Tuesday, October 29, 2013

So, it's Halloween on Thursday and thoughts on princesses

I've written enough on here about my feelings about Halloween.

Anyway, so the kids have to dress up at school and go trick-or-treating. Of course, we don't celebrate Halloween so what to do?!

Laura, I know you're rolling your eyes but we really feel that we have to be non-negotiable on any values-based issues.

The kids will therefore be staying home. We had a meeting at the school last week or the week before (I don't even know where I'm at these days) to discuss a few things.

Our stance is not that we want things done our way. It's that there are things that we agree with (no problem there), things we disagree with but are no big deal (we let slide), and then the biggie, things we disagree with and that we can't just let slide because it's a values-based issue for us.

They did say that children don't like to be different from their peers. That's well and good but I'm afraid there will always be something so my kids better get used to it now. Our job is to equip them to speak confidently about the reasons we do things our way.

They'll already tell you why we don't eat lots of sweets (rotten teeth, empty calories and sore tummies). We do allow sweet treats (cake, etc.) but in moderation.
They said that was fine but that they ask the kids to be kept home on those days.

In other news, D bought the kids some books the other day. A princess one for K and something normal for C.

Well, I happened to be sorting their clothes during storytime the other evening when I heard this...

"It was the best day of her life. It was her wedding day!"

D stopped me just in time before I had a total, feminist freak-out. That got to me on way too many levels.
  1. first of all, marriage is more important than the wedding day???
  2. a girl's whole life should not be centred around a wedding.
  3. really? the best day of your life was your wedding day?
No offence to those of you who agree with that statement! For me, there's more to life.

K asked me which is my favourite princess and I had to be honest and say, "I'm not really into princesses, Baby." (I had to stop myself from adding ... "but let me tell you about Sheryl Sandberg")

Share your thoughts on princesses!

PS We have a two-day thing on Thurs and Fri. Remember what happened the last time? I'm already starting to get anxious.


  1. I HAVE to comment more later...so much to say!!!...but quickly, I talked to my girls about Princess Diana. I showed them pictures of some of her charity work...her in the land mine shield, namely...and talked about how much I respect her. It honestly hasn't come up -- thank goodness! -- but if it does, I'll remind them that Princess Di is a *real* princess. :)

  2. Oh, the "princess thing"...sigh. I feel really lucky that the girls haven't had to deal with too much of that from their peers...and I'm hoping by the time they start school, that phase will have passed most of their classmates. Maybe???

    The girls know I don't like the "princess thing", too. I've sat down with them a few times to tell them why. The babysitter read Snow White to them (which I had been avoiding), and they were pretty intrigued. We read it together, and we talked about what we liked about the story -- helping people, helping animals -- and what we didn't -- about Snow White needing to be "rescued", among other things. I think my girls get it...at least I hope they do.

    And on the topic of Halloween, I'd forgotten your conviction there, but I completely support where you're coming from. You're so right...it's our values that are important. As for Halloween, the girls still think it's an opportunity to dress up in something fun and take treats (cookies, this year) to our neighbors. ;) It's going to work really well for us, as it will be an opportunity to meet some of the neighbors we haven't yet had the chance to meet.

    You probably know my views on Santa Claus. I grew up believing in him, but I just can't bring myself to tell my girls this big story about some man who sees them when they're sleeping and knows when they're awake. I have told him he's a symbol of some of the fun of Christmas, and that some people like to pretend that he brings toys to their children. We know that's just a fun thing to pretend, and it's not real, right? They were good with that last year, but they've already had friends talking this year about what Santa brought them last year, and what they want him to bring this year. I just remind them, you know presents are from Mommy and Daddy, right?

    And with everything...Santa...eating in "chemical" restaurants...playing with toys at the table...whatever...we talk a lot about "different people have different rules". That's OK for them and their family, but we have our rules for a reason. We know what's best for our family, and that is how we determine what our rules are.

    I love how the girls spout that effortlessly..."different people have different rules, and that's OK". Hee hee. I can only hope they continue to buy into this logic for a long time to come!

    Whew. Lots of big stuff!

  3. Oh there's not nearly enough space here to divulge my hatred of pricess culture. All of it. The toys, the marketing, the mindset, THE COLOR PINK! But the girls have been exposed and at least Claire seems to be somewhat agreeable to it. That all comes from ham though and I think a large portion of it is being entranced with the sheer volume and continual introduction of new toys. :/ The ladies and everyone around knows of my distaste for all of that nonsense, even though they don't agree. Life is never a fairy tale and I certainly don't want my ladies to have their hearts swept away before their mods have a chance to think. There is soooo much more to life and I think the worst thing you can do for a child is limit them and give them expectations, exactly what princess culture does. You just worry about vanity and one day your prince will arrive, that's just terrible!

    I love that you stand up for what you believe in, as you should. I wish DH and I were in agreement on how to handle such things. I wonder if this stuff continues once they start regular school? Will you continue to pull them? I can't imagine missing instruction time and I also can't imagine pulling them from school right before the anticipated party. Homeschooling looks better every day!!
    Have things gotten better for C there? I feel that for such a perfect school, you've really been having issues. :/

  4. I totally get that this is a value based thing Marcia and I totally respect that - is your plan then to keep them out of school every year going forward? Even when they want to go? Because even though as a country we don't celebrate it, a lot of schools do. BTW I also don't like Halloween and we don't celebrate it and my kids aren't fussed but if they wanted to attend a party or a school function that was Halloween themed I really wouldn't mind. I do think you can teach your kids that is is just a dress up day? My little Budhist niece celebrates Christmas with us - they don't decorate the house, she doesn't have a tree or an advent calendar in their home BUT she opens gifts with us. Her mom teaches her why we celebrate and why they don't.

    There is a lot to be said for exposing your kids to a variety of cultures, celebrations and traditions.

    I wrote about the marriage thing a while ago :)

  5. I have boys. The princesses don't feature here. I am the princess. We don't do halloween and neither do our schools.

  6. I am happy in that my grandchildren go to schools that still have a strong Christian value base...therefore this never comes up. I have huge respect for you for not allowing the pressures of the world to influence you on this subject. I don't believe it is something that can just be brushed off as a "dress up" day.

  7. Mmm...well, as you know - the princess thing hit our house pretty hard. I'm okay with it and as far as I'm concerned it's just a pretty normal phase for little girls to go through, along with the pink. One day when she's all grown up, stomping around in boots and going to rock concerts i'll look back at this princess thing and think it was awesome! ;-) (even the pink?)

    The end may be in sight for the pink anyway, I haven't mentioned it yet, but from about two weeks ago I've been informed that she now has two favourite colours pink AND purple...so I'm hoping all things pink are about to be phased out of my life. Whoo-hoo! I am taking this as vaildation that when you make something out of bounds it becomes irrisitable, but when you let it run its course - it comes and goes...eventually.

    On halloween I don't really have much to say. It's not really observed here, and even in places where it is observed it's more about sweets and pumpkins than anything else. It doesn't really bug me either way. Our school doesn't do halloween at all and neither does our neighbourhoods.

  8. Ag crap, my second comment was swallowed...
    What I wanted to say was:
    Ps! My favourite Disney princess is Merida from Brave. The whole story is actually about her NOT wanting to get married and all the trouble she gets into trying to dodge it. It's an hilarious movie, seriously! ;-)

  9. Oh I would agree on the Halloween thing! Why oh why are we in South Africa celebrating a totally un South African, non Christian holiday? Luckily in the Afrikaans schools we would never even get confronted with this.

    As to the Princess thing - I guess its normal. Annecke has a whole Princess Katherine thing going - she loves the real life Princess but I have to say we were also rather entranced with Dianna at the time. And like Louisa Annecke seriously loves Merida now as her favorite Princess and I totally agree on that one.

    I can assure you the Princess obsession fades with time

    Good luck on the work thing - I went back on the link and immediately remembered it

    1. I meant agree with you of course.

  10. Rina says it so well in her comment. I sometimes wonder why Afrikaans schools values are so much different to English schools? It's so unfair towards people like you and your family. I feel exactly the same about Halloween as you and D feels about it. It's a non negotiable issue with us as well.
    Now that you mention it, I have to say that most princess stories are about the big day and not the marriage :/ You have stated valuable points here. I agree with them.

  11. We haven't encountered the halloween thing yet.. our school doesn't do anything and the kids are still totally unaware, but we will not participate in any way either. In fact, when the time comes and I am questioned about it, I will print off this blog post of yours and hand it over to anyone who asks. Well said!
    I honestly don't mind the princess stuff. Probably because my child only discovered GIRL stuff like two minutes ago, so we haven't been inundated with princess stuff.
    Side note, when they look at my wedding photos they tell me I looked like a princess and I always say I felt like one.. may need to rework that response.. hahaha!

  12. We don't do the Halloween thing either - we did for a few years, dressed as something fun (like Winnie the Pooh) and went to the mall. But then we moved and the kids there dressed more as zombies and witches and such - gave the kids nightmares (it was a much richer neighbourhood). Then we would go to my Grandmother's church Fall Fest - and Mamaw always gave the girls all of her left over candy. But at some point, we just decided as a family that it was not something we wanted to continue, and we haven't for around 10 years.

    We don't disparage the princess thing (as my younger sister's are raising their daughter's as "princesses") ... but I've always emphasize that the Bible tells us to be servants and content. I know some people are really big on the "I'm God's Princess" but somehow that smacks (to me at least) of James and John's mother coming to Jesus and saying, "Can my sons sit at your right hand?" And we have talked at great lengths about this topic with my 4 kids. I think I must be having some affect on their behaviour, because almost everywhere I take them, somebody will come up and say how they appreciate seeing my kids being polite, helpful, and putting others (especially those much younger or much older) ahead of themselves. At church, it is not unusual for the two older girls to go through the line 2 or 3 times helping younger kids before they get their own plates, and then help clear the tables after the social events. They join in with the little kids and help the adults run the games, and if the hosts are short, mine usually volunteer to go without so a younger child can have something.

    Of course, I also emphasize that they don't have to look dirty and overworked either. We've talked about modesty and not calling attention to yourself - either by being immodest or dirty or unkempt or weird. We've talked about finding their own style and without calling undue attention to themselves, and paying attention to fashion without being slaves to fashion.

    V recently started working for McD's, and already she has gotten many shocked comments about "why did you clean up that/do that ... it's not part of your job/you weren't on the clock." and delighted smiles from non-white customers and fellow workers about how she always treats everyone the same and doesn't seem to realize that people are different colors. She replied to one girl, "But you aren't any different from me, why should I treat you different?" V is a very blonde haired, blue eyed skinny girl ... and she commented after coming home one day, "why does everyone assume I'm racist just because I'm so white?"

    We don't make big deals out of a ONE DAY event here either. Prom night or a Wedding Day or other Big Event ... it's just one event that was pleasant ... the rest of the days are real life. We know several who live life for the big moments - and often have to "duck for cover" when these people are depressed on regular days. Life is full of little moments to be lived and embraced - not big events to be the big star of the show.

    But then, most people we know think we are pretty strange.

  13. *I* want to be a princess LOL
    My girls actually chose to be queens one year for Halloween, so does that mean they aim higher?

    They've watched the Star Wars movies so many times with their brothers, they think princesses wear pretty dresses on some days and kick butt and fight monsters on others.


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