One of the biggest complaints Shawn and I have with living life in the suburbs is a true lack of any kind of cultural or religious diversity. It is something we have struggled with a lot since moving here. Having grown up in Texas myself, I have to say it was not a mecca for mixed cultures or equal and respectful exchange of ideas or faiths. I'm sure some parts of Texas accomplish this, but I didn't feel it a lot growing up. My parents certainly tried. I give that to them. My Grandmother was Jewish, prior to converting to Christianity upon marrying my Grandfather. But that all happened before they immigrated to America. My Dad and his sister have spoken about how isolated they felt moving to America and being so "different" from everyone else. I can't imagine going through that kind of challenge, especially as a teenager in a new country!
Once I moved to Seattle, and even my time spent in London after college, a world opened up to me. I learned so much more about other cultures, religions, and an overall respect owed to all people, faiths, and beliefs. In my heart I feel there is respect to be given to any religion or faith, or even political ideals, that does not teach hate or foster discrimination. I'm still growing in this area myself, so I don't even pretend to have all the answers. But that's where I stand today.
Ok, so to my point, and I do have one, and it is not to just hop up on my soap box... My son made a menorah in his Pre-Kindergarten class last week! And he learned the Dreidel song! And they are making latkes today! It isn't just Christmas trees and Santa and manger scenes. It is diversity for a four year old! Awesomeness! And to add to that, I had the opportunity to tell the story of baby Jesus to Jackson the other day when we were setting up the beautiful Nativity Mom got me a few years ago -- though I admit I think I confused him when he asked me where Jesus's house was in real life. But the point is that there was an opportunity for me to give a little religious diversity lesson to my son, and it was presented by his Pre-Kindergarten school no less! Progress. Now I'll just have to get a Ramadan explanation from Lisa and the real understanding can begin. Lis?