This is an actual email I actually received from Oldest’s Social Science teacher:
|Dear Parent or guardian:
Students in our social science classes are currently studying medieval Europe. No study of medieval Europe would be complete without analyzing the role of Christianity. From the fall of the Roman Empire through the Renaissance, the Church played an enormous role in the lives of medieval Europeans.
In order for students to sincerely understand the role of the Church in medieval society, they will have an opportunity to participate in a unique social science simulation, which on a very limited scale will recreate the silent and solitary world of a medieval monastery. For one period, students will give up their personal possessions (i.e. backpacks) and take a vow of silence. During the course of this activity, students will read about the daily life of medieval monks, listen to Gregorian chants, illustrate a Latin proverb, and complete various custodial tasks. At no time will students be reciting any prayers or simulating any religious rituals. Furthermore, no religious organizations will be involved in any portion of this activity.
We feel that under our strict supervision, this activity will be a memorable learning experience. As a result of his/her participation in this activity, your child should be able to:
• Describe the daily life of a Christian monk living in medieval Europe.
If you do not choose for your child to participate in the “Vow of Silence” activity on Tuesday, February 14th, please reply to this email. If we do not hear back from you, we will assume that your child may participate in this simulation.
And this is the reply I am actually NOT sending:
Thank you for discouraging my child from pursuing the monastic lifestyle. I was not hitherto aware that this was a risk, due to the fact that we aren’t Catholic, but I appreciate your foresight. The use of boredom to forestall any incipient monkishness is particularly masterful. As this event is to take place on St. Valentine’s Day, am I to understand that the class will also be reenacting beatings, stonings and/or beheadings? In which case, I would like to excuse my son from participating. Although if there will be a Viking Raid, I am willing to let him take his chances with the rest of his classmates. Some concessions must be made for authenticity.