Flashback Friday

This picture was taken the summer of my freshman year of high school.  I went to a Catholic high school my freshman and sophomore year and was part of group called L.I.F.E.  It stood for Living In Faith Enthusiastically.  I can’t help but smile when I type that.  I don’t care how faithful you are – that is a cheesy anagram. I believe my freshman year was the year the group started and I just checked the high school website and they are still living enthusiastically!

That summer, about 10 – 15 of us from the group went to the Winnebago Indian Reservation in Nebraska.  We were there for a week or two – I don’t remember exactly, and during that time we did some physical labor and if memory serves, I believe we were supposed to teach Christianity to some of the kids that lived on the Reservation.  I have no idea how these kids came to be signed up for the classes – if their parents signed them up, if it was through school, the kids wanted to go or it was just something for the kids to do.

When I think back on this now, I have absolutely no idea who the 15 year old girl is in that picture.  And I’m not referring to my permed hair, the 20 years less of aging on my face or the brown flats I had on with shorts (damn I loved those shoes).  When I joined the L.I.F.E. Group, I did it because all of my friends were doing it and I got out of class once a week or something.  I probably wasn’t the best representative of the organization, but it just goes to show how easily persuaded I was.

For me, going to Winnebago was one of the perks of being in the group because I had always wanted to be a teacher and this was going to be my first opportunity to scholar some children!  However, if I was 20 years older, I would have never tried to influence any child’s religious beliefs.  In retrospect, I find it appalling that we were sent there to teach children Christian beliefs.  I didn’t know any better because I was a dumb teenager.  We had no right to do that and all I can hope is that the parents of each of the children signed them up, knowing full well what would be going on.

I’m not going to go off on some anti-religion rant.  To each their own.  But I do think that this depicts how I feel about religion pretty accurately.


9 thoughts on “Flashback Friday

  1. i respectfully disagree. if there is one topic of conversation that is appropriate to bring up anywhere or anytime, it is the saving love of Jesus Christ.

    • Would you find it equally appropriate and have no problem with a member of any non-Christian religion proclaiming the love of their God to your children? I see where you’re coming from, but I do not feel it is OK for someone to force their beliefs on someone unless they ask to learn about the teachings of that faith. In my opinion, religion is something that is personal – it means different things to different people and there are obviously hundreds of different beliefs. I don’t have a problem with what anyone believes and would never criticize someone for their beliefs, but I would take issue with someone for considering their religion or beliefs as the only acceptable way of thinking.

  2. OK, I’m with Amy on this one… with the exception of the “don’t shove it down my children’s throats” analogy (yes to the no-shoving-religion but it kinda took the penis metaphor a little too far)

    I’m fine with beliefs but beliefs are very much a personal thing. Each person chooses whether they should have a relationship with God and how that relationship should be formed. I don’t think anyone has the right to tell another what or how they should believe any more than I think anyone else has the right to tell someone what kind of relationship they should have with their parents.

    If anyone dared to do that to me, I’d either tell them to, er, ‘go away” or I’d simply walk away myself.

  3. I love you dearly Amy, but I also have to respectfully disagree with you. I was on this Winnebago trip with you & I don’t have any recollections of shoving religion down the throats of these children. I am sad that these are your memories of this trip. If one of us made a positive impact in any of these children’s lives, it was worth it. I learned more from these children than they learned from me. I believe actions speak louder than words. Your actions reflect your beliefs so I believe that your religion is not necessarily something you should hide or feel obligated to hide.

    • I think you are missing my point. The trip to Winnebago, as a whole, was one of the best experiences of my life. I haven’t done anything remotely like it since and I too learned more from those kids and their culture than I could ever imagine. What I have a problem with is whether or not the parents of these children wanted them to hear about our religion or if they even knew that was what their children were being taught. Imagine that one of your kids go to school one day and were told that the Jesus they believe in never was – that he couldn’t be the son of God because we’re still waiting for him to come. I’m guessing you would be pretty upset, but yet, that is what some people believe and they too have the right to express their beliefs. I don’t have any problem with any person regardless of their religion, expressing and showing their faith. No one should ever be embarrassed by their religion or feel that they can’t practice it openly and freely – that’s part of our freedom. The part that upsets me is someone taking it upon themselves to “spread the word” to a group of influential people, ie children without their parent’s permission.

  4. How do you know that these parents did not give their permission for them to be there? This was not the first time a group of students from Kuemper went to Winnabago. I believe these parents were not blindly sending their children to spend the day with us. Would you send your children to a place that you didn’t know what was taking place? Your issue just stresses the importance of teaching beliefs at home so if someone wants to teach your children something that goes against their beliefs, they have the knowledge & foundation to know the difference. There will always be someone or something out there that is trying to influence your children. The same would go for drugs, sex, strangers, materialism, etc…Did something happen that is prompting a blog about a person teaching values to children? Just curious….

    • “all I can hope is that the parents of each of the children signed them up, knowing full well what would be going on”
      I never said the parents didn’t give permission.
      Keeping children away from drugs, alcohol, sex, strangers, etc are universal. Religious beliefs are not. Of course parent involvement is necessary and mandatory for our children to understand the beliefs and values we want them to have. I’m not sure why this was taken as a personal attack on anyone. My guilt was surrounding the possibility that these children were being taught something that they had never heard of before and what I did confused them and possibly made them doubt their long history of traditions and legends. If I would have gone and taught the kids teachings from the Koran, I wouldn’t feel any better about it.
      Please don’t assume that there is something wrong with me because I voice an opinion that you don’t agree with. You know me better than that.

  5. I must be missing your point. You state in your original blog that you were appalled by attending this Winnebago trip and then you state that it was the one of the best experiences of your life. You state that religion should be private and not “whipped out in public” and later state “I don’t have any problem with any person regardless of their religion, expressing and showing their faith”. Considering I had different memories & feelings about the Winnebago trip & the LIFE group as well as expressing your religion, I felt compelled to comment on your blog. I feel that it is Ok to express religious beliefs even though they may be different than mine. I am also OK to have my children learn about different religions but want them to know what & why we believe what we do. Teaching religion & faith & tolerance to my children are just as important (if not more) than drugs, sex, etc…Maybe this needs to be discussed verbally as points of views are getting blurred.

    • I really do feel like my point was missed and I should have stuck true to my plan of never speaking of religion or politics. In my mind, the post really had nothing to do with religion, but was just an example of someone interfering with a child where I didn’t feel it was my place. It’s pretty clear that I have deeply offended and upset you and as my best friend, you know that is something I would never intentionally do. I’m sorry and you know I am always here if you want to talk.

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