Santa, when he was a Rockette
On Thursday at school, my students and I read some articles I had downloaded from the History Channel's Web site. The first one discussed this history of Ramadan, the second one discussed the history of Hannukah, and the third one, of Christmas. My students are struggling readers, so it was an adventure to pronounce the exotic words in the various texts. The Muslim kids helped us out with the Ramadan-related words, and I got us through the various mythological terms connected to Christmas, but we were on our own the the Hebrew words. Still, I had enough Sunday schooling to know the story keep the conversation going.
The Muslim kids were able and happy to share information about their faith and traditions. The Latino kids told us about the variations on the Christmas theme that take place in their respective places of origin. It became a conversation about faith and family, feasting and friends, commitment and love. It also became a conversation about language--the significance of the letters of the Arabic alphabet, taking the name of the Prophet Mohammed, the Jewish alphabet and the naming ceremony, Christmas and all the words that are part of it from various pagan traditions that are with us to this day. The kids were able to read and talk peacefully and respectfully and generously. The bottom line for all three festivals: feasting, giving gifts, loving children.
So goes life in the inner city.