The Public School “Holiday Program”

Lest anyone think I’m a bad mommy, let me say that Moose was very cute at his program, with his red nose and antlers, and I was happy to go to the school and support him, and show him how proud I am of him!

Tonight was our first experience with the all-school “Holiday Program” at Moose’s school…when he was still in the early childhood class, they had they their own small program during the school day. I have to say that this circus…I mean, production…left me feeling drained of Christmas spirit, and disappointed in people in general.

Now, I’m not naive. I knew going into the program that we were not going to be hearing anything of the Gospel message, not even a whisper of why we celebrate in the first place.

I was not prepared for just how over-the-top secular it would be, though.

It started with Moose’s class, singing a song called “Christmas Is.” Now, you’d think with the word “Christmas” in the title, instead of the ubiquitous “holiday” that came out of the principal’s mouth every five minutes, there might be a little depth to the song. But you’d be mistaken. No, what Moose has been learning in school is that Christmas is “candy canes, Santa Claus, and time off from school.”

Very deep thoughts, there.

The rest of the songs were in the same vein. The closet we got to the true meaning of Christmas were a trio of piano solos: “Joy to the World,” “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,” and “Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabelle.” Notice I said piano solos, though…no lyrics allowed. Just background music for our evening.

Even worse than all that, (if you can believe it!), was the adult behavior we witnessed there. Maybe I’m just out of touch for what’s the norm at these events. I can guarantee you, though, that when I was a student, both at a Lutheran school in my elementary years, and a public high school, adults actually had manners at this kind of program.

During Moose’s songs, a woman a few rows in front of me stood, for almost the whole thing, so she could see her child. She wasn’t even taking pictures, (not that that would make it right)–she just wanted a better view. Never mind that she was almost completely blocking my view. And I saw other adults doing the same thing through the entire program, just standing right where they were, either to see, or to take pictures. Have some decency and go stand in the aisle at least, please!

And then there were the adults who talked through the entire program. Loudly. Well, except for when their kid was singing. But who cares about everybody else’s children, right? Other parents probably don’t want to hear their children sing or play an instrument, so it’s fine to talk through those performances. And the talking was the worst during the instrumental pieces. It’s like that didn’t even count as part of the program to most people…like it was little more important than annoying elevator music. Personally, I think it takes a pretty brave elementary school student to get up in front of a gym full of people and play a solo, (or even play in a small group), and they deserved the attention of the audience, same as each grade that sang songs.

But I suppose both of those situations were better than the entire rows of people who got up and left after their child was done. Look, nobody wanted to go after their child’s performance more than I did. But it’s rude to get up and leave in the middle of something like that, especially when the principal makes a point of asking people not to do so at the beginning of the program, (clearly this has also been a problem in the past). Sometimes you just have to do the right thing and stick it out, for the sake of all of the children there.

It makes me very sad that the Christmas season seems to bring out the worst in people. And it makes me angry that I let those people bring me down, too. I’ll be putting a lot of effort into reclaiming my Christmas spirit tonight–I think listening to the King’s College Choir from Cambridge sing some beautiful, sacred, Christmas songs will help with that task!

3 thoughts on “The Public School “Holiday Program”

    • Ironically, though, it’s Moose that I worry about the most along those lines, partly because he’s not home like the other children are, so he doesn’t get all of the teachable moments they do, and partly because with the autism, you’re never really sure where he’s at. And then they spend three weeks of the year hammering this nonsense into his head, despite our best efforts…it’s very frustrating!

      • I can totally understand that. While we’re not dealing with autism, Robert is extremely impressionable. It’s for reasons like these that I’m pressed to not give up on homeschooling him – even when he makes me want to tear my hair out. I realize that I’m blessed to be able to do that and that you’re making the best decision for Moose by having him in school – it’s not a judgment call from me!

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