"Mama, today my teacher told us a story about Jesus. There was a man and he didn't like it that Jesus was the King. Then there were people that came with weapons, and priests, and they took Jesus to put him on the cross. They used hammers and put Jesus on the cross and then Jesus died. And then he went to heaven." said my little six-year-old when I asked what he'd done at school today.
I am thankful that here in Belgium, school and faith have not been separated. That my children attend a public school, with the advantage of it also being a Catholic school. They receive the benefits of a religious education that I could not offer them, being that I don't know enough of the stories of the Lord. I do not regularly read the bible, and I am not a huge religious fanatic. But, I believe in God, and I want my children to grow up knowing the teachings of the bible so that they are prepared to make their own choices about religion and christianity (or not).
Both of my children partake in the sacraments of the Catholic church, being that Erwin and I were both raised as Catholics, and that it's the prevalent religion of our area of Belgium. My sons are growing up with a knowledge that I do not have the tools to offer them. They will know the stories, and with that knowledge, they can decide for themselves what they believe in, and how they choose to live their lives. I don't push religion or faith upon them, but I support their learnings and offer them my views as we discuss the Lord, and say prayers and sing songs. We rarely attend church services as a family, but my children are still being presented with a basis of who God is. We had our sons baptised, Kaeden has received his First Communion, and Jari will be accepting Jesus into his heart in May. Kaeden will complete his Confirmation. And what does all of this mean?
Well, to me, it means my children are being offered a chance to learn. They are being given an opportunity to hear stories about our Lord, stories from history. Stories that have led to many disagreements between people and nations throughout the history of the world. Stories that have played a part in culture and language and values and beliefs. They are being given a choice.
So, when my son returns home from public school telling me about his teachings of the Bible, I feel thankful. The school is helping me teach my children what I would be unable to. And they are making religion and learning have a balance. And, to be truthful, I am learning from my son in the stories he retells. He is helping me remember stories from my own Sunday school days.
I am thankful that we have not been forced to separate school and religion. Today, my sons know what Easter is, why we celebrate it, and even while they are searching for hidden treats from the bunny, they will still be walking with stories of Jesus filling their head and heart. That is definitely something in which to be thankful! Happy Easter!