I never say “dzień dobry” to the priest at school and now I think he is on to me.
As you may have read somewhere before here on Kielbasa Stories, I am a non-believer. You may also have read here that I support separation of church and state and do not approve of catechism being taught in Polish public schools. Yes, it is true that my children can opt out of “Religia”, but even using the phrase “opt out” illustrates what is considered the norm in Poland.
You may even have read somewhere here how my mother-in-law has cut off all ties with us because we have not christened the kids. That’s still the current situation, in case you were wondering. Soon it’ll be a year with no contact. Rosie accused us of not telling her that Babcia and Dziadek died and that’s why we’re not visiting them. It is sad that she thinks that. We’ve explained to her why we are not visiting them. Lizzie shouted, “Don’t you remember? Babcia kicked us out of the house!” Sadder, but true.
You may recall how I expressed my displeasure in the crucifix being placed in each classroom in Rosie’s pre-school. Not even a cross, a big, beautiful crucifix. Nobody cared, just me. In Lizzie’s school, they just have a cross.
This is what Lizzie has drawn under the title – Ja i moja klasa.
You may remember how my neighbors shared their displeasure in our partaking of a little gardening on the day of “the Lord”. Who really cares about the day of their lord if on the day before they called the cops on the other neighbor for blocking the road for all of 60 seconds. I wonder what their lord thought about that.
I don’t remember if I have written about Easter here on Kielbasa Stories. My girls know the Easter story as well as the Passover story. I found some helpful coloring pages on the internet to help illustrate the stories. I take my duty as religious educator seriously. About Easter they were most interested in the crucifixion and the resurrection. They decided that the crucifixion was overkill and that the resurrection must have been some kind of misunderstanding. About Passover they had only one conclusion - how odd it was that there was a holiday celebrating that some babies got killed but some other babies didn’t.
I have come to terms with the fact that I’m not going to win the battle against religia in Polish public schools. I don’t like that the priest opens the start of each school year. I’m angry that my daughter wastes her time in świetlica while the other kids have catechism lessons during regular school hours. I’m angry that rekolekcje will also probably be during regular school hours and once again my child will be relegated to the no-man’s land of substitute teachers or all day świetlica.
But let’s face it, there’s nothing I can do about it.
So my small protest is that I don’t say “dzień dobry” to the priest at school. I see him every time I go to school. Every time. Sometimes I see him on the way on his bike. Sometimes I see him waiting for his lessons. The worst is when I see him in my child’s classroom when he shouldn’t be there. I see him when he is leaving at the end of the day.
If I saw him at church, that would be cool. I am not religious but I can respect his choice to become a priest and work at church, to teach catechism at church or in a private Catholic school. But when he is at public school, proselytising under salary paid in part with my tax money, my blood boils. I have no respect for a priest, nun or catechism teacher in this position. If that priest said, “You know what? Public school isn’t my place. I shouldn’t be teaching here and I definitely shouldn’t be drawing a salary from the school budget” then I would respect him. As it is, I don’t.
I just look him in the face and say nothing. C’mon, I cannot say something unpleasant. Well, not out loud. Anyhow, some curse words cannot express why I don’t agree with his presence in my child’s school, so why bother.
But I think he is on to me. How many times can you pass the same person on the street and in the hall, say hello to them and get back an expression that says “feck yourself off to church, vicar”? After awhile he was bound to catch on.
And whoop-de-do. That’s the most I can do.