We Can Still Be Friends

Real conversation from school this week with 3rd-4th graders:

Student 1: I won't be at the Christmas Program.
Me: Why is that?
Student 1: I don't celebrate Christmas.
Student 2: *Looks incredulous*
Me: Oh, okay. Are you Jewish or Jehovah's Witness or something else?
Student 1: I don't know.
Student 2: Do you go to church?
Student 1: We go to the Kingdom Hall.
Me: Okay, so you are a Jehovah's Witness. That's neat. I went to school with a little boy who was a Jehovah's Witness.
Student 1: You don't go to church? That's weird.
Me: It's not weird. Not everyone believes the same thing and not everyone goes to the same church, or church at all for that matter.
Student 1: Right. I go to the Kingdom Hall but we can all still be friends! It doesn't matter either way.

We took this time to discuss the different ways people can celebrate holidays, birthdays, etc. Questions were asked between the students, and questions were answered. It was a really great learning experience.

This tugged at my heart strings. I don't think Student 2 meant ANYTHING by saying that he found it "weird" that Student 1 doesn't attend church. I honestly don't think he's ever encountered anyone who doesn't celebrate holidays, attend a church or identify as Catholic/Baptist/etc.

Even in a small town, we have to remember that different cultures are intersecting, to be respectful to everyone and to stress the importance that different is not weird... it's just different, and that's okay.

We can all still be friends.

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