Monday, November 16, 2009

The Fast and the Furious

Madison has a best friend at school. She's an adorable little girl that was also in her Kindergarten class last year and now sits next to Madison in the 1st grade. Sara arranged Madison's first real play date for her and her friend at our house one day last month. In the middle of the night Madison became ill. Unbeknownst to us at the time, her friend also became very sick. Her mom called us the next day to warn us that her daughter was sick and that the doctors thought it might be the swine flu.

Madison was really sick for a little more than a day and then began to recover. Her friend, however, became more and more ill. It is extremely serious. She is currently hospitalized in Intensive Care and has been put into a medically-induced coma. Whether or not it really was the swine flu, we don't know. She is now battling pneumonia. She's already missed five straight weeks of school.


Yesterday at church Madison learned about fasting from her Primary teacher. Later that afternoon, Madison excitedly suggested that we should all fast for her friend to get better - and so we did. She loves her friend. We used the opportunity to talk more about fasting. We skipped dinner last night and both Madison and Brooklyn even wanted to skip breakfast this morning to get their two meals in.

I hadn't been home more than 10 minutes from dropping Brooklyn off at preschool when her teacher called. She said that Brooklyn told her she couldn't eat the snack because she was fasting, and the teacher wanted to make sure she was understanding everything correctly and that she respected our wishes. I explained about Madison's friend and how Brooklyn was excited to participate, but that I didn't really expect her to skip two meals. She could certainly have snacks if she chose to.

Madison also told her teacher that she was fasting for her friend and classmate. Her teacher said that was a very nice thing to do. Lunch, however, brought with it an entirely different response. Madison easily fasted all the way until lunch time and was quite happy to do it. She really loves her friend. We had talked earlier in the morning about saying a short, silent prayer before she ate to properly end her fast. She's not the least bit timid about praying in public - at restaurants, Disneyland, wherever.

As she lowered her head at her table, one of the school's staff [name reluctantly withheld] interrupted her by saying, "You stop it with the silly prayer thing."

I'm pretty steamed about this. I'm ready to launch a crusade. It would have been one thing to say, "I'm sorry Madison, but the courts have removed God from schools." But to belittle a six-year-old for something so innocent as asking a blessing on her food??? Nearly 85% of the country believes in some form of god. She wasn't baptizing her friends with sprinkles from her Juicy-Juice or preaching the four horsemen from her lunch table. Madison quoted this verbatim several different times this afternoon, so I don't think she's making it up. I told Madison I wanted to call the principal to talk about it and she freaked out, "No, please don't call the school. Then I'll get in even more trouble. That's what happened to *Jimmy* (not his real name). The same thing happened to him and his mom called the school and then that teacher got him in trouble for telling. Promise me you won't call."

This wasn't helping to calm my ire at all. However, I agreed to not call the school at this point. I do want to talk to Jimmy's parents just to corroborate Madison's story about their son. This may well be the feather that tips my scale. We allow Satan in schools, so why not God? Fair is fair, right? But that's not even what I'm upset about. I'm mad that an adult at Madison's school - an authority figure - a role model - took a position like that and would denigrate a small child that had not done anything wrong. Is Madison supposed to feel ashamed now? Is she supposed to apologize? Does the teacher believe she saved Madison from heading down the 'dangerous' path of a god-fearing person? Why could the teacher have been more like Brookie's teacher? A simple phone call - "Did you know your daughter prays? With your permission, I'd like to give her a switchblade and a pack of Camels so she doesn't start to think she's actually a good person."

Why do we, the 85%, allow the other 15% to dictate all of the rules. We're the ants in A Bug's Life. There are waaaaay more people on our side but we feel weak against our would be grasshopper oppressors. If we were to ever unite under a common cause, no prayer-hating lunch supervisor would stand a snowball's chance.


I recounted to Madison the Old Testament story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego - three young men that were persecuted for praying. Brookie summed up the lesson nicely, saying that even if they're tossing her in the oven like Hansel and Gretel, she'll just keep right on praying.

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SMDStudio said...

Oh, that makes me so sad. What an awful thing. I also thought of the story of Alma and his people when they were being oppressed by Amulon (I think that was his name) and they had to pray in their hearts. Tell her Auntie My is very proud of her for praying and fasting trying to help her friend. We will keep her little friend in our prayers, too.

Leslee said...

I agree with My. Please let us know how Madison's friend is doing. I, too, am very pleased with Madison and encourage her to continue to pray in her heart too. You are doing a wonderful job teaching your family correct principles. Keep up the good work.

Sierra said...

I felt like crying reading about how humiliated Madison was made to feel. Do you want me to write a letter to the school? It's a free country, and that expressly includes the freedom of religion. Not just to be free from it, but also to be free to practice it, wherever we feel like it. I'm pretty steamed that someone would be so belittling over a silent lunch prayer.