” Christmas is about…
giving to others,
reindeer, and Santa!”
This little essay came home in our first grader’s schoolwork folder last Friday. Our youngest, Levi, is only six years old. Just about the most adorable thing ever, right? Doesn’t seeing a child remember the true meaning of Christmas want to melt your heart?
It wasn’t until later, Saturday evening, just three weeks from the excitement of Christmas Eve, that he showed me his assignment. In school, the class was asked to complete the following prompt: “Christmas is about…” Essays are to be reprinted in our local paper, The Morgan Messenger, and posted in the hallways at the school.
What you see above, is exactly how his paper was returned home. However, I can barely bring myself to relay what an adult has added to his paper. You see… something…, something very disturbing happened to the creation of my child’s heartfelt telling of what Christmas is to him. Something has been removed from my six year old’s words as he simply expressed his feelings of what Christmas is about. He managed to capture the essence of the true meaning of Christmas amongst all the commercialism, the decorations, the hoop-la-la! Levi stated simply the heart and soul of the season in his first thoughts. As a parent, it is hard work to compete with Santa-side of this holy time of year, isn’t it? The fact that he begins by remembering Jesus’ birthday makes this mama so proud. However, you will be surprised to discover what happened to his words, “Jesus’ Birthday”.
They were edited out – by the school.
Levi’s paper was sent home with the words “Jesus’ Birthday” marked through with several thick, black, lines. Not a note from the teacher. Not an explanation. Not a comment.
Levi was devastated. So was I.
Explain that to a child!
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11
Now, a Monday evening after a long day at school, my brave little six year old sits curled up on my lap. After body slamming his brother off the couch and throwing books at his sister, Levi surprisingly steals a moment to climb on my lap and cuddle – just the two of us.
It’s been quite a day for my little man. Back to school after expressing his joy that Christmas is about Jesus’ birthday, Levi found himself in the principal’s office with the two other little guys that expressed the same. What began as a fearful trip down the hall, Levi wondered once more if he was in trouble for his words. Just as Friday at school, he wondered if he had done something wrong. Although we assured Levi he did no wrong, this walk to the Principal’s Office terrified my little man.
Fortunately, unknown to him, some adult conversations had taken place. The first graders were told that they would be able to re-write the assignment AND they would be allowed to write about Jesus. Levi’s words to me were that “he has to do it over.”
Hummmm. I know. Not exactly the joy I had hoped for. Doesn’t seem fair, does it, if I look at it from his perspective. For now though, I think I will just sit here and hold him in my lap as long as possible (or, as long as he’ll let me – or, before he no longer fits).
Fortunately, this can be a learning opportunity for us all: Levi, me, the school, and of course, the individual that censored a child’s Christmas paper. It is not my intent to generate hard feelings at all; because I truely believe God has a plan in everything, right? A tough lesson for my little boy, perhaps by hearing about it, you too can be aware of the issues at hand. Remember, it is our constitutional right to free speech (even when you’re only six). Also, it is one of our most basic civil liberties to be able to worship as we choose. Cherish that, please, and don’t ever let your kids forget it.
As for a lesson, well…sometimes adults make mistakes too. In the meantime, I thought that I would share the following publication: just in case you find yourself in a similar situation. (I hope you don’t)!
Copyright © Angie Hott, Moms of Faith, All Rights Reserved