November 24, 2015, Chino Valley- Today was the last day of school before Thanksgiving Break. The concept of a two-day work week is a bit foreign to me, but I will take it, gladly. It’s the season of my birth, after all. I had the kids do homework, last night, and maintained my regular teaching regimen today, with one adjustment: Many children treasure the idea of making paper turkeys and Pilgrims. So, we spent the afternoon class hour, before P.E., following tradition. One little girl made an Indian headband, with a paper feather sticking out. Some made separate turkeys and Pilgrims. Others designed turkeys wearing an Elizabethan-Era hat.
This sort of fun activity, for elementary school students, harms nothing and no one. Some will say that “The truth about the Pilgrims must be told!” Yes, it does need telling, and to people who are of an age at which the black, the white and the gray can all be processed, and sifted out. Sharing such information, too soon in a person’s life, is exactly what has brought on the excesses of Political Correctness.
The Pilgrims and Puritans were dour, narrow-minded people, as regarded those of other faith traditions, both European and Aboriginal American. So, too, were the Spanish and Portuguese. Many of the Founders of the United States were slaveholders, men of their time. The best of these slaveholders were progressive in other ways, and some educated their chattel-people. None of that excuses their slaveholding, but therein lies a tale of lives lived in the gray.
I teach older students, when I am with them, to avoid throwing the baby out with the bath water, as it were. There has been, is, and will be, no public figure, aside from the Messengers of God, who is a paragon of perfection. Every person worthy of emulation also has aspects of his/her life that are less than savory, even despicable. So, one must choose the good elements, and sift out the bad- Wheat from chaff, as The Christ told us.
I will long adhere to things like playing Hallowe’en and Christmas songs, encouraging holiday art, and having birthday parties, when a child’s parents request them. Childhood should not be frayed at the edges. It’s when we have time to learn who we are, and build a firm foundation for life’s course.
Bring on the paper turkeys!