Wednesday, May 14, 2008

God's Plan

Okay, now that I am through with my term paper, I can rant about something that happened last week. Of course, by being "through" with my term paper, I mean that it's written. I still have to go in and cover-sheet it, and turn full refs to ibids, and such.

And now the rant ...

The Boy (middle school) has a lovely school counselor who has called him in to break the ice, talked to him about what's going on with Little Warrior, and just been very helpful.

So, I asked The Princess (elementary school) if she wanted me to contact her counselor and ask for her to have a meeting. Princess said sure, she'd like that. (Bo Peep had no interest, which I knew. Talking to a stranger about her feelings would be the 4th level of hell for my shy one. Luckily, she has Greatest Kindergarten Teacher Ever.)

So, The Princess goes to see the school counselor. Public School Counselor. That's important.

At some point in their conversation, The Princess asks the counselor if she thinks Little Warrior will die. This is good, that she opened up like that, right?

Except that this is what happens:

Counselor: What religion are you?

Princess: Unitarian Universalist.

Counselor: Okay, so you're a Christian.

Princess: (doesn't say anything)

Counselor: Well, you need to just be able to allow your baby sister to live out God's plan for her.

Words. Gasp. Fail. Me.

Forget the assumption that Princess is Christian. Eh, we're used to it. But even if she were, for this Public School Counselor to pass on such egregiously Bad Theology, is ... just ... stupifying. There are plenty of Christians ... even conservative Christians ... even conservative Christian ministers ... who don't hold that particular belief.

As a theology student, a potential minister, the spiritual damage this could do just hurts me. I mean, if you're 8 years old and someone tells you that the reason why your baby sister has cancer AGAIN is because it's God's plan? And she needs to, you know, suck it up and accept it?

On the good side ... The Princess is not prone to deep theological conversations -- that's just not her thing. But (thank you, UU Church!) she knew that this was Just Not Right and came and told me about it. And when I asked what she thought about what the counselor said, she kind of rolled her eyes and said the she didn't believe that.

And she wanted to know what I thought. And I told her that I most definitely did NOT believe that God caused this. But that when we cry about it, God cries, too.

And she smiled. And nodded.


Lilylou said...

And do you have the energy and inclination to challenge the counselor? Because what she did is unethical, by virtually all the standards of behavior for public school counselors. As a school counselor for 20 years, I know it. Of course, you do live in Texas, which could be a different story.

Anonymous said...

Like you, I feel blessed to have found my church to raise my girls in so that when this stuff comes up, they have the gumption to seek me out or even challenge it themselves.

Oh, I remember interviewing a minister about his pastoral relationship with members of his congregation who lost their son in 9/11. His response was really graphic as to what happened to the son, but in the end, said "if this is the kind of plan God had for my son, that's a god I have no use for."

I'm with Ms. Kitty, though. If you have the time and energy, I think it is worth a conversation with the counselor and the principal. I think the counselor needs to know why you aren't sending LW back--because not only did she not help, she could have done damage. But, you already knew that.

P.S. I just love the movie clips on the other site. thanks for those

Nancy said...

This really infuriates me as well. I was told that same thing over and over about Erik. God chose me, He has a "plan," etc. Whatever. That is the quickest way to make somebody feel singled out, especially when it comes from someone who is not in your situation. I don't believe it for a second, either.

Love you to pieces. :) :) :)

Christine Robinson said...

Well..just a slightly contrary view.

Every social group uses shortcut language, and I think that in many places, "God's Plan" is a shortcut way, not of saying "God decided that in order to accomplish X, LW was going to suffer two bouts of cancer treatment, ha!" but rather, "God's Plan" is a way of saying, "This is the way things are, it's in God's hands, not ours and we must find a way of gracefully living it." Which is not really so different, LE, from your own theology on the subject. So if you do go and talk to the counselor, and I hope you do, 'cause she needs to know that not all UU's are Christians... you could probably start with the assumption that your beliefs (on this topic) are not so different from hers, but that word, "plan" caused your, concrete-thinking daughter some pain, and that it might have been better if she had resorted to the counselor's trick of asking, "That's a good question, what do YOU think? Have you asked your parents what THEY think?"


jbgrinch said...

who died and made her a minister, My wife was agast that a public school psycologist would even think about asking about a students religion. I think that going to the principal or the school board is the right call. God's plan, not to be too sarcastic but who told her it was ?