I was once sent a link talking about ecoli being found in holy water in churches. It was really gross. I am not religious and despite a lot of years in catholic schools, I don’t know how it’s used. I assume from context and vague memories, touching and sprinkling are the main things. But ecoli isn’t the point of this blog post.
Let Kids Opt Out
As I mentioned, I spent a lot of years in catholic schools. Putting aside what a terrible idea it was to send me, a bratty atheist, to learn in a conservative place, there were aspects I really hated. One of them was the day I assume is referred to as ash Wednesday.
I hated that day with a wild passion.
I assume that the entire school went to church that day. I don’t remember a service but I remember we got crosses on our heads in ash. I have no idea if it’s real ash or some concocted substance. This would have been in the early 90s so whatever was used then may have changed by now?
I hated the feeling of the ash on my head. I could FEEL it all the time. In my experience, catholic education was “shut up this is what we do” and no explaining of the religion, rituals and/or significance of anything. Or maybe I was a kid who didn’t give a shit. Could be either or both.
What I do distinctly remember is getting in trouble for not liking it. For touching it. For rubbing at it. And for washing it off.
Let Kids Opt Out
It might be some serious ritual to a believer, but as a child and an atheist, it felt ridiculous that I HAD TO let an adult rub some kind of dirt on my face and I was somehow the one in trouble for not liking it? In what other context does this happen?
But more than anything, why not let the kid opt out? If they are in distress, as I remember it, let them wipe the bloody ash off their heads without being in trouble! Respect for a human needs to come above respect for a ritual.
I can remember my tolerance getting lower and lower each year. At first I was scared to wipe it off. Then I grew more “fuck it” (or whatever word a primary school aged child would internally think) as the years went on and I’d comply so far as to get ash’d, then as soon as we were let out/being walked back to class/whatever, I’d stop at a drinking fountain and wash my head. I’m not sure that’s really resilience but I can’t think of any other positive.