Thursday, June 28, 2012

What's up for Discussion?

I was raised in a household where you pretty much did not discuss religion or politics. You could talk in general terms but you don't come out and say 'I'm an Anglican' or 'I support the Greens' or whatever the case may be. It was almost like an unspoken rule, you may know what religion people are or aren't or where their political preferences lay but it's not discussed openly, it's just not polite.

So I was a little taken aback on the weekend, when at a party, a fellow Mum proceeded to tell me about the choice of school she'd made for her firstborn son. Now bearing in mind in town there is only a choice of two schools, the Public School or the Catholic School, this Mum proceeded to tell me that she had chosen the Catholic School for her son because 1 - she is Catholic and was raised a Catholic and 2 -  'Really where else would you send them' and then proceeded to tell me it was because she felt it was important to instill 'Good Values' into the children the way that she was raised.

Now really I think it's great that she has strong feelings on her child's education, and that she is so definite in her choices and what she wants for her children, as I have met many a parent who is apathetic about their child's education. What was hard to take (for me anyway) was this open discussion of her religion and her reasons relating to religion for her child's education. When I was growing up, this wouldn't have been up for discussion it would be 'oh great you're sending them there' or 'shame we won't be going to the same school' the religion discussion would just not have happened, particularly not so publicly or with someone who is not family or a close family friend, it just was not done. I'm more than happy to have a chat about the different schools, teaching styles, the make up of kids in the school and have had many such a discussion without the religion factor, so I know it can be done.

A similar thing happens around here at election time, people feel that it's OK to talk about who you voted for and share that information with you. This is information I don't feel comfortable hearing and then they get a little affronted when I won't return the information exchange and tell them who I voted for out of the slim pickings on the ballot paper.

Have I missed something, a shift in culture or conversation? Am I behind the times, is it now polite to discuss openly your religion or political choices? Were my family and friends always behind the times, was it always OK to discuss this, or am I experiencing a 'country thing' I wasn't aware of before? Am I the only one who feels this? Am I even allowed to discuss it here, or is that taboo too?

Maybe I need to review my conversation rules?


  1. Hmm. This is a bit of a tough one. I am not religious, but do not have any issue with religion or what other people choose for themselves. I am ok with people telling me about their religion and religious choices, as long as they are aware of my beliefs and don't try to push theirs on me. I respect their beliefs and expect them to do the same for mine.

    I think in today's world of social media, there is such a "share" culture than nothing is really sacred or off-topic anymore.

    I think the main problem with what this lady discussed with you, from my opinion, is the view of "where else would you send them" because to me, she is saying that that's the only right choice and anyone else who does differently is wrong.

    I guess some people are more open, and others more guarded. There's quite a lot that people share with me in discussions that I won't get into and keep to myself. I'm happy to hear it if they're comfortable discussing it, but won't divulge information to everyone that I feel is more personal.

    Blog-wise, you're allowed to discuss whatever you want! Funny thing is, I probably give my blog readers more of an insight into my life than I do most of my friends! And now I've written an essay on your blog! :P x

  2. I was brought up not to discuss politics, religion or money.

    If religion and politics are spoken about politely and with respect for the other person's view I am OK with it (but probably wouldn't initiate the conversation).

    I find people either boasting about money or asking questions about others finances unbelievably rude still.

    So there are my conversational rules. Probably silly in this day and age but I can't help it!

  3. I have to agree Nat, religion and politics, don't go there. The other one that I NEVER enter into discussion over, is money/earnings etc... My Dad instilled the money privacy sentiment and as for the politics and religion, I think I just always sensed those topics can be rather inflammatory, so learnt very young to steer clear of them. It is an interesting shift at present though, over the Catholic schools. Maybe it's because we're right on the precipice of entering the school system, so everyone just sees it as open slather. But I constantly have other Mum's questioning where I'll be sending Angus. Man, when did it all become so difficult!? xoxo


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