She was thankful even though behind her gratitude I could see the frustration and anxiety of the conflict. She had exhausted her appeals to the principle, director of the NISD swim program, Athletic Director and Superintendent, and now the four senior girls who happen to be Jewish will not swim in the championship water polo tournament because the district scheduled it on Yom Kippur, the Highest Holy Day of the Jewish calendar (think Easter). After several meetings, offering numerous alternatives, the district higher-ups said it affected “too few students to change.” The mother was noticeably agitated and yet profusely thanking me, my wife and son. “You’re not even Jewish,” she said.
In a way, I’m actually glad the district is so stubborn and obtuse because it allows the kids to stand up for their faith and it allows other students to be challenged and affected by religious insensitivity and secularism. Nobody will remember the district water polo meet, but they will remember taking a stand for their faith. Most parents will numbingly ignore the slight and others will chide and dismiss the actions as unnecessary until it is their faith that is disrespected.
It’s only a matter of time. Take a stand now. You won’t regret it.