Holidays Can Be Teachable Moments

One thing I love about our society right now is that the typical family unit is anything but! Our family fits nicely into that category. We have four children total; one is his, two are mine and the baby is ours. But my favorite part of our blended family is that I come from a VERY Christian home (my father being a United Methodist Minister may have something to do with that) and my husband is Jewish. This calls for an extremely busy, not to mention expensive, holiday season.

Photo courtesy of techne.

Photo courtesy of techne.

If you were a little mouse peeking into our home during the holidays you would see a Christmas tree and stockings, the nativity and an advent wreath. You would also see a Menorah, about 25 Dreidels and loads of chocolate coins. Things can get complicated. When my middle son was explaining to his class that he is Christian who celebrates Hanukkah, they dubbed him “Hannuikan.” Both of our families had a good laugh over that one and his outstanding teacher took the opportunity for a “teachable moment” and had a lesson over the two holidays. Randy was able to bring in our Menorah and of course we provided Dreidels and chocolate coins for the


I know I never played with a Dreidel until I met my husband. Now I sing the song at the top of my lungs with my children as we spin it and wait to see who is going to have the biggest pile of chocolate coins. I had never experienced Latkes or Sufganiyot and now my life (and my thighs) wouldn’t be the same without them!

My children are truly lucky to not just read about different faiths at school, but experience them. I am partnering now with his teacher so that throughout the year we can share the different Jewish holidays with his class and they can experience the traditions and stories that the Jewish faith has to offer. We have such a responsibility as educators to enlighten our students to the world around them. Bringing the experiences to them and letting them “live it” is what learning is all about.

– Joy