Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pumpkin Patch Trip and a Few Possibly Offensive Thoughts

Monday I helped chaperone the girl's class trip to the pumpkin patch. Although I sign up for these things with the best of intentions, I'm usually dreading it by the day of the trip, but this one wasn't all that bad. There were a lot of other parents there so I was able to spend some time with the girl without having to really watch (or yell at, or drop kick) anyone else's kid. Plus, the weather was cool and perfect.

There was a hay ride, bean bag toss, a hay maze, face decorating, and a story time. And of course all the kids got to leave with their own mini pumpkin. The folks running the pumpkin patch were super nice and beyond patient with this group of 24 four year olds.I have a question and some thoughts for you though. Are all pumpkin patches everywhere somehow tied to a church, or is this just a southern thing? I don't want to say anything negative about this specific pumpkin patch (like I said earlier, everyone was very nice), but it had a bit too much of a Jesus-y feel for my liking. Take for instance story time. From what I could hear, the book had two main themes:

1. Being thankful for what we have makes Jesus happy.

2. Taking the time to help others who are less fortunate than we are makes Jesus happy.

While I can understand what the members of this church are trying to do and say, I didn't really appreciate it. Of course I want my kids to take a moment to reflect on what they have and be appreciative of it all. But I want them to do this because it's just the right thing to do. Of course I want my kids to always be mindful of ways in which they can help others. But I want them to do this because it's just the right thing to do. Why can't kids just be taught to be nice, kind, mindful, generous, awesome little people? Isn't that enough? Why does everything have to be tied to the pleasure or displeasure of a god?

And why did this whole issue even have to be brought up on a preschool field trip? I was just at the public library the other day and I'm pretty sure that within less than a minute I could have grabbed at least a dozen fall/pumpkin/Thanksgiving themed children's books that didn't mention Jesus. The whole thing really just left a bad taste in my mouth.


Not Hannah said...

I have no idea if it's tied to the South, but it SUCKS. (Especially given the holiday's not so Jesus-y background.) I believe (in my twisted little Pagan heart) that the pumpkin patches are a way for the churches to try to control the holiday, because folks have to go on their turf in order to get the gourds.

Ahem. Clearly, I had my own little temper tantrum about this earlier in the week.

Daphne said...

It might be a southern thing -- I've never encountered Jesus-talk at a pumpkin patch over here (oregon or california). It's all witches and blackbirds and ghosts. Pagan heathens.

That sucks. I would hate that. What's Jesus got to do with Halloween? Hasn't he appropriated enough holidays?

Shalet said...

No church at the pumpkin patches here (well not all of them at least). Perhaps you ought to move to Oregon!

Tammie said...

not hannah: i completely agree with you and im glad im not the only one having this temper tantrum.

daphne: i wish we had more pagans here dammit. there are roadside stands where you can buy a pumpkin and the money doesnt go to a church, but they patchs with the actual kid friendly events are all churchy. and i agree, why does jesus have to be brought into everything?

shalet: thats the plan my friend...all in due time. :)

Karen said...

Wait, isn't everything connected to a church in the South? Sure feels like it.

I think part of it has to do with this church trying to alleviate parents' misgivings about their kids partaking in what they suspect is some kind of satanic festival.

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

Disliking religion the way I do I don't think I can be truly objective. My first thought was WTF has that got to do with Halloween?

No, I think you were correct in your tantrum. May I join you?

Barefoot_Mommy said...

Every pumpkin patch I have found around here is tied to a church... but then I'm in south alabama so it's to be expected. They actually had a poll in our local paper last year about changing the name of Halloween to "orange and black" day.


I agree that the churchy pumpkin patches are just a way for them to try and Jesus-fy the holiday because as we all know in the south.. "Halloween is da DEBIL!" *rolls eyes*

Karen said...


Hey, Tammie, at least we don't live in Southern Alabama.

Daphne said...

I really have never heard of Jesus-y pumpkin patches. That just sounds wrong.

Although, we have had a churchy house of horrors (featuring abortions, drug-user hell, homosexual sinners, you know, your standard atrocities.). That's always good for a few screams (it was violently protested and eventually boycotted and shut down. Yay, West Coast!)

hester said...

Yes...I'd be very annoyed too. Nothing worse than having religious beliefs forced down your throat, apart from forcing them down the throats of children.

In Australia, Halloween was only seen on American tv shows a few years ago but the commercialisation of it is now in full swing. We'll be celebrating Thanksgiving next.

Barefoot_Mommy said...

Daphne- They have those here!!!! My hubs who was reading over my shoulder started chiming in with:

"Hooray for the most offensive haunted house ever..." and "The Haunted House of Intolerance!" And other such nonsense.

Tammie said...

margaret: yes, do join.

barefoot: that is crazy!!! my husband spent some time in dothan and he says it was like living in another world.

karen: ha! yeah i guess it could be worse.

daphne: that sounds horrible. but it reminded me of when i was in high school. our yearly health fair always had an anti abortion booth with an old lady handing out tiny plastic fetuses. the whole message was lost on me and my friends, who would just carry the cute "babies" around in our purses.

Tammie said...

hester: ha ha...yeah not too much longer and you'll be cooking your thanksgiving turkey.

Crystal said...

Oh gosh. Mmmm...

Well, we have a few pumpkin patches around here and they do not have any Jesus signs or messages. Move up here to TN. :)

I don't know if I would have been offended by those signs. A bad taste in my mouth, maybe. I wouldn't quite equate the "be kind to others because it makes Jesus happy" as having religious beliefs forced down your throat. How offensive is anyone saying be kind for any reason? That said, I sit on the fence about these things. I am disgusted by the religious churchy house of horrors. I don't think that is what would please Jesus. (Hee hee). I also don't belive anyone should take offense if someone keeps Jesus in holidays centered around Christ...such as Christmas or Easter. I mean, who the hell cares if I say Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays? I belive in being yourself and beliving what you want and letting the rest go.

I love Halloween. I love the witches and ghosts and fun of the whole thing. The "orange and black" day is ridiculous.
It actually makes me a bit sad. Why can't we celebrate Halloween?

Tammie said...

i agree with everything you said crystal. i suppose what bothers me the most is the idea that its alright for other people to teach my children about religion/god. i feel like thats my job. although im not a religious person, my kids are going to be aware of the other options and i want them to make a decision on their own.

i just wish more people had the "believe what you want and let the rest go" attitude. unfortunately a lot of people believe their way is the only way, and thats what kinda irks me.

as always, i love it when you pop over here. :)

Tammie said...

crystal: i also wanted to add that i was raised in a very conservative religion and no longer have those same beliefs that i once did, so i admit that i may be more sensitive to the idea of being *preached to* than the average person.

Victoria said...

Oh my gosh ... or, um, oh my Jesus! This post is right up my alley! Being new to the South from the pacific northwest, I've been having my own temper tantrums. Actually, the temper tantrums are more like culture shock induced nervous breakdowns. We are here for our husbands work. Hang in there, Tammi, we're breaking out of here as soon as we can, too! ;-)

Mari said...

Wow, even Utah hasn't put Jesus in the pumpkin patches! We did have a wacko neighbor who gave out little scripture verses on Halloween a few years ago. His lawn was littered with the buggers, and I thought that was just deserts!

Oh, they do trick or treat the Saturday before if Halloween falls on a Sunday, here. Bugs me to no end.

Hotch Potchery said...

The pumpkin patch we go to has a corn maze...and you can either do "Bible Versus" or "Are you smarter than a fifth grader".

considering I am at home and not lost in a cornfield in the middle of Alabama, you know which one we chose.

I just read today when I was picking out crafts for Christmas that candy canes are red/white for blood and goodness of J esus. (The cane is really a J). mmm. Not sure I think everything is about Jesus.

Dani said...

There are pumpkin patches here in Texas that have nothing to do with Jesus or church (although I have seen pumpkin patches at some churches). We take out kindergarten classes to a place called The Oil Ranch and they get to take home a pumpkin. The Girl went to Old MacDonald's Farm a couple weeks ago and also picked a pumpkin to take home with her.

I am a preacher's kid...and a rebellious one. I know a lot of religions oppose Halloween for its pagan roots (although there are just as many pagan roots in our traditional wedding ceremonies). When my dad was preaching up in Minnesota he planned a Halloween party for the kids so that they had a safe place to trick-or-treat. A few of the little old ladies in the congregation had a problem with this because Halloween was from the devil or something. He switched the name of the event to The Great Pumpkin Party and everyone was happy. I don't remember any of the party planners reading Bible stories to us.

I just don't see Halloween and religion as going together. You can be religious and celebrate the holiday, but I have never gone to church and had The Halloween Sermon preached like you would at Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter.

I'm surprised a secular school would take a field trip to a place with religious roots. Especially these days.

DysFUNctional Mom said...

The one we go to is owned by a church, but they don't preach...then again we just go buy pumpkins & leave, we don't have activities there.
We are Christian (I hate to say it but I cringe at that word because so many morons have given it a bad name), but I don't teach my kids to do all that stuff to "make Jesus happy". I teach them to do those things because they're the right thing to do, and I'm big on the Golden Rule.

Betts said...

No Jesus-y pumpkin patches up here. Ours are all tied to removing as much money from your pocket as possible. Clearly the devil is at work instead. ;-)

Tammie said...

victoria: ha ha...great to have you here. we plan on trying to get out in a year or so. when are you guys up for parole? HA!

mari: i really dont get the people that hand out religious material on halloween. has this ever, in the history of the world, worked?! does a kid get home, empty out his treat bag, and decide to forgo all future halloweens because of the one piece of literature? its completely silly.

hotch: that whole candy cane thing is just creepy. honestly, i dont know if ill ever be able to look at one the same way again.

dani: you bring up some interesting points. i think a lot of traditional holiday activities are rooted in pagan beliefs. it would seem as if the pagans really know how to party.
also, i find it fascinating that your dad was able to appease the old ladies just by changing the name.
as for the girls school choosing this patch, i really dont think there was much of a choice. which is what bugs me the most. i would love to have something like the options you mentioned.

cyndy: i love your comment because you said what i wanted to but couldnt. the folks that bother me are the "morons that give it a bad name." they are the ones im scared of.

betts: ha ha ha. that sounds about right.

Barefoot_Mommy said...

DOTHAN? Really? That's like right next door to our town. My family and I are all from New Orleans, and the hub's is all from central Florida... Mom always described moving here from New Orleans as a HUGE culture shock. Growing up between here and N.O. has allowed me to note the HUGE differences. It really is like another world.

Becky..AMHW said...

Kantian ethics...not your grandma's value system, lol.

I'm from Utah too. That's all I have to say about that.

It's always bothered me that a person would do the right thing because they claim to be a good Christian. They've just nullified the good they just did by turning the glory and credit back on themselves! *I'M* a good Christian. The good you did doesn't need justification or explanation. Just do it.

While being thankful and doing for others probably did make Jesus happy, it's beyond the point.

Daphne said...

I think being a good person makes EVERYONE happy. Except maybe the Devil (who I don't believe in). And certain rebellious teenagers (who I do believe in, and enjoy tormenting when I can). :)

Aleta said...

Well, I live in the South and I can't FIND a freakin pumpkin patch! I'd love to though! Give me directions! Heck, I'll scout the churchs even.

I believe in God, so none of it would bother me. I figure though, if the pumpkin patch is on church grounds and is put on by the church, then you have to expect it will have something to do with the faith, hmm? Just my take on it. Haven't read other blogger comments, but I'm sure they aren't happy with it..

Tammie said...

aleta: even if you do believe in god, do you think it's right to preach about him to children who don't have the option of not listening? while i could take my daughter and go to another part of the patch (which i didnt, by the way) other kids were there without their folks so they had to stay with the group.

and i totally see your point about the patch being run by the church so they should do whatever they want, i just wish there were more options.

sitting on the mood swing at the playground said...

There was no church stuff at the pumpkin patch I went to except for the occasional "Oh god" because it was a bit chilly that day.

Penny said...

Oh dear I've gotten so behind...but I am totally with you on this. My husband and I were really excited when a new coffee shop opened up near our house (we have an unhealthy obsession with coffee in all forms) and we walked up there and it was SO Jesus-y we were both immediately turned off. What does Jesus have to do with coffee?