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Please don’t take my manners or holidays away by Felina Silver Robinson
Today I read an article and shared it on my blog “Marshfield Residents Want Christmas Vacation Back.” It made me remember the first time I heard it our schools in Brookline Massachusetts as “Winter Vacation”. It made me further remember various schools not wanting Halloween celebrated at their locations. Newton Schools have continued to ban Halloween activities. Here is a small collection of some earlier articles speaking to these bans.
1. Newton (MA) Elementary School Bans Halloween (Newton, MA – 10/27/2005)
2. Banned at the schoolhouse door: pint-size ghosts and goblins (Raleigh NC – 10/31/2005)
3. Massachusetts Principal Takes Aim at Fall Holidays, Says They’re Insensitive (Somerville, MA – 10/15/2011)
4. Valentine’s Day Candy Banned By Horace Mann School In Massachusetts (VIDEO) (Newton, MA – 02/12/2012)
My daughter recently came home and told me that her and a group of her friends got in trouble for hugging each other during school. Hugging is no longer in Brookline Public schools. I remember reading an article back in August about a Student punished for saying “bless you”.
While I certainly agree that some holidays can be offensive, like Columbus Day and Thanksgiving. I believe that there is a difference when a holiday directly affects the emotional well-being of an individual such is the case with Native Americans and their feelings as they relate to Christopher Columbus, Columbus Day and Thanksgiving. However, taking an opportunity away that one has had since birth whether it be a 100 years or 10 years is just preposterous.
Taking away Halloween and any celebrations around Halloween is just so sad. Just because someone chooses to celebrate Halloween, it does not make them a witch or a devil worshiper. Personally, I attended church and Sunday school my entire childhood, well into adulthood. I have never given up on my Christian beliefs and no Holiday will change that. Some of my fondest memories are attached to Halloween.
Taking away holidays and renaming holidays is one thing. To add salt to existing wounds, people have moved on disallowing touch and disallowing the use of the term “bless you” when someone sneezes. Personally, I try really hard to just say “bless you” instead of “God bless you”, but there are those that are still upset with that, to the point of suspending a student for it as noted in the article mentioned in paragraph two. Being raised to say “God bless you” since childhood upon the sound of a sneeze, it feels quite rude when it is not said. I will always find myself compelled to say it and I don’t intend to apologize for that.
My closing thoughts: I have never thought for one second that I had the right or felt the need to take part in removing any holiday celebrations aside from Thanksgiving and/or Columbus Day as it directly affects who I am. I would never expect anyone to give up their own beliefs for mine. None of us have the right to dictate what others believe in. We all try to find a place where we fit in. Sometimes this doesn’t come easy. We all want to feel comfortable. The best way to do this is to allow others to be themselves as long as they are not hurting anyone. Changing life long tradition should not be the goal just because a small group of people prefer to think badly or be frightened by kindness. While we all realize that change is necessary and will come no matter what we say or do,If things change too much we lose too much of where we come from, then we lose a sense of ourselves as well as a sense of belonging.