Monday, December 19, 2011

Snow Pants: A Field Trip to the Public School.

Gymboree Insulated <em>Snow Pants</em> With Detachable Straps Navy Blue ...

We were invited to watch the cousins sing in a school concert. I thought it would be a fun field trip for the boys, so we finished school early and walked to the elementary school across the street. 

There were chairs set up on both sides of the gym, but my mother-in-law decided that it would be better to sit in the bleachers, even though no other parents were sitting there. Later, we found out why no other parents were sitting in the bleachers... it was to serve as the stage for the day. Within minutes we were surrounded by hundreds of little children, and by that time, my mother-in-law didn't want to move because she didn't want to draw attention to ourselves.  At least I blended in with all of the little hispanic students.

The tiny preschoolers were first. They stood up and sang "Jingle Bells," while appropriately ringing jingle bells. The next group stood up and sang a song that went something like, "December is a time for Ho Ho Ho..." The boys' cousin was supposed to be in that class, but we found out later he had stayed home sick. 

We had only one other cousin to watch.  We could spot her because she was one of the tallest kids in her class.  This was not surprising, since over half of her class was hispanic. (I can point this out because I'm a short Mexican myself). When her class started singing, it became very clear how far removed this concert was from the true meaning of Christmas. (I'm talking about Jesus, not yule logs, or the Sun God.)  Jesus is the true meaning of Christmas, hence the word CHRISTmas. Her class didn't sing about a "Silent Night," or about "Angels We Have Heard On High." No, they sang about something so much more meaningful:  Snow Pants. Yes, "Snow pants, warm and cuddly. Snow pants, waist to ankles.  Snow pants."  The cousin did a superb job of singing about her snow pants, by the way. But I thought about how sad it was that Christmas really is gone from the public school system.  

Then, I thought about how it really has been a whole quarter of a century since I was that age in school singing, "See Him slumbering in the hay. He's sleeping 'till the break of day. Sing His praise to God on high. Sing softly sing. Sing softly sing." Twenty-five years later I still remember that beautiful, sweet song about the Christ child. And what will those kids at the school remember twenty-five years from now? Their warm and cuddly snow pants! Or, maybe they won't remember that song at all because it is so utterly meaningless. 

Well, after the cousin was finished singing I would have slipped out to walk back home, but since we were sitting in the middle of the stage I though it best to remain. We heard a few more songs about slipping and sliding in snowflakes, and winter, and wait 'till you hear this one: "The twelve days of Christmas the district gave to me." Every day was a new "gift" of technology that the district had given them. We're talking i-pads, i-pods, computers, computer carts, apps, chargers...

After they sang the praises of the generous, gift-giving district, Santa Claus came out holding an i-pad. (One that the district had given him, no doubt.) His list was on that i-pad, and do you know? Every kid in the school was on his good list! Everyone except for the principal who had to come to the center of the gym to let all the students judge whether or not she belonged on the good list.

All in all it was a cute performance and I was impressed with the children's overall behavior. They seemed happy and the teachers appeared to be kind while maintaining the respect of the children. My boys had an interesting field trip and enjoyed the concert. Except for when the band (which consisted of one-third clarinets, one-third various brass, and one-third flutes) blasted out the first half of "Good King Wenceslas." The Anchor instinctively covered his ears and buried his head in my lap. (I wanted to do the same.) We were all glad when we finally got out of the sea of students and walked back to our "school" right across the street.  Our home.

Merry Christmas, everyone! Whether your children are at public, private, or home school, remember to make this Christmas season about what is really important to you!  For me, it's a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.  The sweet baby, God's precious gift to me, who was born to set me free! What is the importance of this season for you?  Whatever it is, I'm guessing it's not snow pants.

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