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Pagan or non Christian/ non religious nativity?

(16 Posts)
byanymeans Thu 18-Nov-10 11:11:59

Hi just looking to know how other Pagan or non Christian/ non religious parents have deal with the school nativity issue.
My Ds is 3 and at pre school. Yesterday he came back with a book of songs to learn for there Christmas 'show'. One of which is 'Away in a Manger' and I don't know what to do about it. I am going to tell them I will not teaching him this particular song at home (the others are Jingle Bells etc which are finesmile) but what do I do about letting him take part in the nativity? Me and my DP (also Pagan) have a had a chat but nothing came of it and now I don't know what to do?
I don't have a problem with the teaching him about different religious in fact I have friends and family who I have already asked to help explain there beliefs and customs to DS when he is ready to understand. I just feel very uncomfortable about the nativity's for young children as a wholesad and wanted to know what other parents do about them?

Kaloki Thu 18-Nov-10 12:36:08

I'd probably approach it as if it were just a normal play, a piece of fiction. I wouldn't worry about the song so much, I don't believe there is anything in it to be offended by. As long as they aren't saying "this is true, this is what you must believe" then no harm done really.

AMumInScotland Thu 18-Nov-10 12:48:25

I'm a Christian, so my viewpoint may be different, but I think that to a 3yo there's really no difference in doing "the nativity" and "Jack & the Beanstalk" or any other play. If he asks, you can tell him its a story that people tell at Christmas time, and they like to sing songs about the story. From memory, the words to Away in a Manger aren't bad either, they're just a song about the same story about a baby being born in a stable and there being animals there and stars above.

Unless the school are really pushing the "this is true and terribly important, you have to believe it" line, then I don't think its likely to bother him either way. Certainly he's more likely to be unhappy if you stop him from doing what all the others are, which makes it into a bigger deal than it would be to him otherwise.

TheFeministParent Thu 18-Nov-10 12:50:42

We embrace Christmas and accept that the nativity is part of the tradition of Christmas in the UK....quite frankly I get pretty cross when kids aren't allowed to do the nativity for one reason or another,.

AMumInScotland Thu 18-Nov-10 12:54:45

lyrics - actually the later verses are a bit heavier than I recall. But I still don't think a 3yo is going to think much about them, and will just classify them as "nonsense", or "fairy story"

sarah293 Thu 18-Nov-10 12:57:03

Message withdrawn

byanymeans Thu 18-Nov-10 13:26:07

Thanks for your views, I really don't want him to be one of these children who sit out and not be able to enjoy his time a pre school ether. I think the classifying it as a fairy story will work. I will also tell them that is what we have told him so they don't push it any further.

Though I am going have a word about the last verses of (they have asked him to learn)

.....'I love Thee, Lord Jesus
Look down from the sky
And stay by my side,
'Til morning is nigh.'

That is not fairy tale material.

Thank you for the your help

TheFeministParent Thu 18-Nov-10 13:31:40

Does your child get woeful at the thought of Humpty all broken? If not why would you assume he gives a shit about Jesus?

biscuitsandbandages Fri 19-Nov-10 23:42:12

We're muslim and happy to let DSs to nativity plays etc, don't mind him learning carols to sing for an event /play whatever but wouldn't be happy with him learning everyday hymns in assembly or whatever.

The way I see it, if we invite friends and their children round for an Eid party they ar not celebrating Eid, they are celebrating US celebrating Eid. Same with DSs and Christmas. They are taking part in a play that we believe is essentially fictional (as we have a different story for the prophet Jesus' birth) and I'm happy for them to be involved under that understanding. It is a play helping them learn what some of their friends and neighbours believe.

I dropped some Eid supplies in to nursery last week as they are covering it with the children (DS is the only muslim there) I really hope the other parents aren't going to be offended if their kids come home with ballons and stickers saying Eid Mubarak (Happy Eid) confused and pictures of a mosque coloured in confused - I hadn't thought of that before as we are so used to Christmas cards, Father Christmas turning up at nursery, easter eggs etc that I hadnt thought it could be a problem.

KarmaDevil Fri 19-Nov-10 23:46:46

We're a non religious family. I was brought up Catholic, DH Church of England. Both dds do the nativity at Christmas. I just let them get on with it, they see it as a story nothing more. Their school teaches about all religions so I have no worries really. Children are usually very accepting and just go with the flow.

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Sat 20-Nov-10 00:39:48

I'm pagan and when ds is older i'll let him be involved in nativities etc. Partially i think it's a usefull social education, lots of people do believe in it and it gives context to consume-mass, and partly so he'll have something to rebel against (there speaks my catholic up bringing). Oh plus the village school is c of e so i guess a concession for educating my son is fair. wink

Ps do feel free to join us on the pagan interest thread. smile

KittyFoyle Sat 20-Nov-10 00:48:43

We are not a religious household but my kids love Away in a Manger. They aren't bothered by the words but love it as a gentle bedtime song at anytime of year. I embrace everything so they can make up their own minds when they are ready - having been introduced to as much as possible. They love the nativity but are very keen on Diwali, Eid and Chanukah plus Samhain etc. We are a multi-festival family. Always something to celebrate and think about.

faeriefruitcake Sat 20-Nov-10 14:12:58

I'm pagan my children will decide their own faiths. They take part in whatever activities their class is doing but the teachers know not to make it personal. That has been they only thing I have asked.

Grockle Tue 23-Nov-10 21:49:05

I'm pagan. Last year, at nursery, DS was the only child to know that Christmas is about Baby Jesus (everyone else said it was about Reindeer and presents)

This year, DSis a Shepherd in the school play. I'm quite happy. He knows about Yule but I have no problem with him participating in religious things at school. I quite like the christmas story (although I believe it is just that: a story). I am proud of DS and, as long as he knows about Yule & our other celebrations, he can participate in whatever he wants to.

MrsSaxon Fri 26-Nov-10 19:48:08

If you want to let your kids make their own minds up about religious issues, which I assume you do, then it will be good for him.

I only bulk when teachers present the Christian version of events as facts, not one belief system among many.

Bet when you see him sing it you will well up though! smile

ChildofIsis Wed 01-Dec-10 21:13:19

Dd age 4 is an angel in her nativity which will be held in church. The school is a community primary with strong connections to the local church community. My opinion which is shared by the lady vicar is that if you are spiritual then it doesn't really matter what the name of the deity you follow. Surely it's about sharing as a community and being part of the local culture. I agree that my dd is about the only one who really knows the story of christmas, she knows more about christianity than most kids of ardent christians. IME pagans know a great deal about the worlds' religions and are not so blinkered as those who follow a monotheistic faith.

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