days of yore. Especially when I think of that Saint name was meant for time of Baptism; and the child was to take on the name of that Saint for life (unless that person was to legally change his/her name to something else). This is only one aspect, out of many, causing me scratching my head about latter day Roman practices.

    Speaking of Baptisms, Filipinos have a funny tendency to have floods of Godparents for their kids. This creates a perception of checks from the Godparents being more important than the intended role of Godparents, in the eyes of the church.

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    1. yes...godparents...shouldn't they be the most RELIGIOUS people in your life instead of the richest?

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  2. I'm sure your children will be fine sans nice outfit and felt banner (not that I thought that you were really worried...). Jewish kids who go to public school survive years and years of "what is Santa bringing you?", and "missing out" on other such rituals expected by their friends. As we both know, it works out. It is a way of proclaiming your identity- These are my rituals, and the other, more popular ones just aren't for me- I have my own special things, even when they don't "line up" perfectly. I'm sad that your former parisioner didn't have that pride in their identity and beliefs.

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    1. Rabbi- even with us the 'Santa' thing is brushed aside- we Byzantine Catholics give small gifts in honor of St Nicholas (who morphed into Santa) on his feast day December 6th. I'm sure you will agree that it is important to build a family culture- hopefully with some other families that do the same things

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  3. We homeschool and attend a Roman Rite parish (the Byzantine Rite parish in our area has too many issues to go into, which are directly related to certain parishioners, NOT the Rite or the priest himself). We are lucky that our parish allows us to homeschool for the religious education requirements, and when I was talking to the office about First Communion for our son, the lady said offhandedly, "IF he's participating in the service, he'll want to make his felt banner at the Jesus Retreat--" and I pounced. "He doesn't HAVE to take First Communion with everybody else?" "Well, no...you can do it whenever he's completed the books, just let us know so we can put it on the canonical rolls." "THANK YOU!" "Won't he want to make his banner?"

    We've seen the zoo that is the formal First Communion service, and with the girls and boys paired off looking like brides and grooms, and I could tell my son was mortified at the idea of doing it like that. He would much rather we invite his grandparents on a particular day, and go up on his own and receive Jesus without turning it into a spectacle. We can always make a felt banner at home if he really, really wants it. When I received First Communion (in the Roman Rite), I was one of two kids, on Easter--I don't know when the Church decided that all the kids had to do it together and be herded like cattle and endure all those flashbulbs on the way up to receive a sacrament. Honestly.

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    1. I think they do it all at once because logistically it is easier-- but it's wonderful that your parish was flexible!

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