Have we gone too far?
As we embarked on the holiday season and Christmas specifically, I took time to reflect on the meaning of December.
From Hanukkah to Kwanza to Christmas along with many other celebrations it is important to remember that inclusivity within our community and our society and our schools and daycares should reflect all of the celebrations and traditions that are apart of the people who make up these groups.
Have we gone too far?
For years now, in the name of not offending people, governments at all levels have slowly been taking the stance that to include Christmas in public places was no longer acceptable.
Sadly, the very groups that the governments are claiming are being offended are the people who have moved to this country because they like what the country stood for.
They are not asking that any one celebration be removed from the community. And yet, schools and daycares are being asked not to decorate for Christmas, not to do Christmas concerts, and to basically erase Christmas from the calendar in December, while still encouraging these same institutions to be inclusive and teach the students about other non-Christian holidays, celebrations, and traditions.
It is time to reflect on what inclusivity really means.
To be inclusive and include all December celebrations and traditions in all facets of society, including our schools and daycares.
To include all children’s holidays in the teaching and celebration of the winter season.
Not the religious aspects of the different holidays, but the symbols and stories behind the season.
In the case of Christmas, it is possible to teach the traditions that many of the children of all faiths and ethnic groups grow up with. To teach our children the meaning of giving and of taking care of others.
As many families begin to celebrate the “commercial” side of Christmas, Santa Claus, stockings and gift giving, as well as family gatherings when they emigrate to Canada, it is likely that the concept of Christmas being offensive to some people rests squarely on the ideals and beliefs of the various levels of government and does not reflect the community as a whole.
Instead of finding ways to continue the division amongst the citizens of this country, maybe, just maybe it is time to start bringing people together again.
And what better way then to teach our children about the many different customs and traditions of all the people who make up this great country, in their schools and their daycares.
To embrace the concept of child-centered learning, through focusing on what the children are excited about and into, whether it be Santa Claus, Sinter Klaus, Yule, or Kwanza. Canada is not a melting pot of people and cultures, but a country with a policy of multiculturalism since 1971. Of celebrating differences and allowing people the freedom of continuing to celebrate their cultural and family traditions after moving to Canada.
As we celebrate this wonderful season, let us take some time to reflect on what it means to be Canadian and what it truly means to be inclusive in this multicultural country.
Nancy Harris, Langley