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View Full Version : How careful/sensitive/respectful are you?



Melissa541
09-06-2010, 02:56 PM
In inclusive playgroups or co-ops, how careful are you to be sensitive or respectful or quiet about your own beliefs as they differ from others' in the group? Do you keep quiet when the religious ones are discussing their beliefs? Do you ask your children not to discuss, say, their views on evolution?

Our "inclusive" activites begin this week; most of the families who take part with us seem to be Christian. If there is anyone like me in the groups, I don't know about them. The women with whom I interact, as far as I know, are Christian.

I'm trying to decide if I should allow M1 to use her "Evolved Homeschooler" bag for co-op, or have her take another one? Do I wear shirts with sleeves long enough to cover my new, beautiful nearly-half sleeve tattoo? Do I continue to tell my daughter not to start any discussions about why she believes the bible is "just a book"?

I wonder what my fellow heathens do to try to fit in or fly under the radar, if you do at all? Is it respectful and sensitive, or is it just keeping quiet?

Teri
09-06-2010, 03:11 PM
With our co-op friends, an evolved homeschooler t-shirt/bag would be very appropriate. I would not wear it to any of the homeschool conferences in Texas, though.
Aren't you in the Dallas area? Which group are you joining?

Melissa541
09-06-2010, 03:33 PM
We're in REACH in Rockwall and a homeschool girl scout troop.

Teri
09-06-2010, 03:47 PM
They are pretty explicit that they are an open inclusive group. I would feel comfortable showing the tattoo and sporting the evolved homeschooler stuff.
There is not a single mention of a higher power or a statement of faith on their website...I think you will be fine. :)

laundrycrisis
09-06-2010, 03:57 PM
I personally desire that when a group is "inclusive", others would come to it with mutual respect and an understanding that it is religious "neutral ground"...meaning I wish the religious folks would come to it understanding that it's not the place to "let their light shine". So in the spirit of "do unto others", I keep our non-religious status to myself unless I'm asked a direct question that I feel relates to it (ie, "why don't you join the xyz Christian coop, it's right in your area !" or "so are you using Sonlight or Abeka ?") I will never bring it up first; but if someone makes the assumption that we are religious, I will correct it. But I don't show up with Tshirts or tote bags or buttons or car decorations that announce anything. (I may consider a dragon necklace though. That would be cool.)

So far the creation/evolution thing has not presented itself with our kids and other kids. I am teaching DS1 that different people believe different things, and that what other people believe is their business, and what we believe is our business, and that it's not polite to argue about these things; likewise it's not okay if someone else gives him a hard time for not believing what they do.

Really I want to display tolerance and respect and not put anything out there in an in-your-face kind of way that might make others uncomfortable or feel awkward. (However I wouldn't feel bad about something small and non-confrontational that might be a clue to other secular folks. Maybe we should adopt dragons as our secret symbol ? Dragon necklaces, little silver dragon pins, and little homemade bracelets with a single dragon charm ?) Anyway I'm going with "do unto others". It's not what all of the "others" do, but some do, and it's what I feel good about.

mommykicksbutt
09-06-2010, 04:48 PM
I've found that "inclusive" is inclusive as long as everyone is christian. I belong to an "inclusive" group as well. It is the only one here in our area of Spain. Sonny and I are conveniently late so that we miss the starting prayer and are busy elsewhere in the immediate area (but not to be found) during the adjourning prayer only to reappear for clean up time. This is a group that does not have a statement of faith, no where anywhere does it say that the group has any religious leanings but there you have prayer and praises to jebus and sky daddy. Sonny and I just keep our mouths shut. I bite my lip a lot during those get-togethers and sonny does not join in on any evolution or religious discussion. He either keeps quite or walks away.We do this not out of respect for them but rather for our own safety. I've seen some christians very willing to commit violence against those who don't share in their delusions.

chelleah
09-06-2010, 05:37 PM
I have always said to my child to always be true to herself, always be herself and not what others want her to be. When we first started homeschooling, the group she is in with would get together and all start talking about the bible, god, mainly jesus etc etc and she would often join in as she had been encouraged to share her views by them, which is only fair. Problem was as time went on, and the more people with the same beliefs, it almost became like they were ganging up on her. These people are very emotional and passionate about their beliefs and they do not like anyone either questioning these beliefs or confusing them with beliefs that are different. So now she tends to weigh the situation, if she feels strong enough, she will stand her ground and speak, other times she will just sit quietly and get on with her own stuff until its time to go home. Heartbreaking, hey.

Melissa541
09-06-2010, 05:51 PM
With our co-op friends, an evolved homeschooler t-shirt/bag would be very appropriate.

When my littlest is a bit bigger & better able to handle a longer drive, I'm totally joining your co-op!



I generally tell DD not to ever, ever, ever tell anyone that something they believe is true isn't true.


I am teaching DS1 that different people believe different things, and that what other people believe is their business, and what we believe is our business, and that it's not polite to argue about these things; likewise it's not okay if someone else gives him a hard time for not believing what they do.
We're really big on teaching respect for other views. M1 has had her feelings hurt a few times when she's been outspoken during prayer sessions or discussions children around her have had (for instance, a girl told her that President Obama is evil because he put poison in Barbies. Huh?!). I want her to be able to defend her views, so it's a balance, isn't it? Maintain respect for others, but know when it's okay to speak up.


Really I want to display tolerance and respect and not put anything out there in an in-your-face kind of way that might make others uncomfortable or feel awkward.

I totally agree with you, here. I think perhaps my girl's bag may be a bit too in-your-face, bright yellow and Darwin as it is. :)


jebus and sky daddy

This sounds like the best crime-fighting duo ever. :)

Melissa541
09-06-2010, 05:54 PM
it almost became like they were ganging up on her. These people are very emotional and passionate about their beliefs and they do not like anyone either questioning these beliefs or confusing them with beliefs that are different.

Yes! This is exactly what's happened with my girl. It IS heartbreaking. And infuriating.

schwartzkari
09-06-2010, 06:06 PM
My daughter joined a homeschool art class last week. It seems to be "inclusive" and the program makes absolutely no mention about religion in their brochure. My family does practice reformed Judaism but we are incredibly laid back, we don't usually discuss religion unless it is with our family and our homeschooling is not based on religion at all. Live and let live, that's my motto! :) I did instruct my daughter to be respectful during her first class, explaining that some children might have different views about the world. Turned out, there were only 3 children in the class and of course, 5 and 6 year old girls have better things to discuss than religion ;)

However, I can tell you I won't be making any friends with the parents there. Most of the vans and cars that showed up had those popular "Jesus fish" on them. I tend to lay low and feel things out before I'll express my views or thoughts. Just smile politely. I don't think your tattoos should be a concern at all...goodness, I wonder what would happen if my husband showed up to homeschooling functions with me? He has several tattoos and wears a cowboy hat. LOL.

dottieanna29
09-06-2010, 06:21 PM
So far religion has not even come up at any of the homeschool gatherings I have attended. I'm in a pretty liberal, secular area of the country though - I think the majority in my area is evenly divided between Catholic, Jewish and Hindu.

I have one friend who I talk to often. I know she is a strong Christian and homeschools in part because of her conservative beliefs. But, I have absolutely no idea her stance on evolution or anything else (although I know she teaches using Alpha Omega Lifepacs and always has - her kids are high schoolers now). We just don't discuss it. So, I guess my view would be - don't bring it up unless someone else does and then, in a truly inclusive group, it should be okay to bring up your view/beliefs and have a respectful discussion. I would dress however I like and show my tattoos but I may not wear/carry anything that makes a strong political/religious/viewpoint statement unless I knew a lot about the group and knew it would not cause discord. If I joined an inclusive group and found that it was predominately Conservative Christians (or Republicans for that matter) that were very vocal in their viewpoints/opinions, I'd probably find another group because I'd probably leave every meeting feeling annoyed.

fbfamily111
09-06-2010, 08:24 PM
When asked we always tell the truth about our beliefs. We don't expect others to understand or agree, and in the end we don't really care if they do or not.

InstinctiveMom
09-06-2010, 11:10 PM
I don't worry overmuch about what others think. I try not to offend outright, but if you're offended that I believe something different than you do, then I am not the one with a problem. I'm a live and let live type; one of my favorite quotes is something about religion being like a rhinoceros - beautiful and fascinating and powerful, the world would be a smaller, sadder place without them; but I don't have one and I sure as hell don't want to be trampled by yours. If people are respectful of my beliefs, then I am respectful of theirs.

If the group professes to be 'inclusive', then that, to me, says that they're INCLUSIVE - accepting of any and all faiths, beliefs and religious persuasions. If they're not inclusive, then they shouldn't be advertising that they are. An inclusive group gets what it gets - I would never want to hide who I am or what I believe in, nor would I encourage my children to do so in an attempt to pacify religious extremists or narrow-minded bigots.

However, that said, if I were in a position of needing to make contacts in a new environment, I might feel that it was okay to 'tone it down' a bit for the first meet-up - at least to ascertain whether or not the group would be a good fit for me and my kids. If it was, then the next meeting I'd me more comfortable sharing a little bit more about myself. If it wasn't, then I'd hardly feel comfortable going back.

Our group just re-vamped it's policies and says 'inclusive and secular', but adds that we celebrate holidays from many religions and that religion as a topic of academic discussion or respectful sharing in a 'satisfy my curiosity' kind of way is permitted, though evangelizing is absolutely not. The bag and the tattoo would both be welcome and commented upon with both envy and adoration in my group ;)
~h

farrarwilliams
09-06-2010, 11:41 PM
Hmm. I haven't been in that situation, but I generally tell DD not to ever, ever, ever tell anyone that something they believe is true isn't true.
Totally agreed.

I know that every group has its own vibe and expectations. However, I personally wouldn't want to be a part of an "inclusive" group that made you change how you act normally in order to fit in. If you would normally use that bag and show your art, then I would do it. Of course, there's a fine line between going about as you usually do and purposefully pushing things on people. I certainly don't think a bag with a slogan crosses that line. IMHO, having a 100% check your belief system at the door policy is unrealistic. Asking that people not engage specifically head to head about religion is one thing, but if you've got a bumper sticker on your car or you're going to miss a meeting because of a religiously related commitment or something - well, it's just not practical to ask people to not explain yourself or to scrape your sticker off or something. These things are part of peoples' lives. Moderators should help maintain boundaries and set rules, but it seems silly to me to try to keep your religious beliefs (or lack thereof) as some kind of top secret information that no one is allowed to know! How absurd.

Interestingly, there was a thread on a certain other homeschooling forum that I saw not too long ago on pretty much the same issue from the OPPOSITE perspective - a woman who was concerned about how her daughter might go up to the kids in their inclusive group and spout Christianity at them. The mom was keen to delicately head this off. Interestingly, some Christian homeschoolers told her never to squelch her kid from "witnessing" to people (sigh) and some secular homeschoolers told her maybe she shouldn't be in an inclusive group (also sigh - at least from my perspective - since she was clearly wanting to teach her kid how to cut that out in the wrong settings).

laundrycrisis
09-07-2010, 12:51 AM
Our group just re-vamped it's policies and says 'inclusive and secular', but adds that we celebrate holidays from many religions and that religion as a topic of academic discussion or respectful sharing in a 'satisfy my curiosity' kind of way is permitted, though evangelizing is absolutely not. The bag and the tattoo would both be welcome and commented upon with both envy and adoration in my group ;)
~h

I wish very much that I could find a group like yours where it is okay to openly be secular or follow a non-Christian belief system. I have tried for a long time now. The closest I have come is to know a handful of homeschoolers, mostly very moderate Christians, who are laid-back and tolerant people. These friends know that I don't share their beliefs and they are fine with it. However we are careful with each other to not pay much attention to what is different about our beliefs. When we are together, they don't put any emphasis on their religious ideas or activities, and I don't put any on my avoidance of their religion. With people who get to know me, it's definitely not a secret. However it's not the first or second thing I let people know about me either, unless it comes up in conversation as an assumption - then I feel that I have to gently correct it right away.

I only know two homeschoolers IRL who are completely avoiding Christian teachings and who are not uncomfortable discussing topics that run counter to Christian homeschooling ideas. These are the only people I speak openly with. I don't think that either of them has had any more success meeting other non-Christian homeschoolers...or with finding situations where they feel comfortable being completely open about it.

Ed Ditto
09-07-2010, 09:49 AM
I agree with the others here who have said, more or less, that if you preach tolerance you should practice it. If your faith gets you through a dark night and nobody's hurt by it, you won't get any guff from me.

Teri
09-07-2010, 09:59 AM
I hope I didn't give the impression that I am completely insensitive to differences.
I see our homeschool experiences being in three different categories:
1. Those that are sponsored by and run by extremely religious/fundamentalist groups. These interactions are very limited because they are very stressful for me. :p The homeschool conference is one of those. I had to caution Joseph to not go discuss that whole young earth-dinosaur thing with the Creation Institute.

2. Those that are independent classes created by a neutral third party. I would consider any museum classes, rec center classes and any other class like drama, music, ice skating, etc. that was not set up by a fellow homeschooler to be in this category. Here we would wear what we want to wear and talk amongst ourselves with freedom, but we would not discuss with other attendees what our beliefs are. I did have an experience a few years ago when the kids were taking ice skating classes and the other homeschoolers in the group were of the very conservative denim skirt variety. They actually latched onto us and became very friendly. We were even invited to a birthday party. When asked which curriculum we used, I explained that using a secular curriculum was very important to our family and told them the name and left it at that.

3. Those that are directly related to our homeschooling group. Our group is secular and inclusive and it is kept that way. I know who is of like mind and will openly discuss my views with them. We have had LDS, muslims, jewish, christian, UU, atheist, etc. in our group. As long as we keep religion as an "informational topic", we haven't had problems.

noddyknitter
09-07-2010, 11:24 AM
Interestingly It is not just in a homeschool playgroup or coop setting that your kids can get "ambushed". I am lucky in my area, our HS coop is all inclusive and mostly secular. However, I also shopped for that.

My kids got the most grief on the playground at school. It started with my son in Kindergarden. What is it with 5-6 year olds? They would ask him if he believed, and he finally just started telling them yes. We are fairly non religious and had not really prepared him for that sort of thing. We pretty much had never spoken about religion at all and don't go to church. Then last year in 4th grade he made friends with an evangelical. I really had to have discussions with my passionate son about why he had to be understanding with his friend. I think they worked things out as I got no calls from the mom and they stayed friends until the end of the year.

My daughter was being secretly converted by her best friend's mother at age 4.... I finally blew up when I found out that she had been shown a "crucifixion" movie twice without my permission. The mother really had a hard time understanding why I was so angry. I am not sure which is worse, showing my 4 year old child a movie where a man is tortured to death at the end or that the movie was "not to graphic" for her... I am pretty sure that if I had sat her daughter down in front of Harry Potter or something like it she would have been pissed! That was 4 years ago and I am still a bit bent about it.

So my 2 cents is that in any situation the "religion" question can pop up. I am trying to bite my tongue a bit more and stay quiet. I am also teaching my children tolerance and a bit about the Christian religion because in all honesty they should not get a blank look on their faces when someone mentions a story like Noah. I am trying to teach them to be open minded and respectful.

Wilma
09-07-2010, 12:24 PM
Well, hmmm. Personally, I find not being able to be yourself is stifling. If you are in Texas. I feel there are plenty of groups to satisfy the people who really want a totally Christian experience. Here in OK, people of your mindset feel they are in the minority and are afraid to join any group, so even the inclusive ones are predominantly Christian. But there are plenty of Christians who are not YEC, read Harry Potter and let their kids listen to Van Halen. Also, discussing does not mean evangelizing. DH and I have often discussed exposing our kids to opposing viewpoints and the bottom line is, different is fine, it's when you fear the opposing viewpoint that there is a problem. The fear often leads to militant behavior. We want our kids to be able to welcome discussing differences in a respectful manner.

If it is truly inclusive, they will welcome the differences. If they are like the people in our hsing group, they will be glad to finally have a chance to meet some different people!

Rebecca in Texas
09-08-2010, 03:15 AM
Melissa - I probably wouldn't be open about my liberal beliefs unless I was talking to someone that I knew was very open-minded. I live in a small town, where almost EVERYBODY, is Christian. I normally call myself Christian, but I bet, if I was to tell people (Christians) exactly what my beliefs are, they would be horrified. Since everybody I know is Christian, I handle it this way. I believe that there is an energy that connects us all (God?) and I believe that positive attracts positive (prayer?). When I'm around very vocal Christians, I just try to apply it that way. When people ask me to pray for them, I say sure. What I will do is more like meditation and sending good vibes. If they talk about God, I just try to think of it in the way I believe. It's hard for me to say this in a way that makes sense. : ( Do you get what I'm saying? I just try to be open-minded about what they believe and try to focus on the ways we are alike rather than different.

Having said that, I can NOT stand to be around what I call "church talkers"! Ugh! That drives me crazy! Frankly, it just gives me the eebee jeebees!

With regard to the ink on your arm: If they don't like you because of THAT, run as fast as you can from that group! That's just ignorant. It's your body! It's not like you're coming to playgroup in a thong and stripper boots! You don't do that, do you? I really wanted that to be MY thing...

Fiddler
09-08-2010, 06:44 PM
With regard to the ink on your arm: If they don't like you because of THAT, run as fast as you can from that group! That's just ignorant. It's your body! It's not like you're coming to playgroup in a thong and stripper boots! You don't do that, do you? I really wanted that to be MY thing...

I really, really, really love this forum. :)

Busygoddess
09-09-2010, 12:54 AM
Ok, I'm not part of a support group or co-op, so feel free to completely ignore this post.
I always try to be respectful of others' religious beliefs in any situation. My kids know that people believe many things & it is not their place to tell someone that something they believe isn't true whether it's Santa or God. We stand or sit quietly (sometimes with heads bowed) while people say prayers. If people get pushy with their religion, I try to be polite when telling them to back off. However, I don't think that being respectful of others' beliefs extends to intentionally hiding who I am.
I try to avoid conversations of religion with most people. However, if asked I will not lie. I actually have a harder time being respectful of people's beliefs about 'the First Thanksgiving,' the Bering Strait, Christopher Columbus, whether or not ADHD really exists, disabilities & psychological conditions, etc. Those topics are much more likely to have me biting my tongue & walking away to prevent the very disrespectful responses that want to come flying out of my mouth.
As for tattoos, I currently have 5 and will be getting at least 1 more. One of them is in a spot that is only seen by my husband and doctors. The others however, if people see them, they see them. If someone is offended by the fact that I got a tat, that's their problem not mine. As long as the tat isn't something obviously offensive, like a scene depicting Satan killing Jesus, there shouldn't be an issue with it.