A Private Catholic School Conundrum
When choosing a preschool for my daughter, would a Catholic Private School be a problem?
It’s hard for me to believe that the helpless little baby I changed, fed and rocked to sleep so many times is now a fully self-sufficient four-year-old who loves to pick out her own clothes, and do everyday tasks without needing a helping hand. Her mind is also alive with creativity and imagination, and she is ripe for learning.
Maggie was moved up to the PreK-4 room at her current daycare/preschool three months ago even though she doesn’t turn four until July. After seeing her evolve intellectually over the course of the last six months, we thought we’d check out a private school as a possible option.
There aren’t that many private schools in our area that are close by. The one that makes the most sense is a Catholic school. It’s a five-minute drive away, affordable and we’ve heard lots of good things about it. The only hiccup is the religious aspect.
My wife and I are more spiritual than religious. As a result, Maggie has never been directly introduced to church or religion itself. But as her parents, we feel that she deserves the right to figure out her own beliefs. So we didn’t mind that she would be getting an introduction to religion at this new school. What we were worried about was any kind of anti-homosexual teaching that could arise as a result.
Last week, we toured the school. I was so nervous about how my wife and I would be perceived. When I set up the appointment, I never told the director that we were lesbians. I figured if they had a problem with it we’d find out right away. When we walked through the doors, we were greeted with smiles and warm handshakes by the pastor, director, principal and assistant principal. Just as we were about to enter the chapel, my wife laid it all out. She didn’t mince words. She asked them directly if Maggie having two moms would be an issue in a Catholic school, and if Maggie would receive any backlash directly.
As for me, I kept walking right into the chapel. It was a cowardly move and I don’t know why I did it. Ever since I came out, I’ve been treated with nothing but respect and love from family, friends, coworkers, strangers, etc. I have yet to know what it really feels like to be discriminated against. It’s almost as if, in situations like this, I’m expecting it to happen. But it didn’t. They assured my wife that all would be fine, and that we were welcome there as much as anyone else. The pastor said they had kids from different religious denominations, cultures, backgrounds, etc. And as far as what Maggie would be learning from a religious standpoint, that would only involve religious basic principles of kindness, generosity and compassion.
I sat there in the chapel feeling foolish. Considering the reputation of the Catholic Church in regards to homosexuality, I had cause to be anxious. But not all church affiliations are the same. The encounter restored my faith to some extent—not so much in religion but in people. I have it upon good faith that Maggie will be in loving and caring hands come fall.
And I’m okay with that.