Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Muslims and the Preschool........

I am associated with two schools which I sometimes discuss here in 'comments'...  One is a preschool and I would like to talk about an incident that was touching and, I think, informative.

The preschool is a part of a church and "church" is in the title of the school, but we get parents interviewing us and asking "Do you actually talk about Jesus?"   The answer from our Director, of course, is always 'Yes'.   We lose a few, but not many.  There is no preaching but there are age-appropriate stories from the Bible from time to time, fun Christian songs, and the children learn prayers from time to time, learn Judeo-Christian values, and certainly celebrate Easter and Christmas at the school.  They also, on occasion, join the church service on Sunday and sing songs they have learned; the parents love this.  SO, I get to my story...

Last week was the Preschool Graduation Ceremony where little awards were given and we who guest-teach 30 min. classes each week on certain subjects, have the children show off what they've learned.   During this show and dinner which we hosted for the children and their parents, I saw something worth talking about;

A MUSLIM FAMILY from Saudi Arabia ("I am a Prince in my country") joined our preschool about eight months ago,   They asked about Jesus being mentioned at the school and our Director did not shirk (she actually wondered if this difference in religions was a good match herself, anyway) and said Jesus is definitely a part of our school, and...they enrolled.   All has gone very well.  Somehow, without bilingual education, their little girl has even learned a lot of English!  

Last week's Graduation was just starting when I saw the Muslim family come in (I had never seen them as their child doesn't come to school on the day I teach my particular once-a-week class) .  They were not hard to miss as the mother had a Chanel scarf wrapped as a hijab around her absolutely gorgeous, flawless face.  She was also wearing a rather roomy beige coat buttoned up to her chin on that warm evening.  The husband was relaxed and cool in his short sleeved shirt and slacks, a skinny man who's appearance, if you don't mind my saying so, didn't seem to merit her simply beautiful face. They had the little 4 year old who attended our school and an infant in a stroller.  They sat down at one of the tables and watched the show.    It was touching to see their smiles and to see the father join, with his camera, the parent-paparazzi as they all stood up holding cell phones and cameras in the air above others' heads in order  to catch the action on stage!  All the parents looked happy and very proud.

Later, the show was over and everyone was in line getting the dinner which was served to the whole group, and a friend of mine and I passed by this family as they sat at the end of a long table.  It was clear they were not participating in the dinner, but they were still there.  The Muslim man suddenly handed me and my friend a small cup and we realized it was something very hot, coming out of a thermos he had brought with him.   We accepted with smiles and thank you's and took a sip;  it was like a mulled wine tea, strong with herbs and ginger, and quite good.  As I thanked the man, he reached into a bag and brought out a plastic container with dates and opened it and offered me some.  I only took one, which killed me because I love dates, and it was delicious and I thanked him.  Despite the language problem, he made his point of being gracious and generous and I made my point of being very thankful and delighted at his generosity and thoughtfulness.

As I walked away with my friend, both of us sipping our brew, I said "Don't tell ME you didn't think 'now we're all going to die', what's in this stuff?"  She said it hadn't crossed her mind and then we both burst into laughter. A little nervous humor never hurts!

One of the teachers at our Christian preschool is Jewish from Iran.  Yes, she is, and some on the School Board hesitated to hire her because teachers take turns doing a 20 minute weekly chapel for the children.  This Jewish woman steps up to the bat and does a charming Christian chapel for the children, always including Jesus.Near the end of the dinner, the Muslim family still there, I looked over and saw our Jewish teacher in some kind of conversation with the Muslim couple... I say "some kind of conversation" because how they communicated is beyond me, but perhaps the Muslims have learned enough English in the months they've been here... ?   Anyway, I said to a friend "Look, the Jew and the Muslims at the Christian preschool...isn't that good?"    

It was a good night. Would that the world could be like that.  Would that we could all trust enough to 'drink from the cup...'

But, because of the flawed, even horrifying reputation other muslims have perpetrated, it's not so easy, is it.   I felt that family is aware of that and that our school had always put them at ease...a good thing.  What a tangled web......

z

38 comments:

Rita said...

What a fabulous story Z. All of my Indian friends were educated in Catholic schools in India. They were educated in the Catholic religion and never once have I heard any of them talk as if they were being forced. They were taught a great deal about Cathocism and Christianity but yet each of them are very much Hindu and Jain, yet like to celebrate our Christian holidays too.

Nice to hear that your Muslim family understood the school was religious based and embraced the cultural difference instead of what we hear on our televisions of families (even American families) insisting a religious school stop teaching their child religion.

Brooke said...

That's a good story, Z!

Always On Watch said...

For 18 years, from 1978-1996, I taught in a private Christian school. We had some Muslim students in Grades K through 12.

Never any problem to speak of. None of the Muslimas wore hijabs while conferencing with teachers and attending school functions, the latter always held in a neighboring church as we didn't have an assembly hall. Not even the mothers.

The Muslim students memorized Christian hymns and Bible verses just as all students were required to do, but the Muslim students' parents did not allow their children to bring a Bible into their homes (The students learned their verses at school -- somehow). Also, when it was time for a student-led morning chapel, held in each classroom, the Muslim males refused to read from any holy book other than the Koran. The school didn't allow that, of course.

One of the students in my class became a Christian while attending the school and wrote an essay about how she couldn't ever tell her parents about her conversion. A few years after graduation, she died of breast cancer.

As I think back on those days, the one huge problem we had with all our Muslim students except for the one who converted to Christianity was CHEATING. They always said, "This is part of our culture." Their cheating was almost like a contest: "Can the teacher beat me in this game?" Strange.

Lisa said...

I wish the rest of the world could learn the same tolerance for all religions we have her in the U.S.
Of course except some atheists in our country.
Nice to see all 3 religions come together like that Z. I laughed at your nervous humor statement Don't tell ME you didn't think 'now we're all going to die', what's in this stuff?"

Silverfiddle said...

Most people that come here, regardless from where, realize what a great place the US is. A few noisy activists always seem to ruin it for the rest of us.

As I've said before I've never met a "bad" Muslim anywhere in the US or in Southern Spain for that matter.

Z said...

Lisa "Don't tell ME you didn't think 'now we're all going to die', what's in this stuff?""

How could I NOT, right? We really did laugh!

Rita...We almost had to take funds from the State but we knew that once we did that, we probably wouldn't have the freedom to be true to the faith our school was founded on...so we didn't.
Your information about friends from India is exactly how it SHOULD BE here in our country, thanks for that.

Brooke, thanks!

AOW, perfect. CHEATING...this is something the American culture doesn't grasp but that's exactly right. And much of that is from PRIDE, making sure they got the best grade so CHEATING is allowed. This is one reason many experts on islam warn against those we think are nice..because they may say one thing and (cheating) feel very differently inside. Our CIA always seems lame to me in re to islam. Today, finally, I'm beginning to wonder if it's lame on purpose, if you know what I mean.
I'll never forget hearing stories about how the CIA would send out operatives who had learned Arabic only to realize that they'd learned "high Arabic," not the Arabic of the streets. That should be LANGUAGE CLASS NUMBER ONE; only learn the peoples' language, not that of their academia. geeeez!

SF...The thought that all muslims are 'bad' is pretty naive, isn't it. All of NOBODY is bad. The prison population is not ALL BAD !!
Mr. Z and I used to go into a very muslim area just outside the heart of Paris for couscous...it was fabulous. We'd be in small restaurants with nobody BUT Arabs in it...it was odd as it would be for anybody being amid absolutely ZERO 'white people' but it was fun! After 9/11, most of my American friends didn't take the Metro anymore... things changed.
Bin Laden's lawyer brother lived very close to us. As did Arafat's wife! (and Olivia de Haviland and Maria Callas's apartment was very near me, for those of you interested in that kind of stuff!)

And yes, a few 'noisy activists' ruin it for the rest....if they'd just stay 'noisy activists' and not become 'murdering activists', we'd be even less nervous.

conservativesonfire said...

@ AOW
I noted the same thing with Indian students when I was at college.

Z, a great story. Thanks for sharing it.

Ed Bonderenka said...

An NSA op I know went to dinner in Dearborn with me. He ordered. Utter astonishment on the waiter's face. He asked what part of the ME my blond, blue-eyed friend was from.
Language skills are good.

Ed Bonderenka said...

An NSA op I know went to dinner in Dearborn with me. He ordered. Utter astonishment on the waiter's face. He asked what part of the ME my blond, blue-eyed friend was from.
Language skills are good.

Louis H. said...

Isn’t it the intent of Islamacists to plant seeds of distrust among Muslims, Christians, and Jews? It is what makes these scum terrorists, yes?

Z said...

Louis H. said...

Isn’t it the intent of Islamacists to plant seeds of distrust among Muslims, Christians, and Jews?"

I'm not sure, Louis; I suppose so. But, of course, terrorists don't want to be feared because then we're on our guard. I keep praying that more and more muslims will step up and condemn terrorism. So far, no good...only very few.

Ed, that guy REALLY speaks good Arabic! my mother, though not Egyptian, was raised in Cairo...she's forgotten that language...she had auburn hair and has very light blue eyes.

Con Fire, seems to me that the Indian community has always fit right in; excelling in school, contributing to neighborhoods, etc....interesting, isn't it. Maybe they're just so grateful to get out of India...? :-)

Ducky's here said...

Bin Laden's lawyer brother lived very close to us.

--------

After weeks of advanced training in explosives at one of Osama bin Laden's Afghan camps, Raed Hijazi, a onetime Boston cab driver, was ready for his mission. The chemicals for the explosives were stockpiled. The targets were selected, the homemade detonators wired. New York Times 2001

Boston? He was in Everett two streets over from me.
We get the elite here, z.

Mark said...

I don't know enough about Muslims to say much, but there was a convenience store in Kansas City, Ks, I frequented that was owned and operated by Muslims, and they seemed very friendly.

But, After 9/11 I didn't trust them. Perhaps a measure of distrust would be a good idea anyway.

Impertinent said...

"But, After 9/11 I didn't trust them..."

Their cult and ideology make my skin crawl..as it should for all freedom loving Americans.

Until I see One Million muslims march on DC waving the American flag and singing God Bless America...and denounce their islamist, murdering, terrorists and their sharia political ideology co cultists like CAIR, MB and every American hating Iman...I'll keep them as our enemy.

Period...no leeway...not one scintilla of acceptance.

Impertinent said...

"Maybe they're just so grateful to get out of India...? :-)"..


Amazing isn't it? The worlds largest Democracy and a huge crap hole of poverty and filth. Funny how a country with so many gifted people...can't stay there and fix the damn place.

It's always...leave there to come here...and force us to adapt to what they left...and abandoned.

beakerkin said...

Z

This is a Christian thing because I do not recall non Jews at Yeshivas.
They do attend Yeshiva Universities
Grad programs and are at other Jewish colleges.

Ducky's here said...

Amazing isn't it? The worlds largest Democracy and a huge crap hole of poverty and filth. Funny how a country with so many gifted people...can't stay there and fix the damn place.

--------------
Not funny at all. It's an extremely difficult problem when the majority of the population is farmers and the expansion of capitalism actually makes their situation worse.

Tough to dig out of that hole. Muslim, Hindu, Jain, Sikh or Christian.

The Beautiful and the Damned: A Portrait of the New India by Siddhartha Deb gives a very good insight. Pick it up.

Always On Watch said...

Conservatives On Fire,
We also had students of Asian Indian descent. Cheating among them was not as pervasive.

Impertinent said...

"Tough to dig out of that hole. Muslim, Hindu, Jain, Sikh or Christian..."


Another good reason for them to abandon their superstitions for a more productive life? Wouldn't you say?

Ducky's here said...

What superstition?

They are up against the economic reality of trying to expand the quality of life in a country with a huge agricultural class.

China, most of Africa, Central America all grapple with this very difficult problem.

It's economics. Religion has NOTHING to do with it.

Leticia said...

Wow! Z, what a beautiful story! I am so honored that you shared such a wonderful experience.

Muslims do tend to have bad reputations, and even though, I vehemently disagree with their culture and religion, I love that it is possible for all religious folks to get a long and even share some grub.

Impertinent said...

Duck...all religions are based on the same things. And as far as I can see....it's kept many countries ( mainly in the ME ) from progressing into the worlds bounty.

Z said...

Leticia, thanks!

I thought it was a good story...all absolutely true, of course.


I HAVE AN UPDATE! Was at the preschool for a minute today and the receptionist tells me the muslim dad brought another muslim friend 2 weeks ago to look over our school for that friend's kid(s?)

God works in strange and beautiful ways.

Ducky, I left out the myriad stories about the bin Laden in our Paris neighborhood. Thanks for yours.

AOW..I can't imagine the Asian kids I know cheating...we don't have any Indian kids at our high school, but I hope we get some.
I'll tell you we have a LOT of black kids and many graduated Magna Cum Laude, even as rigorous as our curriculum is. I love to see broken the generalizations that so many lay on kids. feels great.

Z said...

Blogger Impertinent said...
Duck...all religions are based on the same things"

really?

Impertinent said...

"I'll tell you we have a LOT of black kids and many graduated Magna Cum Laude.."

Then that good news should be patented and sold to the Feds for some successful stats in way too many schools in the country.

Impertinent said...

"really?'


Yes...a higher power a flawless, unquestioned super natural being and scriptures provided by man.

Z said...

Imp, our teachers CARE, their parents and our scholarship committee are making sure they can be IN our school which cares...

Our campus isn't on rolling hills of green pastures with ivy covered walls and chi-chi little towns nearby...it's in LA, admittedly in a nice area of LA, but it's small and our teachers are young and TOUGH.
It shows to me it's the parents and the teachers which make a difference, NOT a lot of dough. And that all kids can flourish if they've got half a brain and ours obviously do, black or white....much against the generalizations we see and the Trayvon Martin's of the world who play the system and lose every single damned time.


Re Religion...some might think that, yes.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful story.

It's the 10% of crazies that usually create problems.

But it shows one thing: the United States of America is one of the rare countries, if not the only one, where people of different faiths coexist peacefully.

FrogBurger

Anonymous said...

"It's economics. Religion has NOTHING to do with it."

It's not a comment on Muslims but more on that simple statement...

Not so sure you can separate the two. Economics, materialism vs spirituality, economic development through science and reason (and individual liberty) vs poverty and superstition. All that stuff is pretty intertwined.

FrogBurger

Rita said...

Ducky: Thanks for the reading tip. I'm fascinated with my Indian "family" and their culture. I'm looking for the book on my new Nook as we speak.

Impertinent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Impertinent said...

Another topic...the racist, scumbag, criminal AG....gets a contempt vote tomorrow.


Nice eh? The first Black AG gives the bird to 300++++ dead Mexicans...one border agent and calls us Cowards?

How ( excuse me ) fucked up is this? And of course...the race pimps will ignore this POS illegal antics....and defend this liar...( along with Obama who hasn't the guys to fire this bastard ) and further screw up and set back race another 70 years.

Z said...

Imp, did you know that half of the 7,000 sheets of documents Congress wants are from a Bush operation before Obama? Unbelievable. Think the news would let THAT information out? But, it was right out of the horse's mouth.
So 7000 of the 80000 requested by Congress isn't even part of the deal.

This is incredible...the stonewalling Holder's doing is amazing and there would be 8" headlines if it was a Republican doing this. As it is, I've been clicking onto CNN when I've been home and watching news and I've seen nothing ON the contempt situation....
anybody seen anything there?

nicrap said...

...talking of superstitions ... this place is enchanted, for sure - the work of some necromancer, perhaps (could that necromancer be you, Mrs. Z? I hope not. ;)) - for i left a comment and it disappeared without a trace. :)

Kid said...

IMP, I agree, holder, oblabber, and michele have set race relations back about 70 years.

Thersites said...

Blogger is occassionally unstable, nicrap. I hope it wasn't a long comment. Perhaps you should imitate my posting style... long bursts of relatively short posts. ;)

Right Wing Theocrat said...

Nice story Z. Thanks for sharing it.

Anonymous said...

Nice story.

All you need is one rotten apple in the bunch and the entire situation unfortunately goes down hill.

I get the feeling that there is a lot more similar cases like that but because they simply made no issues they were not noticed.

The probability is that either the Iranian-Jew spoke Arabic or the parents actually do speak English. Many Iranians know Arabic as it was forced down their throats in Primary School and a large number of educated Saudis speak very good English, perhaps the parents know it but were shy to let it out.

I have a high-school teacher daughter and she said that it was really going fine in their school (here in Gibraltar) and then one Pakistani-immigrant family (after living 10 years in London) came with their activism and started asking for exemptions from events they considered not clearn and then after being told that they were free not to participate in certain events, asked for deductions in their school fees! At that point the partents of the two Jewish children in school (two twin girls, very cute and smart) got nervous and pulled their kids out to another school, ..... just in case. Really sad, the wrong family got pulled.

Damien Charles