A few years ago I helped the ePrince apply for a fancy-pants private school. While going through the application process there was a lot of information that the parents were required to provide. In the aftermath of this process, I learned that the application was not about the ePrince, but rather our family’s ability to fit into the shishy-school community. I guess the school was just as dubious about us as we were them. At first he didn’t get in and I was way pissed. Then he got wait-listed. Then he got in. And after all that, decide to attend school elsewhere. Yet, before the Shishy-School application was due, I was up until the weeee hours writing 2 small [sic] paragraphs so as to express my snarkiness about ePrince’s religious indoctrination and why I, as a bad mother (coz that’s how the questions made me feel), have not taken his ass to church on time – or even regularly. And the next day I came down with the a nasty flu-bug the lilEinstein had. The illness kept me down for several days and I blamed the Church (pick one… any one, and all can be offended…) for my cooties.
Immediately after writing the tome, I decided to share my paragraphs as an ideological philosophy. Now I can see that I also wanted to show the factors that set us apart from other applicants. Without further ado, here is the effort in all its (edited to protect the innocents’) holy hallelujah glory::
Q: As parents/guardian, what is your attitude toward your son’s taking formal theology classes, as well as attending religious activities required by ShishySchool?
A: We support religious activities and formal theology classes. In fact, while enrolled at St. Catholic School ePrince participated in Diocesan instruction and also received religious education at the Jewish Community Center to connect with his biological father’s family heritage. Additionally, our son attended Southern Baptist services without any regularity with his great-grandmother until her death. Despite the lacking specificity of one religious ideology in our home, my husband and I have balanced our different belief histories by grounding moral and ethical values in sacred philosophies of the entire family. We encourage our children come into their own sense of theology based in education, spirituality and community experience. We believe that the Jesuit principles at ShishySchool also emphasizes our same values. Therefore, we respect and appreciate the religious training there because it is rooted in community service and education. ShishySchool’s mission of developing young adults as “agents of positive change” speaks to the heart of our own principles in parenting.
Q: Write a paragraph indicating the ways through which you as parents (or guardian) develop spiritual values in your family and community.
A: My husband and I have encouraged ePrince to develop a wider understanding of religious philosophy that makes up the different components of his family and we have never shied away from his learning about the different moral and spiritual values of the world. An ironic element of ePrince’s unique parentage is that each one was born into a family of disparate fundamental religious indoctrination. SpermDonor was raised as an Orthodox Jew until being Bar Mitzvah’d when he chose to eschew the precepts of strict Jewish law; the hubby was raised in the Diocesan Catholic tradition and has since come into his own Humanist experience of spirituality; and BitchinMama was raised in a faithful Southern Baptist community wherein my maternal grandfather was a travelling Minister and missionary throughout State and Country while my paternal grandfather was a founding Deacon of the First Southern Baptist. Our children are not wanting for religious stimuli, yet the one fixed aspect to our seemingly incongruent beliefs is that we all strive to be conscious consumers of our spirituality by taking personal responsibility for ourselves and our communities. ePrince has been raised in the spirit of activism and public service. His whole life has been about doing good works for others because we believe in leaving the world better than we found it. To demonstrate the tenets of our beliefs, we engage in volunteerism and social justice, always taking ePrince along to participate. These values have become a core element of the ePrince’s identity and so ingrained that he serves others often before thinking of his own needs. We believe that the academic structure with emphasis of Jesuit philosophy found at ShishySchool serves as a natural extension of our own deeply-held beliefs and moral dispositions.
How’s that for some fancy footwork that avoids all the snotty cussin’ I usually expend on the topic?!
When it comes time to write the same application for the lilEinstein in the future – as I am sure we will – I feel certain that we’ll include much of the same. But the lilEinstein’s life has not been much about participating in activism and truthfully I really cannot get the ePrince to go along so much anymore either. Though both are extremely helpful in their school communities and always receive praise for that. Yet at this point, I think the boys are following our (mine and the hubby’s) current lead and are more focused on the family and themselves. This is a disappointing turn of parental guidance for me, but in truth, the hiding out I have been doing until very recently has dominated most of the lilEinsten’s youth and he doesn’t know of a time that he might’ve been dragged to a rally or donated time at a soup kitchen; whereas the ePrince was always out-and-about with me on such adventures when he was little. I suppose there is a natural ebb-and-flow to such activities and I needed to get myself healthy and together after the bigC battle and myschool debacle. Now I am getting busy again with activities I care about so I am sure the lilEinstein will get exposed to some fun stuff. My lil’ guy has already learned a lot about electioning just from my most recent efforts to step into this community and, thankfully, we still have a lot of his childhood left to influence.