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Saying grace in school before lunch

(292 Posts)
iambach Sun 18-Sep-11 22:02:09

My children attend a small rural school which is 'non-denominational' but everyday they are made to say grace before they are allowed to eat their lunch.

Part of me thinks its harmless as my children will form their own beliefs from all their life experiences not just school, it's just at early primary school age they are so impressionable. It has made for some interesting conversations at our dinnner table and tbh it is hard to explain to them. They see things so black and white, if the teacher says there is a god and i say i don't believe to them i am almost going against what they are being taught by teachers they respect.

Aibu to feel a bit annoyed about this? My Dh feels much more strongly about it than i do, he thinks it is ridiculous!

Nanny0gg Sun 18-Sep-11 22:07:37

Is it a 'proper' grace, or is it as we used to do, just a small 'thank you' and an acknowledgement that they are lucky to have nice food when so many have nothing?

squeakytoy Sun 18-Sep-11 22:12:06

There is nothing wrong in saying grace before a meal. It doesnt mean your children will turn into evangical god botherers who insist on dragging you to church at every given opportunity... smile

It is just a good way to calm all the children and get them sat down to eat their lunch.

iambach Sun 18-Sep-11 22:14:15

It is a thank you but it is to 'god'. I don't mind at all if they want to sit down and say a few words about being in a privilaged position of being healthy and having food and receiving an education, it's thanking god that i mildly object to.

BatsUpMeNightie Sun 18-Sep-11 22:14:45

It's just a routine thing. As squeakytoy says it's unlikely they'll be knocking doors and signing up converts any time soon. And be thankful that it might save them from becoming Scientologists.

I think it's a nice thing to do anyway so YABU I'm afraid

lechatnoir Sun 18-Sep-11 22:16:01

I totally agree that giving thanks for a meal, sitting down together, time of calm etc is great but is it totally necessary to thank lord jesus christ (as they do in our non-denom school)? Really bugs me too if it's any consolation!

Feminine Sun 18-Sep-11 22:16:28

Any kind of Thank you is a good thing these days.

I would be happy for mine to say it.

iambach Sun 18-Sep-11 22:17:28

Squeakytoy- surely in a non denominational school god shouldn't even come into it. Unless there is something particularly calming about the word god that i haven't realised, doesn't work on my kids as they often hear my proclaim 'oh my god'!

justabigdisco Sun 18-Sep-11 22:18:08

I remember saying grace at primary school
'for what we are about to receive
may the Lord make us truly thankful'
recited as quickly as possible, then scoff scoff scoff


workshy Sun 18-Sep-11 22:18:42

we used to say
Thank you for the food we eat,
Thank you for the world so sweet,
Thank you for the birds that sing,
Thank you God for everything. Amen

I wasn't religious and neither were my parents -we had some athiests in school who's children were pulled out of anything even vaguely religious and they were picked on constantly
if that is the level of it then I would ignore it
my childrens dad is athiest and he didn't want them to be involved in the nativity or anything but I think learning about christianity is important and unless they are ramming it down their throats then I would just go with the flow

we start alot of discussions with 'some people believe' in our house lol

Every school has to have an act of worship every day even non denominational schools. Saying Grace is a way of fulfilling this.

squeakytoy Sun 18-Sep-11 22:21:16

(shrugs).. unless you are going to tell your kids that there is no such thing as father christmas, and that the easter bunny isnt real either, then in my view, saying thanks to a man in the sky for your fishfingers and mash is no different either... children get older, they then realise that beliefs are just that, beliefs..

iambach Sun 18-Sep-11 22:21:27

Saying thanks is great. Thanks to the parents who provide the lunch, thanks to the dinner ladies who do the school meals, thanks to the teachers for their patience, many things to say thanks for , just irritates me that they'd never think to say thanks to the people doing the hard work but they'd think to say thanks to a guy half the kids have never heard of!

justabigdisco Sun 18-Sep-11 22:23:09

it means nothing to the kids, they just get told to say it, so say it...
I forgot the 'Amen' bit off mine haha

BatsUpMeNightie Sun 18-Sep-11 22:24:10

........... but they'd think to say thanks to a guy half the kids have never heard of!

That, in my opinion, is a gaping hole in their educations! As has been said before, nobody's asking them or you or anyone to believe if they don't want to but surely they should at least know? Weird thing to get wound up about - have you nothing else going on?

catsrus Sun 18-Sep-11 22:24:49


If the school describes itself as non-denominational I would expect it to be christian in character because non-denominational usually means christian - just not of one particular denomination (like RC or C of E) so of course they would say grace hmm.

NorkyPies Sun 18-Sep-11 22:26:19

Can you just say that 'God' is another word for 'the good'? It helps that the words are so similar.

MotherJack Sun 18-Sep-11 22:43:02

Nondenominational means not of or related to any religious denomination, according to the FreeDictionary, catsrus.

I was brought up in the day when all school made children say grace and sing traditional hymns. As I was not brought up as a christian at home, it meant little to me. It was just part of education at the time. My parents told me their beliefs (Agnostic), I sang hymns and thanked god for my food at school and yet still made my own mind up which is different from both my parents and what I was taught at school.

In short, I wouldn't worry iambach. Whatever you both think, and whatever school implies through them saying grace your child will be a fully rounded human being through experience and probably also make his or her mind up for themself as they get older smile

rhondajean Sun 18-Sep-11 22:48:47

Its funny what they pick up though.

DD2 (age 7) attends a non denominational school, comes home to our non religious house, and insists on saying her prayers, and has a very deep religious streak in her, real interest in Jesus etc.

DD1, on the other hand, has decided she is some variety of athiestic Buddhist.

Both have attended same schools and nursery, and if anything DD2 has spent less time than DD1 with the religious members of the family. WTF is going on there?

exoticfruits Sun 18-Sep-11 22:49:16

There are no secular schools in England-they all have the state religion. If it is a community school it is just broadly Christian without being affiliated to any particular branch.
Your DC will make up their own mind about religion when they are older so I can't see the harm in hearing other views.

Blu Sun 18-Sep-11 22:50:50

I don't think a community, non-faith school should do this, but i doubt it does any harm.

Teach your child to mutter:

For what we are about to receive, pigs would refuse' as we used to do
'hands together, eyes closed' (was always said by teacher) followed by us muttering 'don't forget to hold your nose'.

Explain to your DC that some people thank god if they believe in god, you just feel thankful that you are the lucky people in the world who have good food to eat every day, because not all peple do.

exoticfruits Sun 18-Sep-11 22:51:27

They make up their own mind, rhondajean, some people want a spiritual side and some don't. There is no reason why people should follow their parents or why DCs brought up in the same way should think the same. We are all different.

CustardCake Sun 18-Sep-11 22:54:01

exoctic is right- there are no "non religious" state schools in England. There are CofE schools which may be very churchy or not depending on the Head and the Governors and then there are normal community schools bound by law to have an act of worship daily of a Christian nature. Saying grace quickly before lunch covers this obligation I guess. As worship goes, it is probably the least offensive to strong atheists as we should remember to be grateful that we have food everyday and are educated and safe and together even if we don’t believe it was God who made this happen.

PassTheSpookyTwiglets Sun 18-Sep-11 22:54:28

I would be furious about this so I don't think that YABU at all.

rhondajean Sun 18-Sep-11 22:55:11

Oh I totally agree exotic, I just find it amusing that at such a young age they have such widely different view points - usually they havent quite worked out having seperate beliefs so early on!!

I think I remember reading that the reason the CoE agreed to state schools was because they included a daily act of worship, I think theres much discussion at the moment about whether its right or not in some circles.

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