Saturday, 25 October 2008

Big Daddy is watching, but even small kids are laughing

My wife came back from my daughter's school concert with a hilarious, if chilling, story about faith-based brainwashing.
It was advertised as a 'harvest concert', so should not have been a religious service. We've been getting letters home about it for a month and listening as she practiced her 'Thank you farmers' song, so thought we knew what was involved.
The Mrs knew all that was bollocks when the vicar from round the corner appeared unannounced to 'lead' it.
The 'thank you' our girl has been rehearsing turned out to be only one verse in a dirge thanking a fictitious twat on a cloud at every available opportunity. The words to this and other dirges were displayed, bouncing ball style, on a screen so the parents could join in and the kids could remember - or any 5-6 year old capable of reading them anyway.
Then came the lengthy prayers, led by old vinegar-face. Kids meekly held hands together, closed eyes and at the first 'Amen' went like mini-mujhadhin into the Lords Prayer without even being prompted. Mine didn't, of course, and turned round to Mum with her usual smirk.
My wife was furious. Bear in mind that she grew up in Ceacescu-era Romania, so lived through 20 years of totalitarian crap in which her every move was watched or choreographed, and every sign of dissent logged by teachers who she didn't even know were Securitate agents until much later. So when she says there is more blatent brainwashing going on in a small town Manx primary school than she ever experienced as a compulsory member of the Young Pioneers someone should sit up and take notice.
Finally, we are amused, and my daughter takes such crap in her stride. Since she could talk we taught her to ask questions, and that if anyone - including adults - can't or won't give a straight answer then she is free to consider them either dumb or dishonest. It seems to work, and as she's well ahead of her classmates her teachers have no complaints.
Maybe they enjoy, for once, teaching a small child who doesn't just sit there but asks question after question without a trace of fear. Maybe, like us, they are just waiting for the day when elderly politicians and civil servants who are hand in glove with a dying church also get tired of being laughed at -even by small kids.

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