I'm a 6th grade Social Studies teacher. The topic of religion as a part of culture comes up all the time. Today during a discussion of Greek myths, a student (a 12 year-old girl with a sweet smile) asked me if I believed in god. I paused and said, "Well, sure."
I felt that I was having a discussion with a child about Santa or the Easter Bunny. I didn't want to be the one to tell the child that all the adults in her life have been lying to her.
This has been bothering me all day. When this comes up again - I'm sure it will - should I lie as I did today, or should I tell the truth?
What if you say something like ... "I believe a lot of people do, what does your Mom and Dad believe? Why do you feel they believe that? What do you believe?". Just ask questions.
I would not have lied to this girl. I would keep it 'age appropriate' & 'confessed' that although most Americans DID believe in god, I personally didn't. Then waited for her comment or next question. Piece of cake.
Maybe combine letting the students know you won't tell them and that what you believe doesn't matter, with questioning their own beliefs and how to search for a logical explanation. Show them how to critically think about the matter through asking them questions instead of telling them you do or don't believe. I definitely would say don't lie to them, that's further narrowing their views of the world.
Hi Alysha, I like your idea. Religions are so DIVISIVE !
My mom is retired now but she taught public school for about 40 years and my father is also retired but he was an Episcopal Priest. Before you judge negatively believe me when I tell you that both of my parents raised my siblings and me with very secular values. My mother would have told the child politely that her personal beliefs were not her business. I don't think it is appropriate for teachers to lie nor should they discuss things with students that should be discussed by the child's parents instead.
What I would briefly say, and what I have said to my children is, not to believe something just because somebody says so or writes it in a book. If a thing is true, then there will be proof for it. Question everything.
As far as lying to kids ... yep, i have. Once when my son was very little and he wanted to go to the park. I was pooped that day so I told him that the park was closed..
as a youth worker, my view is to not lie. I would tell young people that i don't have religious beliefs. I never bring up the topic of religion. However, I tell young people that ask that beliefs are personal and they should never feel pressured into believing one thing or another. I point out that there are many beliefs and ways to view the world so i suggest they investigate them to make up their own mind, and that they should feel free to change their mind whenever they wish.
I think your reply was right, you might also add I am not sure or I do not know exactly, because in each family the parents have their own explanations and you can ruin their believe by telling truth I think